Monday, September 23, 2013

Core Values for the Church in the Messages of Christ to the Seven Churches in Revelation 2-3



          If there is a place in scripture that gives us concentrated exposition of what we may take as the “core values” for Christ’s church, it is the Risen Lord’s messages to the seven churches in Asia Minor at the end of the 1st century A.D. in Revelation 2-3.
           
In these seven messages (the number “seven” being the number of completeness) Christ addresses the whole church of that time and today with a profile of its core values.  These are the dynamics that by their presence or absence make or unmake communities as viable expressions of the church (see the “City” and “Core Values” columns in the chart below).  So it behooves us to pay careful attention to what Christ says to them/us!

          Further, it seems possible to correlate the well-known “Seven Deadly Sins” to these core values as their antitheses without too much of a stretch (see the “Deadly Sin” column).  With all this is place we can go on and suggest a set of practices that might form a curriculum for a truly missional ecclesial life.

          I hope to flesh this our more in future posts.      

City
Core Value
Deadly Sin
Practice(s)
Ephesus
Love
Sloth
(unwilling to attend to God)
Prayer, disciplines (Love)
Smyrna
Suffering
Anger
(unwilling to be patient)
Remember the future (Hope)
Pergamum
Truth-telling
Lust
(unwilling to be satisfied with God’s truth, the “Eve [and Adam] Sindrome”])
Scripture-soaked (Faith)
We will be spiritually safe in our use of the Bible if we follow a simple rule: Read it with a submissive attitude. Read with a readiness to surrender all you are – all your plans, opinions, possessions, positions. Study as intelligently as possible, with all available means, but never study merely to find the truth and especially not just to prove something wrong. Subordinate your desire to find the truth to your desire to do it, to act it out! (Todd Hunter)

Thyatira
Holiness
Gluttony
(unwilling to be satisfied with God)
Experience the life of the triune God (the Father)
Sardis
Authenticity
Envy
(unwilling to be content)
Experience the life of the triune God (the Spirit)
Philadelphia
Servanthood
Greed
(unwilling to be content with God’s vocation for us)
Experience the life of the triune God (the Son)
Laodicea
Worship
Pride
(“I”-dolatry par excellence)
Worship

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