Monday, June 04, 2007

Quote of the Week: Tim Keller on Community

“If you come just as an individual to church to get information and inspiration, and not submit yourself to community, you’re frustrating the very purposes of God’s saving power and you can’t expect his renovating power to work in your life like that."


Anonymous said...

I assume the emphasis is on submission to living in community rather than submitting to the will of the community.
On the former CS Lewis would probably point out that many Christian church communities are actually cultural/ socio-economic ghettos because they tend to be gathered rather than parocial.
On the latter, the voices, talents and abilities of the community should be used valued, and trusted, with the direction being set under God through the deacons - with the preacher/minister (in my umble opinion) having equal voting rights as no more than the 'teaching elder'.

That Hideous Man said...

It's actually hard to disinguish between the two, because part of living as a community is that everyone pays some 'cost' in order to maintain the community. Some level of mutual surrendering of the will is what actually distinguishes a community from a mere collection of individuals in the same room. (Like to a greater extent marriage involves a loss of freedom for the greater gain of oneness).

I think the focus in this Tim Keller quote is not on church government structures at all - more on things such as hospitality, openness, time, 'weep with the weeping, rejoice with the rejoicing'; more about housegroup than constitutions, more about helping one another through the pains and trials of this contorted life, than about church power structures.

The ideal model is of course The Holy Trinity; an absolute one-ness of purpose will, identity, mutual appreciation and togetherness; yet without the abolition of each of their full individual personhood.

If you think of the steretype western individualised consumer - you see the exaltation of the individual and the abolition of community; on the other hand the suicide bomber obliterates himself as he perceives this will serve his community.

To hear more on this listen to the Tim Keller sermon by clicking on his name under the quote (in Quicktime) or to read more see, "The Church inthe Image of the Trinity" by Miroslav Volf.

That Hideous Man said...

I should perhaps have said that the context from which the Keller quote comes is from a sermon in which he argues that the purpose for which we have been saved, is for community (the body) etc. This is markedly different from the usual emphasis in which the body/community are merely a tool (albeit it an important one) to assist the individual.

Bumble said...

Can you tell me in which Keller's sermon where that quote is from? Thanks.

That Hideous Man said...

Hi Bumble
The sermon is on Isaiah 51: 1-8, "Community" ans is avaialable at:, alongside the rest of the series he preached on his church's core values.

That Hideous Man said...
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