Thursday, April 20, 2006

FREEDOM NOW

WHY DON'T I HEAR THIS FROM EVANGELICALS? I don't hear the following kind of interpretation and application of the Resurrection among my evangelical brethren. What I hear from our corner of the theological domain is mostly about a future life after death. Of all branches of Christendom, evangelicals ought to be echoing and magnifying this proclamation of William Stringfellow. But perhaps Stringfellow's interpretation is too unsettling to the shallow underpinnings of the marriage of conservative Christianity to right-wing American politics to be uttered.

LET THE STREET LAWYER SPEAK. While "liberals" doubt and debate the reality of Christ's resurrection and "conservatives" bash "liberals" and any unsuspecting unbeliever or suspected believer for not believing it the way they have come to believe and apply it, leave it to a scrawny little Episcopalian street lawyer and lay theologian who suffered and died early with diabetes to speak what all people need to hear of the Resurrection:

FREEDOM NOW. “To become a beneficiary of the resurrection of Jesus Christ means to live here and now in a way that upholds and honors the sovereignty of the Word of God in this life in this world, and that trusts the judgment of the Word of God in history. That means freedom NOW from all conformities to death, freedom NOW from fear of the power of death, freedom NOW from all bondage of idolatry to death, freedom NOW to live in hope while awaiting the judgment."

IN THIS LIFE, IN THIS WORLD. “His victory is not for himself but for us. His power over death is effective not just at the terminal point of a person's life but throughout one's life, during THIS life in THIS world, right now.”

AGAINST PRINCIPALITIES. "This power is effective in the times and places in the daily lives of human beings when they are so gravely and relentlessly assailed by the claims of principalities for an idolatry that, in spite of all disguises, really surrenders to death as the reigning presence in the world. His resurrection means the possibility of living in this life, in the very midst of death's works, safe and free from death.”

PRETENSIONS AT AN END. "The reign of death and, within that, the pretensions to sovereignty over history of the principalities, is brought to an end in Christ's resurrection. The claim of a nation, ideology, or other principality to rule history...is exposed and undone. How and in whom salvation is wrought is disclosed and demonstrated. Christ is both the end and fulfillment for all principalities, for all humanity, and for all things.”

From A Keeper of the Word, selected writings of William Stringfellow compiled and edited by Bill Wylie Kellerman (Eerdmans)

1 comment:

  1. Stringfellow was an amazing guy. And I still find myself turning to his books -- particularly Free in Obedience (I know we all have our favorites). Anyway...what a blessing he was to my life when I was in seminary -- he really formed a lot of my understanding of my vocation as a Christian and a pastor.

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