“Because all the treasures of the kingdom which the church possesses are spiritual in kind, and do not consist of gold or silver, of power and might, but of righteousness, peace, and joy through the Holy Spirit, the characteristic quality of catholicity accrues to the church. The church is not bound to a land or a people, to a time or a place, to any given generation, to money and property; it is independent of all earthly distinctions and contrasts. It brings the gospel to all creatures, and that gospel is always and only the gospel, a joyous tiding which is suitable and necessary for all people, in all times, under all circumstances, for all conditions. The kingdom of God is in opposition to nothing except sin.” Herman Bavinck, Our Reasonable Faith

A light went on in my mind as I read this brief quote by Bavinck today while searching for material on the nature of community…

By leaving the Kingdom of God distinct from the Church Bavinck allows us to make reflections on the nature of the Church by how she relates and receives things through the Kingdom labors of the Father through the Son and Spirit. Since the treasures of the Kingdom are spiritual in character the Church is catholic in character. It must be so because of the nature of the Kingdom itself.

To say that Bavinck’s thoughts here are helpful is an understatement. Still I have differences with him in some places. Where I find difference’s or further expansions needed than what Bavinck offered is in the closing line, “The Kingdom of God is in opposition to nothing except sin.” I would add, “The Kingdom of God is in opposition to nothing except sin and sin’s consequences effects be they psychological, relational, social, or creational…”

And just as the Churches character is defined in part by the treasures she recieves from the already/not yet Kingdom coming through the Spirit’s ongoing work, so to her mission is defined in relation to what the Kingdom opposes – sin and sin’s consequences effects.

Thoughts, criticism, suggestions…

(Photographic art by Tiago Daniel, piece entitled “The Shape of Light“)