Looking Around, Looking Ahead: A cross-cultural community
Chapter 7 – News of War and Peace: God’s politics for a new creation
Our ultimate enemies are not global problems like famine or dictators. They ‘are symptoms of a more serious crisis: the reign of death and hell.’ (164) Pages 165-176 summarise the biblical story of cosmic struggle using Psalm 68 as a focal point.
‘So far in this book we have seen that the content of the gospel is God’s free gift of salvation in Jesus Christ and the method of delivery is the proclamation of this gospel. In this way, both the message and the method are God’s work, his gift. Now we begin to see more clearly how the community that results from the work of the Father in the Son and by the Spirit is also defined by the gospel. The church does not built the kingdom, but receives it and therefore worships God with gratitude and awe (Heb. 12:28). Far from establishing a clericalism that excludes laypeople from Christ’s gifts, the ministry of Word and sacrament that Paul highlights in Ephesians 4 is the means through which Christ distributes them for the completion and maturity of the whole body in the gospel.’ (182-183)
Now, we are to ‘join the thanksgiving parade,’ living in thankful obedience to God for what he has done for us (184-187). Today there is a ‘new political order at work in this present evil age … Its presence in embryo is a sign of the cosmic reign that will one day be filly revealed.’ (186) Christ’s ascension and reign is our authorisation to go, to be his heralds and ambassadors ‘gathering guests for his feast.’ (189)
Chapter 8 – How the Good News Creates a Cross-Cultural Community
Whereas we naturally gravitate to others like us, the Church includes everyone. ‘Christ and his gospel is the tie that binds. I did not choose these people to be my brothers and sisters; God did. Like me, they are elected, redeemed, called, and justified by God in Christ.’ (192) It is Christ’s community—and he is the location that we all share together. … I still belong to other groups based on my cultural affinities, but my family is not something I choose; it is something I am chosen for.’ (193)
Horton discusses the role of the sacraments and their function as a celebration of ‘God’s work for us that elicits our response (instead of vice-versa)’ (201).