Ben Swingle's Reviews > The Presence of the Kingdom

The Presence of the Kingdom by Jacques Ellul
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The Christian intellectual should pursue awareness in three ways:
1.) rediscovery of our neighbor, despite technology's effect of estrangement
2.) rediscovery of "the Event" (i.e. the Incarnation)
3.) rediscovery of natural/holy divide not artificially imposed but limiting the advance of technology into euthanasia and other technological excesses.

"We must be convinced that there are no such things as 'Christian principles.' There is the Person of Christ, who is the principle of everything. But if we wish to be faithful to Him, we cannot dream of reducing Christianity to a certain number of principles (though this is often done), the consequences of which can be logically deduced. This tendency to transform the work of the Living God into a philosophical doctrine is the constant temptation of theologians, and also of the faithful, and their greatest disloyalty when they transform the action of the Spirit, which brings forth fruit in themselves into an ethic, a new law, into 'principles' which only have to be 'applied.'" (52).

"The Christian may belong to the Right or to the Left, he may be a Liberal or a Socialist, according to the times in which he lives, and according as the position of the one or the other seems to him more in harmony with the will of God at that particular time. These attitudes are contradictory, it is true, from the human point of view, but their unity consists in the search for the coming Kingdom." (54).

"Everybody has vague ideas about 'progress,' and it seems that this notion of progress might be capable of replacing the pursuit of ends." (66)

"I know very well that people will say to me, 'But what's the good of all this labour? Isn't simple preaching enough? In reality this so-called confidence in the 'efficacy of the Word of God' betrays a lack of charity toward men, and an indifference to their actual situation; to some extent it is a 'spirituality' which is not in accordance with the mind of Christ. The Bible always shows us God laying hold of man in his practical situation, in the setting of his life, enabling him to act with the means of his own time, in the midst of the problems of his own day. But to want to copy the methods of Irenaeus or of Calvin means that we are both mistaken and unfaithful. If we think of the problems of the contemporary world in the terms in which St. Augustine or Luther described the problems of their own time we are mistaken and ineffective. No our own day presents very complicated problems ; our organization is more complex than that of past centuries, and the same is true of the questions which challenge the Christian faith and conscience. Every day man seems less capable of dominating his own time, but his is not the moment to copy John the Baptist and say: 'Let's preach in the desert! The wall may be there , but all we have to do is preach! God will see to it that our message is heard!" We cannot use the great word of St. Paul, 'I planted ... but God gave the increase' -- we cannot give everything in the hands of God (believing that God will open the eyes, ears, and hearts of men), until we have wrestled with God till the break of day, like Jacob; that is, until we have struggled to the utmost limits of our strength, and have known the despair of defeat. If we do not do this, our so-called 'confidence' in God ,and our 'orthodoxy' are nothing less than hypocrisy, cowardice, and laziness." (139-140)

The above quote addresses the need to labor in appropriating the Word of God to present life and current conflict. It does not intend to be misunderstood to diminish the penetrating power of the Word of God. The quote points to double-edged sword back at those who wield it unfaithfully; that is, in "hypocrisy, cowardice, and laziness"

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Reading Progress

November 24, 2016 – Started Reading
November 24, 2016 – Shelved
November 24, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read
November 28, 2016 – Finished Reading

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