Gibbs, Ch. 4 “The Renewal of the Church for the Restoration of Nominal Christians”

August 17, 2008

I have many comments from this chapter, but here are two short ones. First, I remember beginning the study “Experiencing God” by Henry Blackaby with my small group in college. We never finished the study, but one lesson will always stick with me: look for where God is already at work, and join in! The question of renewal in the church is a vital (and volatile) one in innovative conversations today. Gibbs does well to note that “renewal is impossible without divine intervention” (102), that is, WE can’t make it happen, but GOD can…if we let him. This entails letting go of controlling (or trying to manipulate) the situation and instead looking for where God is at work already so that renewal will indeed “be conceived within the paradigm of the kingdom of God [as God defines it, not as we would like to], that is, as part of a total global transformation” (106).

Second, I am exploring a (for me) new field of study on body theology, though I am beginning to define the term more broadly than simply the understanding of our individual sexuality and body image. Gibbs talks about renewal in the church as a “Spirit-filled ministry” that ministers to “the whole person…mind, body, and spirit.” As Presbyterians (I won’t speak for all mainline denominations), we do well to emphasize mind and spirit, but we so often neglect the body, the implications of renewal on our individual physical forms and likewise on our corporate physical community. Maybe that’s more of a side note, but there you go.

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