Christ King A Charismatic Appeal For An Ecological Lifestyle

Christ King  A Charismatic Appeal For An Ecological Lifestyle

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26

A Charismatic

Christ Appeal

King: for an

Ecological

Lifestyle

Jean-Jacques

Suurmond*

As

yet,

neither Pentecostalism nor the charismatic renewal has

pro- duced a consistent

theology involving

the whole of life. In this

article,

I hope

to show how the

spiritual gifts (charisms), poured

out on the Church,

entail the

challenge

to manifest the universal

reign

of Christ.

By anticipating

the end of creation in which God will become “all in all,” his

eschatological reign promotes already

in the

present

an

ecological unity

in diversity.

Introduction

.

Ephesians

4:1-16 describes the

significance

of Christ’s Ascension to the throne. In the first section

(vv. 1-6) unity

is emphasized: “one

Lord, one

faith,

one

baptism;

one God and Father

of

all ….” In the second part (vv. 7-11) diversity

is stressed: “But to each

of us grace [i.e. gifts] has been

given

as Christ

apportioned

it….

apostles,

prophets,

… evangelists, … pastors

and teachers ….”

Finally,

in verse

16,

this

unity and

diversity

are

brought together

in a creative tension: “From him

[i.e. the one

Christ]

the whole

body [I.c.

the one

Church]

grows

and builds

itself up

in love.” How?

“joined

and held

together by every supporting ligament [i.e. gift]

… as each

part

does its work. ”

I

On Ascension

Day,

we celebrate that Christ is King. His

Kingdom

is not a totalitarian state where heated debates are frozen in a Siberian cold. On the

contrary,

differences are not

merely

tolerated but created

by Christ: to each one he

apportions

different

gifts. Thus,

multi-colored diversity,

not

grey uniformity,

is the mark of unity

brought

about

by

the royal reign

of Christ. This is underlined in verses

6,

7 and

8, where the author

subsequently

refers to the Father, Christ and the

(gifts

of

the) Spirit.

The triune God, in whose

image

we have been

created,

knows unity

in diversity within his own

being.

“When he ascended on

high,

he …

gave gifts

to men.” Verse 8 is an interpretation

of Psalm 68:19, which was

part

of the Jewish

lectionary for the

Day

of Pentecost. The Ascension of the Son effects the descen- sion of the

Spirit. Ascending

on

high,

Christ

opens

the heavens and pours

out the

Spirit

of God on his

people. Thus,

Ascension

Day

links Easter with Pentecost: Christ is

risen, “higher

than all the

heavens,” to

.

*Dr. Suurmond, a

van Jean-Jacques pinkstergemeenten at the time

pastor

with the Dutch Broeder- schap

this article was submitted, is now a

pastor

with the Reformed Church in Holland.

lCf. Markus Barth, Ephesians 4-6, The Anchor Bible No. 34A (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1982), 425-497.

1

27

reign

in and

through

the

spiritual gifts.

The

reign

of Christ is charis- matic,

the fulfillment of the

reign

of all those Hebrew rulers who bowed their heads under the

anointing

of the

Spirit.

Verses 9 and 10 are a comment on verse 8. The Ascension of Christ is proclaimed

and

experienced

in his descension in the charismatic

Spirit.2 The descension of Christ mentioned in verse 9 does not refer to his becoming flesh,

but to his

becoming Spirit.

In the words of

Paul,

in the resurrection Jesus has become a

“life-giving Spirit” (1

Cor.

15:45). So, “He who descended”

(that is,

he who reveals himself

among

us in the Spirit),

thus demonstrates that he “is the

very

one who ascended,” the one who sits enthroned and

reigns.

The

gifts

here on earth

testify

to the Giver in heaven. As Peter formulates it in his sermon on the

Day

of Pentecost: “Exalted to the

right

hand

of God,

he has

received from

the Father the promised

Holy Spirit

and has

poured

out what

you

now see and

hear. “(Acts 2:33).

What is the

purpose

of the

kingship

of Christ? It is

“fact/!// the whole universe.” Or, as 1 Corinthians 15:28 describes it, “that God

may

be all in all.” The means to

accomplish

that

goal

is

charismatic, marked by unity

in

diversity.

As is mentioned in that

splendid paradox

of Ephesians

3:18:

only “together

with all the

saints,”

together

with all the different

gifts,

will we be able to know the unknowable: the

width, length, height

and

depth

of the love of the one

Christ,

the fullness of God.

Here,

I think, lies the distinctive contribution of the Pentecostal

exper- ience,

i.e. its

appeal

to the churches and the world for an

ecological lifestyle.

The word

“ecology”

is derived from the Greek

oikos, meaning house. It refers to the fact that the whole world is our home and that all things

therein are related to each other. Thus,

ecology points

to the interdependence

of all different

aspects

of life. We

already

saw that unity

in diversity is the mark of the

reign

of Christ,

by

and for whom all things

were created

(Col. 1:16).

His charismatic

reign

in the Church can be seen as an

eschatological

reflection of his rule over the cosmos. The sciences

(from elementary physics

to cosmology) as well as the mass media are

making society

more and more conscious of the mutual relationship

between all

things.

An

increasing ecological

awareness is the

only way

to

keep

our world-wide home habitable. If we refuse to use unleaded

gasoline,

soon we will drive

through

unforested land- scapes.

When interest-rates in the west

go up,

the standard of

living

in third-world countries

goes

down. When in

Chemobyl

radiation is emitted,

the cows in Holland are admitted to the sheds.

I do not hesitate to view this

increasing ecological

awareness as inspired by

the

Spirit

of God,

through

whom Christ extends his

reign

2Cf. G. B. Caird, “The Descent of Christ in Ephesians 4, 7-11,” Studia Evan- gelica, II,

ed. F. L. Cross (Berlin: Akademie-Verlag, 1964), 535-545.

2

28

(call

it an instance of

Kuyper’s

common

grace,

if you

wish3). The Spirit

is the

ecological principle

of creation, as he is the

ecological principle

within the

being

of God himself. Did not

already Augustine submit,

that . the

Spirit

forms the bond between the Father and the Son? He makes

unity

in diversity possible: one God who

yet

exists in three

“persons.”

Originating

from the Word, the

Spiritus-Creator

broods the universe

into

being.

He holds all

things together

in a creative,

dynamic

tension

and sees

to

it that this

astounding pluriformity yet

constitutes one

creation.4 In the same vein, he is active

among people

as builder of

relationships, creating

communities out of

separate

individuals. The

Spirit

who is within us, is also

(borrowing

from

Buber)

the

Spirit

who

is between us. So, the

Spirit, issuing

from the inner

being

of

God,

spans

the extremes of creation. He is the

deeply personal presence

in

our life which makes us cry out: “Abba, Father!” (Rom. 8:15),

uniting

us in the

community

called Church. At the same

time,

he hovers over

the immense

deep,

of

empty

and formless

worlds, unifying

them into

one cosmos and thus

creating

the

very

conditions which make our

human existence

possible (cf.

the

anthropic principle).

A charismatic

lifestyle

thus is a life in

harmony,

not

only

with the

ecological

structure of the whole creation, but even with the inner life of

the

triune God.

At this

point

I would like

briefly

to sketch how the

charismatic

reign

of Christ in the Church calls for an ecological

lifestyle

with

implications

for the individual life, the Church and the world.

1. The

Appeal

for a Personal

Ecology

The word “individual” is derived from a term

meaning

“undivided.” The division between

spirit,

soul and

body

is not biblical and runs counter to the

findings of,

for

example,

modem

medicine, which in- creasingly

stresses a psychosomatic

approach

toward illness. All

aspects of our

personality

are

part

of an ecological unity. If one of these

aspects is

emphasized

at the cost of

others,

we become less than an

individual, less than a whole

person.

Yet,

especially

in more traditional

congregations,

we often reduce our body

to a mere vehicle with which to carry our brains to church. All we

allow it to do is shake a few hands,

pick up

a

hymnal and, perhaps, kneel. In all sorts of

ways

it is communicated

to. our

body that,

in fact, it is not welcome. Even the

pews

seem to have been

especially designed

to punish

our bodies for

daring

to be present in the service!

Paul, however,

calls our bodies a kind of oikos, a temple of the

Holy Spirit (1

Cor.

6:19). Quite

a

daring statement, especially

when we

3 Abraham

Kuyper,

Van de Gemeene Gratie, II Het

Leerstellig Gedeelte, (Amsterdam:

Hoveker & Wormser,

1903). Cf. idem, The Work of the Holy Spirit (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1979), 283-292, 634.

4Cf. Jürgen Moltmann, God in Creation: An Ecological Doctrine

of Creation. (London: SCM, 1985), 14 and passim.

3

remind ourselves

God.

was a

sign

, us “to

lift up holy

hands

While

expressions

29

from a

of our

century

welcome,

our

to the extent that

unity

that these words were written when the

temple

in

Jerusalem was still in existence! The

apostle implies

no less than that the

Spirit

aims to turn our

bodily

actions into a living liturgy to the

praise

of

In and

through

the

body,

the

reign

of Christ is

expressed

in a

multitude of charisms,5

ranging

from dance to administration,

celibate life to the married state, from social action to glossolalia (which,

by

the

way,

for the first Pentecostals at the

beginning

that God breaks down racial barriers, as

they

heard both

blacks and

whites speak

in

tongues).6

The New Testament

encourages

in prayer”

(

1 Tim. 2:8) and even to ‘

exchange

holy

kisses

(Rom. 16:16, etc.).

in

many

churches our bodies seem

hardly

emotions are

definitely

frowned

upon.

Before

entering church,

we leave

not

only

our car but also our

feelings

in the

parking

lot. The emotional

remain are often formalized

.

degenerates

which is

powerless

to speak to the diver-

sity

of

feelings present.

No wonder that, on

Sunday morning, many

of a warm bed to no experience in a cold church!

with

impunity.

In the

morning

it

may

the sobs and

shouts, the

complaints

and

the

psalms;

in the afternoon trains and

fields are torn

apart

in a volcanic

eruption

of

that

into a uniformity

prefer

the

experience

But

feelings

cannot be

repressed be silent in church, without laughter

so characteristic of stands at European soccer emotions.

again

not to some

degree experienced

Happily,

in this

post-Cartesian

that rational information cannot be

personally meaningful

era,

we are

slowly beginning

to realize

if it is information.7 Without his

experience

Paul would

Without his

on the road to Damascus

(and many experiences following),

never have concerned himself with Christian

theology.

experience

of God,

Augustine

would never have written his treatise on

Luther his

commentary

nor Bonhoeffer his ethics.

yet

is

inseparably

the

trinity,

nor works on holiness, depend

on

experience,

(Philadelphia: Fortress, 1982),

.

ity ?frankforUBem:

Seymour

on Romans, nor

Wesley

his

Our faith does not

bound

up

with it. Faith

5 An exposition of a theology of the charisms proper falls outside the scope of

this article. For a still challenging exegetical essay, see Ernst Kisemann’s

“Ministry

and

Community

in the New Testament,”

Essays

on New Testament Themes

63-94. See also

my essay “A Charismatic Interpreta-

tion of Faith, Hope and Love,” Pentecostal Research in Europe: Problems, Promises

and People, ed. W. J. Hollenweger. Studies in the Intercultural History of Christian-

Peter Lang Verlag, 1987).

6Douglas J. Nelson, “For Such a Time as This: The Story of Bishop William J.

and the Azusa Street Revival,” unpublished Ph.D dissertation

The

(Birmingham .

University, 1981).

essential black contribution to Pentecostalism is often over-

looked, as recently as in the Article by James Earl Massey, “The Black Contribution

to Evangelicalism,” TSF Bulletin, 10 (November-December 1986) 16-19.

7Cf. Thomas F. Torrance, Reality and Scientific Theology. Theology and Science

at the Frontiers of Knowledge No. 1 (Edinburgh: Scottish Academic Press, 1985),

esp.64-130.

4

30

The Ascension of Christ

(Acts 19:2)

In other reign

of the ascended Lord?

of him in the [i.e.

the

Spirit]

will not come

in

involves the whole

person, including

our emotions.

This is why Pentecostals and charismatics confront believers with the same

question

the

early

Christians asked each other: “Did

you

receive the

Holy Spirit

when

[or: after] you

believed?”

words, do you experience

the charismatic

makes

possible

our

experience

Spirit:

“Unless I go

away,

the Counselor

told his

disciples.

This

personal

encounter

is the

primal experience (Urerfah- rung)

which

that the Lord extends his

reign

over our life, the

Spirit

restores all different

aspects

of our

personality

to a sound,

ecological

balance. Thus

undivided

to you”

(John 16:7),

Jesus the

Spirit

with

Christ,

vere homo,

heals the

fragmentation degree

we become real individuals, who

grow

in their

identity

as temples

2. The

Appeal

Spirit.

Paul also describes

The Church is called

be “all in all.”

equipping

charisms]

in all charismatic

community, the hallmark of the renewed

diversity

of

spirit,

soul and

body.

To the

and

holy (i.e. whole) people of the Holy

Spirit.

of the

as

baptized by

one

Spirit Jews or Greeks, slave

or free” (

for an

Ecclesiological Ecology

Not

only

the individual is called an oikos, a

dwelling-place

the Christian

community

a temple of the Holy Spirit (2

Cor.

6:16).

The Church is Charismatic, the title of a recent

publication

of the World Council of Churches8

rightly proclaims.

to celebrate the

ecological reign

of

Christ,

to be “a kind

of firstfruits” (James

1:18)

of the new creation in which God will

The

Spirit

enables her to answer to this

high calling by

her with

gifts:

“the same God works all

of

them

[i.e.

the

men”

(1

Cor.

12:6).

Thus

God,

in and

through

the

makes

possible

the

unity

in

diversity

which is

creation

(see below).

This

calling

is

expressed

in the

image

of the Church as the one

body of Christ

consisting

in

many

members

(1 Cor. 12:12-31),

embedded in a treatise on the

spiritual gifts.

In the

sacraments,

this

ecological unity

in

is anchored both in the

beginning

and end of the Church. Baptism

marks our entrance in the charismatic

community:

into one

body,”

in all our

diversity:

1 Cor.

12:13).

The Eucharist or Lord’s supper

is, among other things,

an enacted

prophecy

of the end or desti-

which is the

wedding supper

of the Lamb at which

people

will sit from

every nation, tribe, people

and

language

Rev. 7, 19). Paul

puts

it this

way:

“Because there is one loaf, we,

who are

many [and,

we

might add,

who are

different],

are one

nation of the Church,

(Mat. 22:1-10;

“we were all

“whether

body” (1

Cor.

10 : 17). The

problem

prophetic

anticipate

the fiiture of creation.

is, that

the Church

scarcely vocation to be a

community

An

average

seems to live

up

to her of

unity

in

diversity,

and thus

service can

easily give

the

8The Church is Charismatic, ed. Arnold Bittlinger (Geneva: World Council of

Churches, 1981).

I

5

Moreover,

31

rather than inclusive

impression

that God does not strive to become all in all, but all in some.

churches often labor under the kind of wearisome

predict- ability

which is the tasteless fruit of exclusive,

allow all of the

gifts,

all the

aspects

of the

reign

of

Quite arbitrarily

which suits our taste,

turning

our faith into a subculture within Chris-

thinking.

We do not Christ to be manifested.

tendom-sometimes

complete

our

preference

World Christian

Encyclopedia9

we have made a selection

with our own

schools,

newspaper,

which do not have

political party

and even Bible translation. Charisms

are not

tolerated,

which is a major cause of schisms. The

counts about

21,000

kinds of Christians in the world

today.

It is no

exaggeration

ecclesial varieties

represent

charisms which

originally

were shown the

church-door.

for

many centuries, ogy.”

merely

allowed

The charismatic an ecumenical

appeal

ceive that one’s own

of Christ which manifests itself

world-wide

body.

to

state,

that

many

of these

role,

the

Spirit

was

true ecumenism

will

gifts

or members of that one

How is it

possible

that the

lifestyle

of the

Church, contrary to

her

calling,

can

hardly

be described as ecological? The answer must be that,

the

Spirit

was treated as the “Cinderella of theol-

10 Being

confined to a

purely

instrumental

to

sweep

the

way

between Christ and the Church. But

the

Spirit

is more than

just

the means

by

which we can come to know

Christ.

The Spirit

is the

ecological principle

of creation

by

which Christ

manifests his

reign

in the Church in and

through

countless charisms.

for an

ecological

view of the Church leads to

attitude. The terms

ecology

and ecumenism are both

derived from the same word oikos and refer to the inhabited world

which is marked

by unity

in

diversity. Therefore,

always

be

ecological,

an ecumenism of the

Spirit.

One

begins

to

per-

church is the local

expression

of the universal

body

in almost

21,000 varieties. Many of

these we

may

consider to be different

These can enrich our own

.

gifts particular religious

tradition and redeem its

proclamation

from an irrelevant

mumbling

to

accentuate the value of a personal con-

the Latin-American based ecclesial communities show

us the

political-social aspects

of that same

faith;

Roman Catholics teach

of visible

unity;

Pentecostals focus attention on the

Spirit;

Calvinists stress the role of

Scripture.

not cause a church’s

particular identity

to

evaporate.

One

huge compromise-church,

. differences are ironed

out,

can never be our

goal.

On the

contrary,

the

a church to grow into her own

identity,

as indeed we

oneself. For

instance, Baptists fession of

faith;

the

importance

This kind of ecumenism does

Spirit

stimulates

University

under whose

weight

all

9David Barreu, World Christian Encyclopedia: A Comparative Study of Churches and Religions in the Modern World, A.D…1900-Z000 (Nairobi/I?lew York: Oxford

Press, 1982).

IOG. J. Sirks, “The Cinderella of Theology: The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit,” Harvard Theological Review, 50 (April 1957) 77-89.

6

32

.

often see

happen

in the charismatic renewal. Tradition and

liturgy

are confirmed and

purified (in

that

order); worship

comes

alive; community life is

deepened;

social

praxis

becomes a matter of

course,

and a sense of wonder

pervades

the church which makes her

well-nigh irresistibly attractive to an alienated world. God loves

variety

and uses it to form us into one world-wide

body. 1

No

single

church can

span

that whole spectrum

of

gifts. Only together

with all the

saints, all the churches, can we know what for each

separate

church is unknowable: the

love,

the fullness of God which is the end of creation.

The World Council of Churches, therefore,

rightly

dismisses the idea of a “super-church.” Yet, even at this level the

ecological

vision is rather dim. Witness the BEM document,12 which

professes

to

speak

for all churches. Without a doubt, this is an historic

report

as it

represents

a consensus

regarding baptism,

eucharist and

ministry

which the last millennium has not seen before. However, the document carries a distinctly

Greek-Roman, western flavor. When

reading it,

it would never occur to you that there exists

something

like a third-world church which

usually

exhibits

pentecostal/charismatic

traits. These communities are

growing

so fast

that,

within

just

a few more

years, Christianity

will no

longer

be a principally western

religion.

Stories and

songs,

visions and dances,

eating

and

laughing

and weeping, help

to the

poor

and

prayer

for the

sick, laying on of hands and

washing

of feet, exorcism and exaltation; all different

aspects

of life are

integrated

in an

ecological

celebration of the one

King. 13 The

former treasurer of the World Council of Churches

recently

told me how he once was shown a Pentecostal church

building

in Africa. When

seeing

a sand-box,

he

naively presumed

that he found himself in the

nursery. “No,” his host

replied,

“this is our

wrestling-ground.

When

you

come

1 Differences and the resulting conflicts within and between churches are therefore not in themselves

wrong. On the contrary,

conflicts are the precondition for the manifestation of the Spirit’s restorative power. See, for instance, James E. Loder, The Transforming Mormnt: Understanding Convictional

Experiences (San Francisco: Harper& Row, 1982),

98-123 and passim.

For an entirely different

approach, consider the interesting

thesis of Stanford Professor Rene Girard in Le bouc emissaire (Paris: Grasset, 1982). He contends that mimesis (imitation) is the basic drive of

in

people, resulting in conflicts which require a scapegoat (e.g.

Jews or witches) order to

preserve a civilized society. This

and which are the foundation of every civilization,

explains why myths religions,

so often induce persecution. According to Girard, Christianity is the only religion which can help

us control such conflicts stemming from mutual competition. Jesus, the Lamb sacrificed for the sins of the world,

through the Spirit enables

us to imitate him, instead of each other, and so inspires us to identify with the persecuted rather than becoming persecutors

ourselves.

12Baptism, Eucharist,

and Ministry. Faith and Order Paper No. 111 (Geneva: World Council of Churches, 1982).

‘3See the

appropriate

sections in Walter J.

Hollenweger,

The Pentecostals

1972). Cf. idem, Erfahrungen

der Leibhaftigkeit, Interkul- turelle Theologie I (Munich: Kaiser Verlag, 1979).

(Minneapolis: Augsburg,

7

33 back here

tonight, you probably

will see

somebody fighting

with God.” ” The whole

body

thrown into a struggle with God! How

strange

to our western mind and,

yet,

how biblical….

How is it

possible

that the World Council of Churches should over- look an entire world?

By now,

the answer will be clear.

Only

in the perspective

of the Charismatic

reign

of Christ, will we

clearly perceive that the whole world-wide Church,

precisely

in all her different

expres- sions,

is the one oikos, the

temple

of the

Holy Spirit.

3. The

Appeal

for a Universal

Ecology

God will not redeem us

apart

from the world in which we live. Such a thought

would never have entered a Hebrew mind.14 The

ultimate, definite

hallowing (making whole)

of the Church

implies

the

hallowing of the universe. Not

just

our bodies and the

Church, but the whole creation is destined to become the oikos, the

dwelling-place

of the Spirit. 15

In the

end,

Christ will hand over to the Father his charismatic reign,

“that God

may be

all in all”

(1

Cor.

15:23-28).

Then the triune God will inhabit the whole universe.

Paul does not

say

that God will become

everything,

or that God will be

everyone.

God becomes all in all, which means that the traits consti- tuting

us as distinct human

beings

will not be dissolved in a kind of nirvana. On the

contrary,

when God becomes all in us we come to

glory,

we reach our

perfect goal

as the

unique persons

we are. Our uniqueness

will be confirmed and

completed;

our

fragmentation

and brokenness will be healed; our

deepest longings

will be

satisfied;

our sorrow will be endlessly

comforted,

and our

prayers divinely

answered. Then the

ecological reign

of Christ will have

brought everything

to fullness in the creation of a holy and whole universe, with God as the

perfect

One

indwelling

a perfect diversity.

It has

already

been

noted,

that it is the

eschatological calling

of the Church to be a kind of

microcosmos,

a charismatic

anticipation

of that renewed creation. I also observed that

we, time and time

again,

fail to live

up

to that vocation. The Church meets considerable

opposition. Christ “must

reign

until he has

put

all his enemies under his

feet” (1

Cor.

15:25).

If

unity

in

diversity

is God’s

purpose

for

creation,

a purpose

which the Church is called to manifest

today through

the charismatic

reign

of

Christ, enmity

is

exposed

in the

attempt

to thwart

14The idea that human life is bound up with the environment can already be found in the earlier (pre-Stoic) Greek philosophers and, in Judaistic thought, in the inter- testamental literature. However, it does not appear that the latter, in this

influenced

respect, was directly by Stoicism. The Old Testament often witnesses to the idea that the

renewal of humankind involves the renewal of nature. See, for instance, Isa.4:2-6; 32:15-17; 44:3-5;

Ezek. 36:24-38. Cf. A. R. C. Leaney, “‘Conformed to the of His Son’ (Rom. viii. 29),” New Testament Studies 10 (1963-1964) 472ff.

Image

lSHendrikus Berkhof calls this the “pneumatizing of the whole creation.” The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit (Atlanta: John Knox, 1976), 108.

8

34

this

goal.

In

fact,

evil can

roughly

be divided into two

categories,

i.e. the

enemy

which

attempts

to destroy unity, and the

enemy

which tries to banish

diversity.

In both cases the

ecological

balance is disturbed, the Spirit

is grieved and the

reign

of Christ is frustrated.

Diversity

without

unity brings

chaos. In

Scripture,

this is

signified by the

diabolos,

which

literally

means

“the-one-who-throws-apart,”

or “separates.”

All over the world

today,

deserts advance into fertile

areas, acid rain diminishes our woods, cancerous cell divisions are caused

by dumpings

of nuclear waste and

by

interference with the ozone

layer. The nutritional value of

pork

is one-fifth that of the corn needed to produce it,

an absurd waste of food in front of the

hungry peering

at us from our TV screen. Ex-Nazis become

president;

wine is

poisoned wholesale; unemployment

condemns

youth

to a lost

generation;

addic- tion chains

many

into a modem-day version of slavery.

The diabolos

upsets

the

ecological

balance and causes us to lose all sense of

proportion.

Fear, sickness

and death turn us into less than whole human

beings.

Yet,

out of this chaos the

Spirit

woos a

holy people,

the Church, into

being.

That Church manifests the

reign

of Messiah,

the One anointed

by

the

Spirit

who has

conquered

the ultimate chaos of death.

Through

the charismatic

community

Christ continues to restore the balance

by healing

the

sick, prophesying deliverance,

feeding the

hungry

and

sending

the rich

away empty.

The second

enemy attempts

to establish

unity

at the cost of diversity. This is the most

dangerous

form of evil because we often do not

recog- nize it as such. The biblical

image

here is the Beast which arises out of the

sea, typifying

the Roman

Emperor

as the

bloody symbol

of the totalitarian state

(Rev. 13).

An accumulation of

power always

leads to the

suppression

of

people

who are different. This is true both of

police states with their so-called re-education

camps,

as of those multinationals which fund

profit-friendly

dictators.

From this kind of

evil,

the Church has suffered most. I only need to recall the

Inquisition

which, by

the

way, originally

was instituted to eliminate the charismatic Cathari. In Geneva, bulwark of the Reforma- tion, pious

Servetus was burned because of a difference in

theological opinion.

The

Spirit-inspired

Jesus of Nazareth, the

wholly other,

was executed when the

religious

and

political

bodies of his

day managed

to unite their power against

him. In the resurrection, this

very

same Jesus was

justi- fied

by

God.

Only

the Lamb that is slain

by

the

powers

of this world, is worthy

to receive

power

and to

reign.

From now

on, every form of dominion which tries to

suppress diversity

stands under a

pneumatic criticism,

and will end under the feet of Christ.

The

outpouring

of the

Spirit is

God’s answer both to diabolic chaos and

beastly

totalitarianism. The charismatic

reign

of Christ turns the Church into a

strategic bridge-head

in the

struggle

for a renewed

9

35

universe which will consist of a holy ecology of Father, Son,

Spirit

and creation.

According

to

Ephesians,

this is the

grandeur

of the Church and a never-ending

source of

encouragement.

In a time when Christians represented

a

neglected minority

in the ancient

world,

a

fringe group which could harbor no

hope

of ever

becoming significant

for

society

at large,

the author of this

epistle

wrote that the Church is God’s instru- ment for the renewal of the entire cremation. 16 The church is God’s preparation

for the fullness of time. In her he unites “all

things

in heaven and on earth,” that whole cosmic

diversity,

under the charismatic

reign of the “one head, even Christ”-to the

praise

of his

glory (Eph. 1 :3-14).

16Cf. Edward Schillebeeckx, Christ: The Experience of Jesus as Lord (New York: Crossroad, 1981 ),

217.

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