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The church needs to be an agent of change

Following are the opening paragraphs of the regular column (April 2017) of Jim Stuart in ‘Touchstone”, the monthly paper of the Methodist Church of New Zealand.  Jim is a past minister of St Andrews on the Terrace in Wellington and is now retired in Christchurch.

In Mathew 21:12 we encounter a depiction of Jesus as an angry Middle Eastern Jew with a whip in his hand, flipping over tables in a rage and putting the fear of God into the resident capitalists.

Jesus was angry for a reason.  Instead of the temple being a house of prayer he accused money lenders of “making it a den of robbers”.  In impoverished and occupied Galilee, Jesus demanded fundamental change.

There is a side of the Christian community that I don’t understand.  I want the church to be braver than it is and willing to use its power and influence for change.  If Jesus is to be understood, the purpose of the church is much more confrontational than we might find comfortable.

Instead the contemporary church is a slumbering giant with massive assets, but barely hanging on to the passion of its founder.  Members are getting old, tired, and detached, and as much as I value good manners and politeness, it won’t get the church anywhere.

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