Chapter 3: The Word in the World
I love the title of this chapter, "The Word in the World," because Word in the World is Who Christ is and the Church is supposed to be!
In this chapter's second paragraph Bishop Newbigin says where it's at for me:
missionaries already organize their corporate life around a story that is told in a book and is continually reenacted by word and sacramental action in their liturgy.And, of course around the Person that Book and those liturgies reveal and proclaim. Is Newbigin saying the mission and witness of the local church is "where all the action is?" Partly, I think, but by extension he's also saying those church members' lives outside in the world are sacraments that mediate the Christ.
Marian C., the discussion moderator said, "But I do think it's fair to say that he claims that the authority of Scripture rests in the community organized around that Scripture." Yes, that is what I hear him saying, again in many more words than necessary! We Christians are a "people of the book," though of course with the Reformers I agree Christ is above all and in all. Sometimes I differ with the Reformers' considering the preached word to be the Word of God: I'm more likely to consider the lived word – walking that talk – to equate the Christ.
On page 42 Bishop Newbigin writes, "And if the sacred book has been desacralized and placed firmly within the world of objective fact…so also the sacred society, the church, is desacralized."
Page 50: "Is it possible to read Scripture in any other way than as the people we are?" No, not, because scripture itself is an incarnate, "enfleshed" Word, a text both "strange" and "other," and I appreciate his cautioning us about the danger of emphasizing strangeness or otherness to the exclusion of one of them. So true there's no place whatsoever for resurrection within any secular plausibility structures. I think we can get a better picture by more than one person telling the same story and maybe by listening to a few outsiders' versions of the same insider story.