God is using this time to remind the Church that Christianity is unintelligible without enemies. Indeed, the whole point of Christianity is to produce the right kind of enemies. We have been beguiled by our established status to forget that to be a Christian is to be made part of an army against armies. It has been suggested that satisfaction theories of the Atonement and the correlative understanding of the Christian life as a life of interiority became the rule during the long process we call the Constantinian settlement. When Caesar becomes a member of the Church the enemy becomes internalized. The problem is no longer that the Church is seen as a threat to the political order, but that now my desires are disordered. The name for such an internalization in modernity is pietism and the theological expression of that practice is called Protestant liberalism.
In the latest installment of You Are Not Accepted, Johanna gets hot and bothered over Stanley’s address, “Preaching as Though We Had Enemies.” Originally delivered to the homiletics guild, this address is found in his collection, Sanctify Them in the Truth: Holiness Exemplified, and also at First Things: https://www.firstthings.com/article/1995/05/preaching-as-though-we-had-enemies
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