The cardinal Pell affair was not only about morality. It’s about rigid christianity and what it takes to be a leader in Christ. No matter what part of the church we are in – institutionalism kills the spirit and dulls the soul. The reason – institutionalism is the material culture of the letter that kills. This letter kills Godliness, humanity, love and vision. It is the opposite of incarnation which is Christ’s spirit as us.
We are one substance with Christ or we have made ourselves in the image of the letter that kills. In the ‘one substance’ of the new covenant we become ministers of spirit and life. In the letter as sincere as we may be we just drone on or entertain folks minus spirit and life.
THE HOLISTIC CHRIST
Forget about the harmonious development of the mental, spiritual and physical aspects of the person. With one’s spiritual person formed in the law one has no more chance of becoming a well-rounded person or a son of God than a stone has of becoming a human being.
This is why Paul condemns ‘words on stone’ as a source of life. This scripture is not about religious principles written on hearts. Gal 2.20, 21 ensures that the correct meaning is Jesus in you expressed as you. This is our post-cross life and it is what Jesus’ means by: ‘Realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you’ John 14.20 NIV.
SONS OF THE FREE WOMAN
An active mind, an understanding heart, the ability to love oneself and others – the status of being a son/daughter rather than a slave and a worker is ours when Jesus is our life. Never when the law or an ideology is what is expressed as the self. In the law/letter we can kid ourselves as much as we want that we are alive. But we just aren’t.
Formed in the law the best we can do is to be a gracious practitioner of religion. But we will remain dulled in the letter and undernourished with the spirit and life of Jesus. ‘Dull’ is a word that surfaces in institutionalism repeatedly because ‘dull’ is a form of death that paralyses the soul, suffocating the spirit and confusing the mind. Indeed it could be argued that in the law we can have a brain but a mind? – not so much. Dull fits the flesh perfectly because it is the negation of who all that is the Spirit of Sonship.
WISDOM AND ACCURATE PERCEPTION
‘For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.’
If we live in the law we will apply legalisms as if they are wisdom. When Christ is our life our ‘word’ is us – sharp of vision and skilled in spiritual discernment we are the kind of leader who is competent to lead because we are alive and we can see. As a blind leader of the blind we can have a following. But we are not spiritual leaders.
‘He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant--not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life’ 2 Cor 3.6 NIV.
We can be competent to minister spirit and life. Or not.