Friday, February 28, 2014

Fires and Fireplaces

"The structure of the institutional church is necessary, like a fireplace. The flame of true evangelical experience and conviction - a 'felt Christ' as the Puritans would say - is the only reason for a fireplace to begin with.

Over the years, as the mansions got bigger and the artisanship that went into the carving of mantelpieces got more cunning, the more time could go by without a fire ever actually being built in that thin. I mean, who wants to fill up such a beautiful hole in the wall with a bunch of ashes?

After a time, others - by which I mean radical charismatics and crazed anabaptists - start setting their fires on the coffee table or the love seat. But at least they knew the room was cold and something should be done about it.

The fire of evangelical conviction, when scripturally governed, cries out for a fireplace to burn in. A well-designed fireplace, put together by biblically minded craftsmen, cries out for a fire to go in it. A fireplace without a fire is cold and dead. A fire without a fireplace is fierce and destructive. Shouldn't we be able to work something out?"

Douglas Wilson, Against the Church, p. 77.