Extending the boundaries of God’s Temple, the Church

from G.K. Beale, The Temple and the Church’s Mission: A Biblical Theology of the Dwelling Place of God (Downer’s Grove: Intervarsity Press, 2004), 401.

One summer my wife and I bought a “Rose of Sharon” bush and planted it on the north side of our house. The bush was supposed to grow to about six feet high and four feet wide and bear flowers. After a few months, however, we noticed that our bush was not growing at all, though it had begun to produce buds. The buds, however, never opened into full flowers. The problem was that our bush was not getting enough sunlight. If we did not transplant it, the bush would not grow to its normal size and it would not produce any flowers. Likewise, we as the church, will not bear feruit and grow and extend across the earth the way God intends unless we stay out of the shadows of the world and remain in the light of God’s presence — in his word and prayer and in the fellowship with other believers in the church, the temple of God. The mark of the true church is an expanding witness to the presence of God; first to our families, then to others in the church, then to our neighborhood, then to our city, then the country and ultimately the whole earth.

This quote is from chapter 13, the final chapter, “Practical suggestions on Eden and the temple for the church in the twenty-first century.”

This book began as a three page excursus in Beale’s NIGTC Revelation commentary (pp. 1109-1111) which is outstanding in its own right, even if one doesn’t necessarily agree with all (or most) of Beale’s conclusions. There are several portions (excursi? excurses?) I’d love to see him expand one day.

About Michael R. Jones

Pastor and PhD candidate writing on Paul's theology of suffering.
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