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Tradition and Messianic Liberation

Jürgen Moltmann, in The Church in the Power of the Spirit argues that appeals to the church’s tradition as a source of stable, timeless permanence are misguided on the basis of the very nature of tradition itself:

The tradition to which the church appeals, and which it proclaims whenever it calls itself Christ’s church and speaks in Christ’s name, is the tradition of the messianic liberation and eschatological renewal of the world. It is impossible to rest on this tradition. It is a tradition that changes men and from which they are born again. It is like the following wind that drives us to new shores. Anyone who enters into this messianic tradition accepts the adventure of the Spirit, the experience of liberation, the call to repentance, and common work for the coming kingdom. Tradition and reformation, what abides and what changes, faithfulness and the fresh start are not antitheses in the history of the Spirit. For the Spirit leads to the fellowship of Christ and consummates the messianic kingdom. (p. 3)

The tradition, thus construed, cannot be a stable source of rest, of self-confidence and coherence. Rather it consists in being given over to the ongoing missional activity of the Spirit in transforming the world into the kingdom of Christ.

2 Comments

  1. robby wrote:

    wow. good stuff.

    Friday, November 20, 2009 at 9:57 am | Permalink
  2. Liesl wrote:

    Indeed. This interplay between tradition and change is something that I’ve been thinking about a lot, but haven’t been able to make sense of yet.

    Thursday, December 24, 2009 at 5:08 am | Permalink

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