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Harink on exile

Peter’s reference to the church as “exiles” doesn’t mean at least two things, according to Harink. It doesn’t mean that they are literally exiles from their homes. Most of the people who received this letter were living where they always lived. Likewise the term does not mean that Christians are “exiles” in this world in the sense that they really belong in heaven rather than on earth.

Rather, being “exiles” points to the people of God’s being set apart, separated by God among the nations for a specific calling. Thus, exile is rooted in election. God establishes God’s people among the nations as witness to God’s holiness, thus constituting a particular sort of non-national peoplehood.

4 Comments

  1. Chris Donato wrote:

    No doubt some traditions have focused too much on the notion of this place “not being our home.” But the notion ought not be excluded either. The exilic community no doubt has been elected to die to self in this world, to go the way of the cross, but that’s precisely because they have one leg in another world—the world that Rev. 21 depicts as coming down to earth when the Messiah’s presence is finally and fully revealed.

    Monday, February 22, 2010 at 1:06 pm | Permalink
  2. Doug Harink wrote:

    Chris, I agree fully.

    Monday, February 22, 2010 at 2:12 pm | Permalink
  3. Chris Donato wrote:

    Thanks, Doug. I guess Halden’s seemingly emphatic “does not mean” threw me off a bit.

    Monday, February 22, 2010 at 9:57 pm | Permalink
  4. Chris Donato wrote:

    Also, this appeared to be a great series, and on a much overlooked portion of early Christian writings too! Many thanks to Halden for covering it.

    Monday, February 22, 2010 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

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