Caste System in Church (2): False Dichotomy

When someone says “… caring for people’s souls is more important than caring for people’s bodies …”, he’s implying a worldview where whatever you do either operates within the spiritual realm or the physical realm because the two realms are separate. He would rather people spend more time/energy on so-called “spiritual matters” (like serving in church) than “worldly matters” (like making money in the business world).

Although many Christians and many church mission statements do subscribe to this kind of worldview, they might be dismayed to find that this is not a worldview that comes from the Bible nor from Hebrew culture. It’s a worldview derived from the Greeks, who treat work as a curse and considered it more enjoyable to live a contemplative life.

But God in His wisdom turned this thinking upside down. God cared enough about our souls to send Jesus to us in the body. And what did Jesus do? He attended weddings, made wine, healed the sick, etc. Then Jesus prayed for the disciples, saying, “I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one.” (John 17:15) Later on, Apostle Paul wrote, “For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.” (1 Cor. 6:20) We should be “in the world” and doing worldly things but yet be able to glorify God.

John Fischer, in his book “What On Earth Are We Doing?” (a book I find myself reading and re-reading all the time) wrote, “Christians today do not need to spend more time away from the world to be holy. Instead, we need to train our minds to think about all of life in such a way as to make it holy. We do not need to do more spiritual things; we need to turn all that we are already doing into something spiritual. Brennan Manning has said, ‘Spirituality is not one compartment or sphere of life. Rather it is a lifestyle: the process of life lived with the vision of faith.'” (pp. 105-106) In “The Practice of the Presence of God”, Brother Lawrence wrote: “Our sanctification does not depend as much on changing our activities as it does on doing them for God.”

Highly recommended additional reading:
Dr. Paul Yin’s Blog: Theology and Ministry: Trichotomy & Sacred-Secular Segregation

Caste System in Church (1): Do We Care About Souls?
Caste System in Church (2): False Dichotomy
Caste System in Church (3): Churches Need To Talk About Work
Caste System in Church (4): The Goal Of God’s Ministry
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