A Place Of Wind And Rock -- By: Clyde E. Fant

Journal: Faith and Mission
Volume: FM 001:2 (Spring 1984)
Article: A Place Of Wind And Rock
Author: Clyde E. Fant

A Place Of Wind And Rock

Clyde E. Fant

Visiting Professor of Preaching,
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

The contemporary church is best symbolized by a stained glass window above the papal chair in St. Peter’s Basilica. It depicts a white dove in a solid circle of gold—the freedom which is typified by the spirit of God, surrounded by the form which the church has assumed. That window, it seems to me, represents a problem which is critical not only to that church, but to ours, and to all other churches as well.

How in fact can the freedom of God’s spirit be accommodated within the form of the human church? Or, better put, how can the form of the human church accommodate the freedom of the spirit of God? That is precisely the question being raised in Acts 6:1–4:

And in those days when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a complaint of the Grecians against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily ministry. Then the twelve called the whole group of disciples unto them and said, it does not make sense that we should leave the word of God to serve tables. So find seven men among you with a good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this matter. But we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the Word.

I know it is a strange choice, but this is one of my favorite passages in all the Bible. It is just as encouraging to me as Acts 2:41–47 is discouraging. You remember those words—which (more or less) say:

Everything is all right; in fact, everything is in great shape. Everyone is continuing in prayer, and in doctrine, and in breaking of bread and in fellowship. Everyone is concerned; wonders and signs are being done. Everyone that believes has everything in common. And they have sold their possessions and goods and distributed them fairly, as everyone had need. And you cannot find anything wrong anywhere.

And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple and breaking bread from house to house, ate their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God and depressing future generations of pastors and churches.

Everyone who has ever pastored a church longer than three months knows what I am talking about. For the fact is, Acts 6:1 is far more typical of the work of the church than Acts 2:41.

No matter how much we may look back on Acts 2:41–47 with wistfulness and speak with...

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