Not just a counterculture
Peter J. Leithart on the public (and prophetic) mission of the Church
“The mission of the Church can be described as a double movement. On the one hand, the Church is called to withdraw from the world, to be a counterculture, a separate city within the world’s cities, challenging and clashing with the world by unapologetically speaking her own language, telling her own stories, enacting her own rites, practicing her own way of life. Though she shares considerable cultural space with the world, the Church is not an institution in the world alongside other institutions. She is an alternative world unto herself, with her roots in heaven, formed by being drawn into the community of Father, Son and Spirit.
“The Church is not, however, simply a counterculture. She has been given the subversive mission of converting whatever culture she finds herself in. She works to the end that her language, her rites, and her way of life might become formative for an entire society. She withdraws from the world for the sake of the world. Having been drawn into the communion of the triune God, she participates also in the mission of the triune God.”
—from Peter J. Leithart: Against Christianity (Canon Press, 2003)
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