If to be the church in the world is to be missional and incarnational, then of necessity to be the church involves confrontation with the world and division from the world. Although we are and always will be humans and sinners, there is an intrinsic difference between the church and the world and between the mindset of the church and the mindset of the world; there is also an inevitable exposure of that difference.

According to the Bible, the church has a specific identity. This identity is the primary distinction between the church and the world:

The church exists in a special relationship with God, put in place by the Spirit of God, on the basis of the life, death and resurrection of the Son of God:

This difference and its inevitable exposure of the world’s lostness, create confrontation, conflict and division. It did with Jesus Christ, and it does so with the church, if and where the church is truly missional and truly incarnational. If, on the other hand the church merges with the world there is no exposure, no confrontation and no division, but then the church has become impotent in its mission and has ceased to be incarnational. One might even speculate that it has abdicated its identity as the church.

Copyright Rosemary Bardsley 2009