All Saints

Protestant usually have a wiggly time around the saints, unless the term is used (as I believe) in its proper New Testament fashion frequently and with learning moments built-in.

Saints are the believers; the ones who are witnesses of Christ Jesus and who have incorporated this reality into their lives in such a way as to live in a dynamic relationship with God. Indeed, the saints live in fellowship (koinonia) with God and with one another.

These saints aren’t perfect or embued with a false holiness. Indeed, the dynamic relationship with God is my working definition of holiness. God gives graciously; we repond thankfully.

Our thanksgiving goes out to be good toward other persons and good stewards for those beings that cannot protect themselves. When Paul speaks of “equipping the saints” there follows an understanding that our good intentions even our “holiness” is not enough without formation and encouragement.

The Church is too complex to be described in trite ways, but it is proper to say that the Church both forms and encourages the saints when it lives up to what it is.

That can go a long way to answering the oldest and most perplexing of Universalist questions: “Why the church?” The logic goes that without the Church holding the keys of salvation that God gives freely though God’s covenant with all persons there is no incentive to ally with any church. (A similar arguement follows about baptism: “Baptism is about washing away original sin, which I don’t believe in, and anyone who doesn’t believe baptism is about original sin is wrong.”)

The Church preceeds any claim about its supernatural power. It is, and it is beloved by God. What the saints will do with it “will sway its future.”

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