A Church is Dead Without Innocence

When people are dialoguing about church health, how often does the word “Innocence” show up?  I throw that out there because the concept is vitally important if a church is going to be a church.

The Writings define “Innocence” as being “the acknowledgment that everything good comes from the Lord.”  From that, innocence is “the willingness to be led by the Lord.”   In heaven, where innocence is recognized as a critical practice, angels never take credit for anything good that they do.  They recognize that anything that is from self, is dead (even saying that it is cadaverous- yuck!).   (Heaven and Hell 278)

Since everything of self is dead, angels have no desire to lead themselves.  They realize that they do not know what is best for themselves.  That leads to an acknowledgment that the Lord is providing for their happiness in ways that they could not have imagined.

Here is an interesting list of “no’s” related to innocence that are drawn from different passages from the Writings.   Consider this:

There is no regeneration without innocence (AC 3994)

There is no wisdom without innocence  (HH 278)

Good is not good without innocence (AC 10133)

Charity is not charity without innocence (AC 430)

Worship is not worship without innocence (AC 10133)

The only way praise reaches the Lord is through innocence (AC 5236)

In the light of these statements, look at the church through the lens of innocence. What does the church without innocence look like? How does it operate? What are the risks for a church organization that gives “innocence” short shrift? -no regeneration -no wisdom -no good -no charity -no worship…. The cultivation of innocence is a defining factor in the church.  No wonder Jesus said “let the little children come to me for such is the kingdom of heaven.”

The footnote at the bottom of Heaven and Hell 278 says the following: “we have been so created as to become like infants as we approach old age, but with wisdom in our innocence.”   Those are words to ponder.

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3 Responses to “A Church is Dead Without Innocence”

  1. Malcolm says:

    Thanks for your sermon on Sunday. I’m glad that you put the short version with quotations here.

    I was reading in Jeremiah and came across some passages that seem to be saying similar things to what you were saying.

    “Thus says the Lord: ‘Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, Let not the mighty man glory in his might, Nor let the rich man glory in his riches; But let him who glories glory in this, That he understands and knows Me, That I am the Lord, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight,’ says the Lord.” (Jeremiah 9:23-24)

    “O Lord, I know the way of man is not in himself; It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps.” (Jeremiah 10:23)

  2. Bronwen says:

    Thanks for this collection of quotes they are beautiful AND thoughtprovoking.

  3. Jay Barry says:

    Thanks Dave for this very important point. I think we do demonstrate the value of innocence and the desire to be led by the Lord, despite the current turmoil. My evidence is the participation of 500 people in BA in the recent Elijah journey campaign.

    Should this success be eclipsed by the current anxiety? I hope not. Those people who are most strident, should be encouraged to speak to their concerns, indeed, but let them also see the beauty of these programs and the benefits the Lord confers through them.

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