Christopher Ash in his book The Priority of Preaching spends an entire chapter talking about how the preached word is God’s method for bringing people who very different from one another together in harmony. He talks about how human beings are scattered because of sin. In Christ they are brought back together. He uses the term “reassemble” to describe this process. Here is a summary of a portion of that chapter along with a quote at the end.
The broken world cannot be reassembled by:
- Technology: We are finding that technology does not reassemble people at all. We still “connect” with those most like us.
- Force: A unity created by force is lost as soon as the source of that force is lost, such as a king or ruler.
- Natural Human Affection: There is no natural human affection that will reassemble people who are not like each other. Naturally we divide. Naturally we get into our little circles and stay there.
- Religion: There can be religious assemblies that gather people together. However, because they reject God and refuse to submit to his word they are assemblies of lies and deceit. They are dangerous and they do not bring together diverse groups of people. Nor do they heal what is really broken.
The world can only be reassembled through grace.
“Only the preached word of Christ, the word of grace preached again and again and again, pressed home with passion and engagement, only that word will create God’s assembly to rebuild a broken world. It has been said that the church is crater formed by the impact of the word of God (Karl Barth); or that ‘the scriptures are God’s voice, the church is his echo’ (John Donne). Those are vivid pictures. But it is perhaps more scriptural to say that the church is the living organism conceived, shaped and grown by the seed of the word of God within (cf. James 1:18, 21; 1 Pet. 1:23). The church’s DNA is the DNA of the preached word of God. And by that word Jesus gathers unlikely people.”