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The Church:  She Won’t Stay Throwed

In 2008 author Jon Meacham published an excellent book about Andrew Jackson, the seventh president of the United States. The book is entitled American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House. A summary of the book at amazon.com stated that Jackson was "beloved and hated, venerated and reviled." In the first chapter of his book Meacham writes about Jackson's birth and early life in Waxhaw, South Carolina, a tiny frontier straddling the border between the Carolinas, a few hundred miles northwest of Charleston, South Carolina. Mecharn relates that Jackson, like many other children of the frontier, "was engaged in a kind of constant brawl from birth." He goes on to note that wrestling was a common pastime in those days, and a contemporary who squared off against Jackson recalled, "I could throw him three times out of four, but he would never stay throwed" (pp 9-10 American Lion by Jon Meacham). If you study Jackson's life you will find those words describe his approach to life. From birth to death he lived in tumultuous times, and at least politically he was often involved in, if not the reason for, the tumult! But he was nicknamed "Old Hickory" because of his toughness and aggressive personality. He wouldn't give up and opponents couldn't keep him down —in wrestling or in politics!

I like the words, "he would never stay throwed." I know "throwed" is not a proper word, but proper or not that thought perfectly describes Jesus Christ and His church! To borrow Meacham's words about Andrew Jackson, Jesus "was engaged in a kind of constant brawl from birth." Jesus was born in a manger to poor parents, threatened in infancy by a suspicious and mad-dog king named Herod, and then hated and hounded by religious authorities throughout His public ministry and teaching. For two thousand years now the Gospel has told the story not only of His birth and life and teaching, but also His agonizing and torturous death upon a Roman cross at the instigation of hate-filled and close-minded religious leaders of the day. After His crucifixion, a devoted follower placed His abused and dead body in a tomb. By order of the Roman governor Pilate, they sealed the tomb and rolled a huge stone across its entrance and posted a Roman guard around it, all in an effort to "make it as secure as you know how" (Matthew 28:65). But Jesus didn't stay throwed! Women came to the tomb where He had been buried three days earlier, but Luke records that "they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus." Instead, they encountered two angels who announced, "Why do seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen! Luke 24:5b, 6a)!" And the rest, as they say, is history! Jesus would not stay throwed! Nor will His church! Like her Lord, the New Testament church, too, has found herself engaged in a kind of constant brawl from birth. Her teaching has, to this day, been loved by some and loathed and reviled by others. None of us can predict the future. But if the past two thousand years are any indication, the Lord's church will continue to be in a brawl. Her charge is not to avoid the brawl, but to "fight the good fight of faith" (1 Timothy 6:12). Though she may at times get throwed, God help His church to never stay throwed!

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ