“Our church communities ought to be cities of refuge for sinners, busy with the traffic of forgiveness, busy with people learning the ‘craft’ of forgiveness–ordinarily by getting apprenticed to a master forgiver or two. The idea is that saints ought to teach forgiveness to saints-in-training. In the holy catholic church (the communion of saints), we should be rehearsing the forgiveness of sins like pianists, practicing the hard parts over and over till we get them right.”
–Cornelius Plantinga Jr., “Rehearsing Forgiveness: Practicing the Hard Parts Till We Get Them Right,” Christianity Today, April 29, 1996, 31.
“We shall live forever. There will come a time when every culture, every institution, every nation, the human race, all biological life is extinct and every one of us is still alive. Immortality is promised to us, not to these generalities. It was not for societies or states that Christ died, but for men.
In that sense Christianity must seem to secular collectivists to involve an almost frantic assertion of individuality. But then it is not the individual as such who will share Christ’s victory over death. We shall share the victory by being in the Victor. A rejection, or in Scripture’s strong language, a crucifixion of the natural self is the passport to everlasting life.
Nothing that has not died will be resurrected. That is just how Christianity cuts across the antithesis between individualism and collectivism. There lies the maddening ambiguity of our faith as it must appear to outsiders. It sets its face relentlessly against our natural individualism; on the other hand, it gives back to those who abandon individualism an eternal possession of their own personal being, even of their bodies.
As mere biological entities, each with its separate will to live to expand, we are apparently of no account; we are cross-fodder. But as organs in the Body of Christ, as stones and pillars in the temple, we are assured of our eternal self-identity and shall live to remember the galaxies as an old tale.”
-–C. S. Lewis, “Membership” in The Weight of Glory: And Other Addresses (New York: HarperCollins, 1949/2001), 172-3.