John Steward of Jesus
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A Special People

I would probably agree with (K's) central point regarding elitism if I could sit down with him and discuss it. I suspect he does not want anyone to think they are made of genetically superior stock, which qualifies them and others so gifted to be part of the elite--the superior or chosen people. I would agree. Since the coming of Jesus, none of us should evaluate the worth of people by their blood line.

At the same time, we should not abandon the idea of a chosen or superior people, which some might describe as an elite, making those who hold the concept subject to the charge of elitism. There are many references to being chosen in the scriptures, including the New Testament.

The concept of holiness throughout the scriptures is one of being different, set apart, special, having qualities different from the mainstream. So we should not apologize for the concept that we are part of a special minority.

But this gives us no reason for pride or the snobbishness which is often the offense causing a charge of "elitism". We are special, different, chosen, elite, not because of who our parents are or because of the type of blood we have, nor because we were born with superior intelligence or moral qualities, but because by the grace of God we heard and responded to the call of God in Jesus Christ through the Spirit who worked in us, and by His grace were forgiven, cleansed, and made new by his work.

We are part of the elite not because of the facts of our natural birth, but because of the facts of our new birth. This awareness prompts us to invite everyone into the club of the elite, through the door which remains open.

It seems to me that the awareness that there is an elite somewhere, a special people, a group of hope, an alternative to the mess of the mass, relief from the despair which pervades so much of human history, is built into all our guts, churns within us, and pushes people into so many of the counterfeit options to join this or that "secret" or regimented club of the elite where community prevails and life is bliss. We know that there must be something better than the experience of the masses and the prevailing pattern of history. That is why so many of the testimonies of those who find Jesus include something like a description of finally finding what we were looking for.

Because of the abundant evidence, including much in (K's) essay, that those who find Jesus find something better, I am very willing to hold to and defend the concept of a chosen or superior people, an elite. Without something better to offer, we have little to do but discuss with others in the sewage lagoon the nature of the floating piece of debris which we happen to be clinging to at the moment.

It is likely that elitism is assumed always to be bad because it usually is encountered in an atmosphere of pride. Let that be a warning to all of us.