Thanks to all who came out to the class last night! I must say that nothing went like I thought it would. I actually had a specific game plan when I came in and then I discovered that what was needed was kind of a broad introductory discussion driving home the importance of what we will be doing this short semester.
I also noticed that many of you have checked out the blogs. This one went from 12 hits to over a hundred hits since class time. I hope you will read the articles and make comments in between class sessions.
My Take Away
I feel like we struck the right balance in our discussion. We talked a good bit about the onslaught of “gay Christianity” which was important to do for a couple of reasons. First, it happens to be the fastest moving breach of orthodoxy facing the believing Church today. Second, in principle, it represents all of the varied principles we will deal with in other issues as well. But, just to be clear, this class is not about homosexuality.
More importantly, we discussed the need for the believing Church to be full of power and to demonstrate genuine love to the people in our culture, remembering that people who are lost and struggling with sin and bondage are not our enemies. There are those in the culture who have made themselves enemies of the cross, but even they are being held captive under the sway of the real enemy which is Satan. The point was also well made that as we talk about these things, but more importantly as we pray, we must realize we move into the enemy’s camp and so we should be wise and stay in pray and in the Word.
In the end, I hope that as a result of attending this class you become more informed about where we are in the Church and the culture and that you will take your place “on the wall” so to speak and discover how God wants to use you in these last hours.
For Next Week
Please read Intro to an Ethics of Christ and Culture, Heresy: What is it?, and Old Time Tolerance and Intolerance. They are not long. If you would like to share your thoughts on these subjects, make a comment!
See you next week!
By Scott Fowler
This blog was specially prepared to support the Christ and Culture Update class which happens on Wednesday nights at 7:30 pm at the Smithtown Gospel Tabernacle. The class serves several purposes.
Vast swaths of the moral fabric of the Church and the culture are being ripped away on a daily basis. Unfortunately, it is typical for evangelicals to be twenty years or more behind the times when it comes to being aware of paradigmatic changes taking place in the Church and the culture at large. The Christ and Culture Update class and blog is designed to help educate the Church in the area of Christian ethics known as Christ and culture.
Christ and Culture: Definitional
The class serves as a format to educate the believing Church concerning its need to be aware of the issues that arise where Christ and culture intersect. An important “primer” on the subject is Niebuhr‘s classic text, Christ and Culture. Niebuhr suggests five ways in which the Church has assayed to address the “problem of human culture,” which can be seen as postures the Church has taken in reference to secular culture. They are Christ against culture, Christ of culture, Christ above culture, Christ and culture in paradox, and Christ transforming culture. The discussion of these approaches or postures serves to get the conversation started but by no means suggests that these five represent an exhaustive list. Many since Niebuhr’s time have undertaken this area of thought, which is really Christian ethics, but in reality, Niebuhr himself points out, the problem of human culture and what the Church is to do about it is one that has endured since the Church began.
One of the principles constantly being haggled over at precise places where the Church and the culture intersect is tolerance. What current cultures refers to as tolerance and intolerance is vastly different from what the Church understands those concepts to be. For the believing Church, the heart of tolerance involves a commitment to truth. Daily new examples of the culture’s “intolerance of tolerance” come to light. So, this section of the class’s curricula is reserved for the discussion and defining of tolerance.
The Heresy Pantheon
The true and believing Church is being assaulted in unprecedented ways by those whom we thought were part of us but who are now calling the Church into heresy. These individuals show no hesitation or remorse when it comes to pushing their agendas. What they do, they do publicly. The heresy pantheon is a catalogue of the names and doctrines of those who demonstrate this modus operandi.
Of course, the best way to get a handle on what is actually happening in the areas where Christ and culture intersect is to observe in real-time actual current events. The four particular “intersections” of Christ and culture where much is hanging in the balance today are evolution, homosexuality, abortion, and atheism.