Proclaiming jesus in grace and truth
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Proclaiming Jesus in Grace and Truth. The gospel in a post-Christendom, post-modern, pluralist age. (Dietrich Bonhoeffer – Letters and Papers from Prison).

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Proclaiming jesus in grace and truth

Proclaiming Jesus in Grace and Truth

The gospel in a post-Christendom, post-modern, pluralist age


Dietrich bonhoeffer letters and papers from prison

(Dietrich Bonhoeffer – Letters and Papers from Prison)

‘what is bothering me … is the question what Christianity really is, … who Jesus really is for us today. The time when people could be told everything in words … is over … religion is over. … How can Christ become the Lord of the religionless as well? What is a religionless Christianity?’


Mission and change

Mission and change?

Eternal Gospel

?

400 BC

600 AD

1500 AD

2000 AD

Early Church

?

Judaism

Christendom

Reformation

Changing expression – David Bosch ‘Transforming Mission’


Post christendom

Post-Christendom?

Church attendance 2005

76% of New Christians Come from 26% De-Churched

finding faith today 1992

65% Non Churched

This section of the population is older and decreasing over time

26% De Churched

9% monthly


Post christendom1

Post-Christendom?

Not just about church attendance

  • Grace Davie,

    - Believing without belonging and vicarious faith

    • But changing belief

    • Fading of occasional office

    • Decline in Christian identity

  • Stages in the decline of Christendom not a new way for it to persist


Builders born 20s 30s in 2005

Builders (born 20s+30s) in 2005


Boomers born 40s 50s in 2005

Boomers (born 40s+50s) in 2005


Gen xers born 60s 70s in 2005

Gen-Xers (born 60s+70s) in 2005


Gen yers born 80s 90s in 2015

Gen-Yers (born 80s+90s) in 2015?


Post modernity modernity to postmodernity

Post-modernity?Modernity toPostmodernity

I tell my story

I choose my beliefs

truth as fact

truth as experience

I buy my identity

The logic of consumerism


What is truth

What is ‘Truth’?

  • Towards the post-modern

    • Nietzsche

      • The Death of God (the madman)

        The Gay Science 1882

      • The displacement of the real

        ‘Down with all philosophies that speak of a real world’

        Twilight of the Idols 1888

    • The Matrix

      ‘Welcome to the Desert of the Real’


From text to hyper text

From Text to Hyper-Text

  • Reader response – we tend to read our own meanings into texts

  • Deconstruction – texts have meanings under the surface which are as ‘true’ (Derrida)

  • Computerized communication

    • Changeable

    • Open to all

    • Overwhelming volume of shorter work

    • Difficulty of assessing content


The post modern problem

The post-modern problem

  • The truth behind ‘the many truths’

    • ‘All is the Will to Power and nothing besides’

      Nietzsche Beyond Good and Evil 1886

  • Post Modernity as Liberation?

    • Richard Rorty, Henry Giroux & Francois Lyotard

    • We are free from the tyranny of the norm, we can celebrate being black, white or… women, men or…Gay, Straight or… Kosovan, Serbian or….(The critique of the tyranny of modernism)

  • Or Essential Violence – Darwin? Capitalism?

    • ‘Humanity does not gradually progress from combat to combat until it arrives at a universal reciprocity, where the rule of law finally replaces warfare; humanity instils each of its violence's in a system of rules and thus proceeds from domination to domination’

      Foucault A Foucault Reader Penguin 1984 p85

    • ‘The advent of democracy, international courts instead of war, equal rights for women (are all signs of) the slave morality of the herd’ – ‘the hero will come to lead the herd in replacement for the dead god’

      Nietzsche On a Genealogy of Morals 1887


Post secularism

Post- Secularism?

  • Post-modernity - multi-faith in a post-secular age

    • Post-modern move from truth as fact to truth as experience - From universal truth to true for me may be different to true for you.

    • Rejection of objectivity for subjectivity

    • Personal belief re-enters the public square

    • Any and every belief …. All are equally unprovable

    • All of this much to the annoyance of Richard Dawkins…….

      and Christians?

    • Religion once more on the agenda but any religion with no way back to Christendom …..indeed is Christianity disadvantaged compared to the alternatives?


Spiritual experience in 2000 vs 1987

‘Spiritual’ experience in 2000 Vs 1987

55% saw a patterning of events – up 90%

38% felt God’s presence – up 41%

37% had answered prayer – up 48%

29% felt sacred in nature – up 81%

25% the presence of the dead – up 39%

1987 48% report a spiritual experience - 2000 risen to 76%

25% the presence of evil – up 108%

But what are they experiencing?


Believe in the soul

Believe in the soul


Believe in an afterlife

Believe in an afterlife


Believe in restless spirits

Believe in restless spirits


Believe in karma

Believe in Karma


Experience of fortune telling tarot astrology psychics palmists

Experience of fortune telling, Tarot, astrology, psychics, palmists


Australian gen y like britain

Australian Gen Y – like Britain?

Rationalist humanist

Non believing 14%

Moral relativism, pick ‘n’ mix, truth in all religions but not just one, something ‘out there’ occult and paranormal experienced

BUT open rather than committed or seeing as important

Includes neo pagans and followers or frequent participants in the esoteric/occult

growing

shrinking

‘new spiritual’ 23%

Religious 17%


Japan britain

Japan Britain


Consumer christianity

Consumer Christianity?


Consumer christianity1

Consumer Christianity?

  • God the cosmic therapist?

  • Cruise liner – or Battleship?

    John Wimber

  • Church shopping?

    • Looking for what I get out of it

    • Looking for the one that does things my way

  • Buying religious product?

    • Baptisms & weddings

    • Rosaries

    • Retreats

    • Christmas Carols


I am the way the truth and the life

I am the way the truth and the life

  • John 14:1-17 in today’s culture.

  • Parallels with John 1 – I AM – Jesus as the expression of God’s Character as Grace and Truth

  • The Way the Truth and the Life all expressions of Jesus Character rather than doctrines about him

  • But none of that changes the reality that he is the expression of God in the way and not a way, a truth and a life but The way, The truth and The life

  • Modern pluralism does not affirm different faiths.

  • Assuming that God is at work in all but all need Christ whilst admitting we can’t know we haven’t got this wrong is the way of grace and truth


Who are on the way

Who are on the way?

Bounded set ? Or..


Who are on the way1

Who are on the way?

Bounded set ? Or…….Centred Set?


Who are on the way2

Who are on the way?

Bounded set ? Or…….Centred Set?


Religion in post modernity

Religion in post-modernity

  • Religion expresses the issues facing culture (Strauss, Durkheim)

  • Religion as expression of consumer choice

    • New Age? Prosperity Gospel? Spirituality?

  • Religion as celebration of ontological violence

    • New Atheism vs. fundamentalism?

  • Religion as an answer to the problem of unity and diversity

    • Contemporary Paganism? Gaia?


Lessons for sharing faith

Lessons for sharing faith

  • People increasingly come to faith through experience rather than changing thinking

  • People want to grow spiritually and will take support in this seriously

  • Sharing faith is welcomed. Telling others what they share is wrong simply closes the conversation

  • People aren’t interested if Christianity is true but if it is inspiring and life changing

  • with the internet everything is public be consistent

  • We need to know how we will handle issues of gender, the environment, evil, other-faiths

  • Avoid Christian language like sin, salvation, redemption etc people don’t understand it or misunderstand it – but we still need to talk about them but with different words

  • We need to live as if what we say really does work

  • Remember God transforms people not Christians


A religionless evangelism is

A Religionless Evangelism is?…..

  • Not getting people to Church ………………..….……..

    but getting people to be Church

  • Not taking God to people …………………………………

    but seeing what he is already doing in their lives

  • Not first about getting people into heaven ……………

    but getting heaven into people

  • Not saving people from the world ..…………………..

    but allowing God to transform them

    as part of a plan to transform the world also

    Your Kingdom come your will be done

    on earth as it is in heaven


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