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Faith Meets Culture. McKnight Lectures 2010. Being the Church. Thesis: Though despised on the whole from without and even within, the Church/church is God’s powerful secret weapon to change the world (1 Co. 10:1-6; Ep. 3:9, 10, 20).

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Faith meets culture

Faith Meets Culture

McKnight Lectures

2010


Being the church
Being the Church

  • Thesis: Though despised on the whole from without and even within, the Church/church is God’s powerful secret weapon to change the world (1 Co. 10:1-6; Ep. 3:9, 10, 20).

  • Implication: Christians must build the church (the local organization) and be the Church (the organism in all of life) (Ac. 2:42-47; 1 Pt. 2:4-12).


How is culture changed

How is Culture Changed?

Individuals or Institutions?


Individuals
Individuals

Evangelism, Political Action, Social Action


Evangelism
Evangelism

Bill Bright

“Fast and pray for spiritual revival throughout America and the world. . . .We can help change the world by introducing people to Jesus Christ” (10).


Political action
Political Action

James Dobson

“The side that wins gains the right to teach what it believes to its children. And if you can do that, you write the curricula, you tell them what to believe and you model what you want them to understand and in one generation you change the whole culture” (13)


Social reform
Social Reform

Charles Colson

“Transformed people transform cultures”


Does evangelism alone change culture
Does evangelism (alone) change culture?

  • While 86 to 88% of American population adhere to some faith, the major institutions of our culture (business, law, government, academics, entertainment) are “intensely secular and materialistic.”

  • Traditional religious adherents give more, attend church more, and get involved in more religious activities but influence has steadily declined over past 175 years.


Is a political and social majority necessary for cultural change
Is a political and social majority necessary for cultural change?

  • Jews have had oversized influence on art, science, economics while only 3.5% of population. While only 3% of population gay community has exercised unabated influence in politics, social advocacy and media.

  • Evolution: 83% of all Americans take a providentialist view of origins.

  • Abortion: Over 50% believe that abortion should only be legal in a few circumstances.


Institutions
Institutions change?

Cultural change occurs from the top down when resourceful patrons (financial and political) sponsor dense networks of intellectuals and educators who inspire artists, poets, musicians and institutions to define a new culture.


Historical examples
Historical Examples change?

Early Church, Early Europe, Middle Ages, Reformation, Awakenings


Early church
Early Church change?

Early Christianity exercised an oversized influence on the Roman world through the conversion of aristocrats and political influential.


Influential in early church
Influential in Early Church change?

  • Aristobulus: grandson of Herod and friend of Claudius (Ro. 16:3-16).

  • Eusebius: lists Xns in places of power.

  • Philip the Arabian (244-49): first Xn emperor

  • Diocletian’s wife and daughter


Networks in early church
Networks in Early Church change?

  • Justin Martyr, Tertullian, Jerome, Athanasius, Gregory of Nyssa, Ambrose of Milan, Augustine

  • Christian philosophers who were part of the nobility could speak their minds freely to nobility and fellow educators.


Institutions in early church
Institutions in Early Church change?

  • Christian philosophers changed minds of politically powerful and changed course of paideia(Roman educational system) which resulted in cultural consensus by 300s.

  • Became dominant politically. Care for poor and disenfranchised (e.g. fatherless children) was distinguishing mark of Christian society.


Early europe
Early Europe change?

“Barbarians”/”Dark Ages”

Fourth-Thirteenth Centuries


Influential in early europe
Influential in Early Europe change?

  • Patrick, Columba, Columbanus, Boniface, Pirmin, Willibrord, Wilfrid, Aiden, Amandus, Vladimir


Networks in early europe
Networks in Early Europe change?

  • Monasteries: centers for learning on every topic, repositories of publications and culture, outposts for evangelization (particularly of politically and financially powerful).


Institutions in early europe
Institutions in Early Europe change?

  • Barbarian kings propagated Christianization of culture (built churches, monasteries, schools, libraries, helped the poor).

  • Clovis (king of the Franks); Ethelbert (Kent); Edwin (Northumbria), Stephen (Hungary), Sigebert (Essex), Boris (Bulgaria); Peada (Mercia), Vladimir (Kiev), Herald (Danes), Olaf (Norway), James (Sweden)

  • Sponsored relief of the poor


Reformation
Reformation change?

Fourteenth to Seventeenth Centuries


Influential of reformation
Influential of Reformation change?

  • Growing cities produced wealthy merchants

  • Zurich, Geneva, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Antwerp, Ghent, Strasbourg, Nuremberg, Augsburg, Cologne


Networks of reformation
Networks of Reformation change?

  • Luther: von Staupitz, Capito, Melanchthon, Dore

  • Calvin: Farel, Beza, Knox

  • Cranmer: Knox, Vermigli, Ochino


Institutions of the reformation
Institutions of the Reformation change?

  • Universities and academies: Geneva, Leiden, Oxford, Cambridge

  • Political states: France, Geneva, Holland, England

  • Commerce and free enterprise

  • Mercy ministries to poor and ill


Awakenings
Awakenings change?

Eighteenth to Twentieth Centuries


Influential of the awakenings
Influential of the Awakenings change?

  • Great Awakening: Wesleys and Whitefield (Oxford); Erskine and Gillespie (Edinburgh); Edwards, Brainerd, Parsons (Yale); Prince, Sr., Colman, Pemberton (Harvard).

  • Social Reform: Wilberforce, Venn, Clarkson, Simeon (Cambridge); Shore, Teignmouth (aristocracy); Thornton (business elite); Hannah More (literary elite); Pitt (government).


Networks of the awakenings
Networks of the Awakenings change?

  • Whitefield’s communications network

  • Clapham Circle

  • Underground Railroad


Institutions of the awakenings
Institutions of the Awakenings change?

  • Churches: 150 Congregational churches alone between (1740-1760); 25-50,000 converts (3-20% of population).

  • Princeton

  • Georgia Orphan House (Bethesda)


Faithful presence

Faithful Presence change?

The doctrine and practice of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ is the only answer for” dissolution” and “difference”


Without an incarnate christ
Without an Incarnate Christ. . . change?

  • Culture dissolves: trustworthiness of relationship between words and world (e.g. revisionism, deconstruction, political correctness, political speech)

  • Culture disintegrates into differences: e.g. racism, multi-culturalism, political parties, rich and poor.


With an incarnate christ
With an Incarnate Christ. . . change?

  • Truth, learning, communication possible: “Truth came through Jesus Christ” (Jn. 1:17)

  • Relationships made possible among different: “Destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of separation” (Ep. 2:14).


What do we do

In the power of the Spirit, after the example of Christ, and with a willingness to suffer we must practice FAITHFUL PRESENCE as

Individuals

Networks

Within Institutions (existing and new)

What do we do?


Individuals1
Individuals and with a willingness to suffer we must practice FAITHFUL PRESENCE as

  • To each other

    • Christians (Ro. 15:1-3)

    • Non-Christians (He. 13:1-3)

  • To our tasks

    • Cultural mandate (Ge. 2:15-18)

    • Calling/vocation (Co. 3:22-24)

  • Within spheres of influence (1 Pt. 2:17)


Networks
Networks and with a willingness to suffer we must practice FAITHFUL PRESENCE as

  • Presbyterian Church in America

  • Gospel Coalition

  • CMDA; CO/MCO

  • Christian Legal Society; International Justice Mission

  • Redeemer/South Africa/WSA

  • Christians in the Visual Arts


Institutions1

Institutions and with a willingness to suffer we must practice FAITHFUL PRESENCE as

First Presbyterian Church and Beyond


First presbyterian church
First Presbyterian Church and with a willingness to suffer we must practice FAITHFUL PRESENCE as

Restoring People and Rebuilding Places through the Gospel of Jesus Christ


Restoring people
Restoring People and with a willingness to suffer we must practice FAITHFUL PRESENCE as

  • Do Church (Acts 2:42-47)

    • Worship: Preaching, Sacraments

    • Work: Teaching, Mercy, Discipline

    • Witness: Evangelism, Community Development, Cultural Transformation

  • Be Church (1 Peter)

    • Cultural Mandate (Ge. 2:9,10)

    • Calling/Vocation (Co. 3:19)


Rebuilding places
Rebuilding Places and with a willingness to suffer we must practice FAITHFUL PRESENCE as

Do church

  • Places for worship, work, and witness

    Be Church

  • Places for human flourishing:

    • Housing (justice for poor, dignity for handicapped)

    • Respite for hungry

    • Restoration through recreation


Global and lifelong strategy
Global and Lifelong Strategy and with a willingness to suffer we must practice FAITHFUL PRESENCE as


A great commission
A Great Commission and with a willingness to suffer we must practice FAITHFUL PRESENCE as

Locally:

  • Harness wealth for strategic purposes

  • Leverage social capital for kingdom initiatives

  • Continue WSA’smissional focus

  • Network with peers to do vocation according to Kingdom values

  • Influence MCG at highest levels

  • Influence ASU at highest levels

  • Set standard for arts

  • Eliminate social ills: abortion, poverty, sex trade, hunger, homelessness


A great commission1
A Great Commission and with a willingness to suffer we must practice FAITHFUL PRESENCE as

Send “missionaries” into upper tiers of cultural matrix

  • Nationally: plant churches in key cities, urge youth to pursue upper tier vocations

  • Internationally: plant churches and schools in key world cities


Conclusion
Conclusion and with a willingness to suffer we must practice FAITHFUL PRESENCE as

“This, I would insist, is not a cheap pietism. The fact is that Christ’s victory over the principalities and powers was a victory over the power of oppressive institutions—the sense that reality is what it is, that all is as it should be, that the ways of the world are established and cannot be changed; that the rules by which the world operates are ones we must accept and not challenge. We are not bound by the ‘necessities’ of history and society but are free from them. He broke their sovereignty and, as a result, all things are possible. It is this reality that frees all Christians to actively, creatively, and constructively seek the good in their relationships, in their tasks, in their spheres of influence and in their cities.”

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