Friday, April 11, 2014

Our Christian Witness: To Be Missiological or Relevant?

For two thousand years faithful Christians have been rather adept at penetrating and impacting a myriad of cultures globally - learning how to transcend language, custom and social mores values; while at the same time keeping their foundational biblical and theological moorings. 

Clearly, there have been some bumps, bruise and tragic abuses... but overall, the Church experienced tremendous success in advancing the Kingdom of God with it's primary emphasis on the Centrality of Christ on the Cross, and then secondarily being Christ's love to others, in their need, while in this world. 

I am quite sure that Christians endured tremendous pressure throughout history to conform, in order to be relevant. It was certainly true for the believers in Galatia, when it came to the Judaizers. It was true in Colossae with the pressure that came from those "Belivers" who worshipped Angels and participated in mystery religions (See Hebrews on this as well). To say nothing of how Jesus was expected to conform to the Tradition of the Elders (Later known as the Mishnah), over, and even against the Mosaic Law... which is why He was ultimately killed by them, on the charge of blaspheme. But He would not surrender, nor should we... 

The pressure by the world, and even fellow believers, for traditionally "conservative" Christians to conform falls under the adage: "There is nothing new under the sun." 

Today, many in the church have traded a "missiological approach" for appears to be a "relevant position." 

"Missiological Christianity" means taking the core Truths of the Christian faith, and faithfully learn how "in Christ" to make them living and accessible to the surrounding culture, through orthodox teaching and benevolent living. These people tend to stand UNDER the scriptures. 

"Relevant Christianity" is asking the surrounding culture their advice and permission, apologizing on behalf of Christ, about what Truth's they will accept about the faith, and the best way that it can made available without the danger of offending anyone... These people tend to stand OVER, or at best BESIDE the scriptures... 

I get both... To some degree I participated in both... Higher Education can do that to you... But upon reflection and more life experience... I'll take the missiological approach...

Evil, Wanting to Be Like God, Big Government and Totalitarianism

A fascinating article (see link below) that grimly illustrates what happens when humanity unwittingly cooperates with the demoniacs from Hell...

More specifically, these are the kinds of horrors that people ultimately do, when both the individual and society blatantly embrace a kind of Greek anthropocentrism I.e. man is the measure of all things..." Or sincere
Secular Humanism, Or even hyper-humanism I.e. Nietzscheanism.*

These kinds of things are always a possibility, and even probable, when we covet the same thing that Satan hungered for "...In the pride of your heart you say, “I am a god..." (Ezk 28:3); and what he tempted and convinced convinced Adam and Eve to covet as well... " will be like God..." (Gen3:5).

Human horrors are inexorably visited upon fellow humans, when the philosophical "starting points" are self-serving and self-aggrandizing... And that is exactly what Humanism does...

Worldview Starting points such as:

1. Who are we?
- An autonomous and highest material form of life...

3. What is wrong?
- (Exclusively) Lack of education, opportunity and equality...

4. How do we fix it?
A. Centralization of power through Big to Totalitarian forms of government, and B. Willing naïveté and acceptance of Humanist Pan-Unipolarism**

Different terms, same results from time in memorial... There is nothing new under the sun here...

Who among us handles power well, and virtual absolute power with integrity? And even if there is that rare person(s) who does, what guarantee is there, that their successor will be as careful, altruistic or benevolent?

Are there the seemingly sincere "Snowballs"***out there? Sure! But as the 20th Century has demonstrated so clearly, it was the "Napoleans,"*** who controlled their day, as evidenced by the mute testimony of 160 plus million civilians who horribly perished on behalf of their sincere ideology, replete with the raw power by which to institute it...

If you start with humanity as being the "highest good," then "you can only get what humanity has got..." When you start with God as the Highest Good," then you can get all that He wants to give ...

The only possibility, that we ultimately have at being good for ourselves, is when we utterly, desperately and lovingly, depend on God being good for us...

"You have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless, until they can find rest in you.” Augustine - Confessions

* Nietzscheanism, as manifested in the Ubermenche (I.e. New Man - Superman).

** Institutional insistence that all people, at all times, and in all places - who must think, believe and act in the same macro-kinds of ways...

*** See George Orwell's "Animal Farm." An Allegory on Socialist Political Philosophy, particularly Communism in the former Soviet Union.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Encouraging Thoughts On Justice and Grace During Lent:

There are those who actually believe,
That because of the greatness of their sin,
As measured by a human perspective of “Justice,”
That they are irretrievably, beyond the Grace of God.
There are those who actually believe
That despite the greatness of their sin
As measured by a human perspective of “Grace,”
That they are permanently beyond the “Justice” of God.
The truth is:
It is impossible to out-sin God’s Grace
It is impossible for God’s Justice not to be satisfied.
So: God’s Justice, is Satisfied, Completely, By God’s Grace, In Christ.
To Believe Our Sin Is Greater Than God’s Grace
Diminishes The Sacrifice of Christ
To Believe Our Sin Is Irrelevant To God’s Justice
Mocks The Sacrifice of Christ.
What makes anything possible is,
Jesus Christ, Son of God, The Perfect Sacrifice,
Punished On The Cross and Cut Off From The Father,
As Atonement For Our Sin, For All Humankind.
Therefore, We Are Called By Christ,
To Not Only Be Saved From Fleshly Depravity and Brokenness
But To Be Holy as He is Holy as Well.
But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him.
2 Corinthians 2:14

Monday, April 7, 2014

Sovereignty and Free Will

The fact that humankind 
can have complete and utter free will 
over the all affairs of their everyday lives, 
and that God will 
still accomplish exactly 
His ultimate plan and purpose, 
says MORE about God's sovereignty, 
not less... 

Which is why 
one of the most absurd things 
that Christians say in relationship to their everyday lives is: 
"God is in (micro-managing) control." 

If however, that is the precious and prevailing belief among believers, 
then we ultimately have no rational explanation for theodicy,***
and ultimately no inclination 
for the necessity of personal responsibility, 
in resisting and fighting of Evil.

We may be unwittingly abdicating Christ-likeness...

But I am afraid this is exactly where most of us are...

* The philosophical argument that argues if there is a good and all powerful God, why is there evil in the world?

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Church:,Missiological versus Relevant

The watershed event for the Church, 
After we had entered into a "Post-Christian" Culture, 
Occurred when we crossed over 
from the exercise of "missiological" 
to the practice of "relevant," 
in our ministry praxis.

That transition took less than 25 years.