Thursday, June 18, 2015

Os Guiness - Power of the Gospel

When I first became a Christian back in the early 1970s, everyone in my circle was reading a book called The Dust of Death by Os Guiness. I remember him coming to speak in Christchurch. He was born in China to missionary parents. Having spent time at L’Abri in Switzerlands with Francis and Edith Schaffer, but was emerging as a serious cultural critic. Being English, I suspect he was more influential in Europe, than in the United States.

A few months ago, I read Renaissance: The Power of the Gospel However Dark the Times by Os Guiness. His hair is getting white now, but I have always found his writing insightful, even though I do not always agree with. I have been meaning to right a review of renaissance, but other things have squeezed it out.

Last week I listened to him giving a talk with the same name at the Acton Institute. This video gives a great summary of many of the ideas that he covered in the book. It is a worth a listen if you do to want to grapple with is book. The following posts are the notes I took while listening to his message.

Challenges for the Western Church
The modern western church has faces three challenges.

  1. Supporting the church in the Global South
    The Global South is pre modern, but is coming into modernism. This is a big challenge for the church
    Their evangelism has outstripped their disciple
    Christians in china survived brutal persecution, but more fall away when they move to modern urban areas.

  2. Win back the Western World
    This has been done twice before. Rome and then out the dark ages.
    We need to do it a third time.

  3. Contribute to human future
    In the face of multiple global challenges

Culture is a way of life lived in a common way. eg the way of Jesus is a culture

Civilisation is a culture that is with significant extension, duration and elevation.

The gospel was influential the development of western civilisation. eg “Gentling” of the barbarians

Western civilisation is a cut flower civilisation, it will not last.

Without the heart of the gospel, the west may remain as a great power, but not a civilisation.

Listen to Power of the Gospel however Dark the Times

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