Friday, June 19, 2015

POG (2)

Last week I listened to Os Guinness giving a talk called The Power of the Gospel However Dark the Times at the Acton Institute. This video gives a great summary of many of the ideas that he covered in the book by the same name. It is a worth a listen. Here are some more notes I took while listening to his message.

What is the Explanation of the Power of the Gospel in Culture

CS Lewis says that the gospel is world affirming and denying at the same time.

Augustine, says we are living in the city of God in the midst of the city of man,
but not dependent on the city of man.

We are in the world, but not of it.

Not conformed, but transformed.

There have been two extremes in history

Worldly or isolated (retreat)
Three things are essential

  • Engagement is essential

  • Discernment

    American church is good at discerning ideas (can smell a heresy from a mile off)

    but not at discerning culture.

    However culture is more seductive than ideas.

    Evangelicals understand secularism and relativism, but not consumerism and fragmentation, which are far more dangerous.

    Evangelicals are attuned to bad ideas, but blind to cultural distortions.

    The American church is worldly. It is shaped far more by American culture than the gospel at many points, not in terms of ideas, but in terms of culture.

  • Courage

    Christians consensus is gone.

    We need people to call the truth about evil, and say no.
We need to create a tension with culture that is culture changing.


Anonymous said...

Amen. I find that American culture heavily emphasizes force, quick results, noise, flamboyant display, and permanent immaturity, at the expense of peacefulness, patience, endurance, humility, and mature wisdom. Evangelicals, rather than critiquing the culture, generally support and try to have a "Christian" version of it, with the exception of certain sexual elements. I have pretty well stopped going to church, because it just looks and feels and sounds like a "Christian" version of everything I'm wishing I could get away from during the week. The waning political power of the Christian Right might prove to be a blessing; perhaps American Christians will begin learning how to function as an authentic faith community instead of trying to use the power structure and entertainment industry to create and sustain an evangelical-friendly nation-state.

Ron McK said...

Good response. It is is interesting that when musical instruments came into the church, they were put at the back of the building so that people could focus on God.

Now we have musicians and singers, with their instruments and light shows at the front, or worse still, displayed on a big screen. The model they seem to be copying is the rock concert.

The direction of influence seems to be the wrong way round.

Anonymous said...

Exactly. Worship is an excellent example of the triumph of culture over ideas. American evangelicals wax nostalgic about the Good Old Days and abominate the '60s, but most evangelical worship is derived from post-60s pop culture. People who talk like John Calvin and worship like John Lennon are confused.