Sunday, September 25, 2005

The Sensitive Gospel?

Postmodernity: the biggest buzzword heard around here these days. The questioning of the existence of absolutes, the loss of faith in production and modernity, the desire for the experiential. So, the Church likewise responds to the times. Seeker "sensitive" services, "conversational" apologetics, Opening the hearts of the people by meeting felt needs, never offending, never forcing religion down one's throat. I mean, I guess I can't say these things are bad, they are the natural approaches that the Church must conform to in order to be relevant to the world today.

But here's the thing: has there ever been an era in human history which did not resist true Christianity? In what sort of religious milleiu did the Church begin? I'm not a Church historian, but from my understanding, first century Roman empire and today's postmodernity had at least a few things in common. One thing is that the Romans governed territories which held many different beliefs, which could be inferred, that they wanted to keep the peace in a religious sense - everyone can have their own beliefs, just keep it to yourself. Secondly, I think the Roman empire wasn't very fond of Christianity in its early days. It was a religion that was highly suspect, a disease among the people. And so in this sort of "postmodern Roman empire", what do we see the Church doing?

I see people like Paul preaching and debating fiercely with the people in synagogues, on the street, in public squares. I see apostles who appeared before Kings and proclaiming the Gospel, not doing friendship evangelism. How "insensitive" of them! I see a Church who was aggressive in engaging with their culture and environment and did not blend in and compromise their convictions in order to be "relevant" with the world, or to potentially gain more converts. They were being the Church and the world and was not loving anything of the world, not even the culture, and the world was certainly changing. So have things really changed that much since then? Maybe we might be a little more effective if we began smearing our faces red with war paint instead of looking and thinking like everyone else. Jesus loved the world enough to incarnate himself into it, but he loved it too much to keep it the same

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