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Theology of World Missions - Lesson 17

Isolationists vs. Secularists

The Gospel is a message that addresses sin in the lives of individuals and transforms society in areas like justice and charity.

Peter Kuzmič
Theology of World Missions
Lesson 17
Watching Now
Isolationists vs. Secularists

Isolationists vs. Secularists

 

1. Four models explaining the relationship between the Church and the world

A. The Church that is separate from the world

B. The Church controls the world

C. The Church is a servant of the world

D. The Church and the world are in creative tension

2. Relationship between evangelism and social responsibility


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Transcript
  • Dr. Kuzmic provides a framework for the class based on 6 specific statements about a theology of missions. Our theology determines our worldview. We must live as citizens of two kingdoms. We need a theologically grounded missiology and a missiological focused theology.

  • Dr. Kuzmic talks about how God saved him and about his cultural background in Eastern Europe.

  • Developing your spirituality and practicing prayer are important elements in achieving a well-balanced theology. The Creator of heaven and earth is Lord of the nations. God promised to bless the whole world through Abraham. Throughout history, different people have applied that promise as a right of privilege for themselves rather than a call to service to others. God calls people, then sends them.

  • The book of Psalms is one of the greatest missionary books in the world. Isaiah's description of Messianic fulfillment at the end of history is a reminder of the role of Messianic people within history, similar to the "already but not yet" of the "kingdom of God" in the New Testament. Quiz questions are included at the end to clarify what Dr. Kuzmic thinks are the important points and because he includes some commentary on central issues of missions.

  • Professor Doug Birdsall first discusses the work of the Church in Asia. He then talks about 3 aspects of missions work: 1. Forming partnerships, 2. Sending churches, 3. Funding. One of the fastest growing groups of the Church in China is composed of urban intellectuals. In India, Mongolia, Nepal and Cambodia, in addition to China, there are great opportunities as well as challenges.

  • Doug Birdsall continues by describing how to establish cross-cultural partnerships. Some of the most important considerations are determining what the needs are, selecting national leaders wisely, and planning for the national leaders to take complete control at some point.

  • 80-2000 project The scope of the Great Commission includes both the nation of Israel and the whole world. Matthew chapters 9 and 10 describe people as lost (sheep without a shepherd) and valuable (the harvest is plentiful). Jesus saw and had compassion. The heart of missions is seeing people the way Jesus sees them and loving them the way Jesus loves them.

  • Discussion of the meaning and application of this key passage of Scripture.

  • Joanne Harding about the AIDs crisis in Africa. It is a tragedy and a major challenge for world missions. A panel of experienced missionaries discusses the calling to be a missionary and practical ways to prepare to be a missionary.

  • Dr David Hilborn, Head of Theology Evangelical Alliance in the UK, discusses the theological framework of universalism, its historical development and the impact that it has on missions.

  • The political and religious climate in Yugoslavia creates unique challenges for people who are preaching the gospel there.

  • Dr. Timothy Tennent points out that the spread of vibrant Christianity in areas of the world besides the west, and the clash of Christianity with major world religions outline the framework for the focus of world missions.

  • Dr. Timothy Tennent shows how Christianity compares to other world religions by citing case studies of discussions with individuals of Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam. Evangelicals must engage more seriously and more profoundly in the thought world of other religions.

  • What does Christ have to do with culture and what does the Church have to do with the world? Isolationists separate themselves and cannot have a significant impact on the world around them. Secularists identify with the world by compromising core beliefs to match the culture and don't have an impact because they are no different from the people around them. The Church often evangelizes from a distance instead of entering into the lives of people.

  • People will often respond more positively to the Gospel if you first find common ground in practical areas and use culture as a bridge for the Gospel into the world. The Gospel has to be forwarded to a new address for every generation.

  • Chuck Davis from Africa Inland Mission describes mission work in Africa and his personal experiences in Congo, Chad and other African countries.

  • The Gospel is a message that addresses sin in the lives of individuals and transforms society in areas like justice and charity.

  • World missions is a fundamental theme throughout the Bible. The book "Christ and Culture" proposes four models to explain the relationship between the Church and the world. Some people emphasize scriptures that focus on evangelism and others emphasize scriptures that teach the importance of meeting peoples' physical needs.

    Note: The David Bosch Grid and Hans Kung Paradigm chart may be posted in the future but are not available at this time.

  • The Lausanne Conference on World Evangelism provided a forum for Christian leaders from different countries and denominations to establish some common goals and principles for communicating the Gospel and caring for people all over the world.

    Note: The David Bosch Grid and Hans Kung Paradigm chart may be posted in the future but is not available at this time.

Dr. Kuzmič provides a framework for a theology of world missions based on a biblical worldview. We must live as citizens of two kingdoms. Our missiology needs to be theologically grounded, and our theology, missiologically focused. The documents that were written by delegates at the Lausanne Conference on World Missions have had a significant influence in defining and encouraging the practical application of a biblical view of world missions.

Dr. Peter Kuzmič
Theology of World Missions
wm602-17
Isolationists vs. Secularists
Lesson Transcript

 

While we are not leaving Africa and yet we are, we will look at some of the universal challenges continue where we stopped two weeks ago, and that is to study or to look at the relationship between the church and the world. The church is God's redemptive community send into the world, which is God's. You could call it redemptive mission field. And it is there that we have the encounter of Christ in culture, theology and ideology, peace and violence, and on and on. We have been explaining some of that stuff, and I don't think we need to rehash that. I just want to take this a step further. The church's relation to the world. One of the somebodies that is used very often would be to look at these four models. In a few moments I'll share with you how age Richard Niebuhr in his classic book, Christ in Culture Does It. But here are four models on the church's relation to the world in a much broader spectrum of options, because the relationship is rather complex. We are trying to simplify things somewhat to make them more manageable. You will recall that I referred last time to the high priestly prayer of Jesus in John 17. There you have the Johan Nine version of the Great Commission where he says that he is sending them into the world. But he says just a few verses earlier in John 17 and his prior to the father that they are not of the world. He says you have given them to me, they are not of the world. And yet at the same time they are in the world. John 1711 And so the Johann nine Great Commission, John 1718 is the climax of the prayer of Jesus.

 

He sends them into the world. And John, not only in the Gospel but also in the Epistles, you have this preoccupation with the world, the relationship of the church to the world. It is there that you will find that warning. First, John 215 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. Very interestingly, the Apostle Paul sums up this attitude of the dangerous world in the statement in First Corinthians 319. The wisdom of this world, the wisdom of the world is foolishness with God. And yet it is this world. The foolish, the lost, the confused, the conflictive world that is our mission field and the church and the community of the redeemed does not live in a vacuum, but always in the world, in a concrete culture and socio political system. And that's why it is so important that I I'm repeating here something that I have stated at the very beginning of this class that the Christian Faith and Christian Mission is a continuous two way journey between the world and the world. The text where we have the mandate, where we have the message and the context, which is the location, cultural, political, physical location in which we both live and proclaim the word. And we have put an emphasis that we don't do it from a safe distance. And as we have heard in this excellent case study from Africa, evangelism does not take place in antiseptic conditions that are dangerous places. They are places of pain and suffering in places of violence, places where your very existence and of course, your mission at best severely question and at worst brutally persecuted and opposed. But these are the realities now in this way of summarizing the models, we are speaking about the first one as the church that is separate from the world, those who hold and practice this view.

 

And last time I called it isolationist, remember we talked about isolationist, extreme and the secularist or accommodationist extreme. If you look at your notes, okay, so we are just expanding this a little further. So these would be the isolationist separatists or isolationist. And I mentioned monastic communities fleeing the world, very often at the heart of the people who take this approach, fleeing the world, not loving the world, but separating yourself from the world, the people and the communities who create Christian counter-culture. This is a traditional position of some of the Anabaptist and Mennonite groups in this country. And in Canada you have the Amish and the Hutterites Any of you encountered Hutterites I know that as a tourist you've probably gone to the Amish communities, but have you encountered Hutterites? There are significant Christian subcultures and communities that are called Hutterite communities. Most of these belong to the Peace churches. This is one of the reasons they have withdrawn themselves. They are persecuted and they are like they came to. In Congo came Bangui stock in Bangui. From the Prophet Simon came bango this enormous movement. 7 million people they because they were pacifists. So if you are a pacifist, you are afraid of the government because the government wants to recruit your young men or all men to use them as soldiers. And so you withdraw, you create a separate subculture. So most of these groups are pacifists, including the Anabaptists, Mennonites, Amish and Hutterites that I have mentioned that you encounter in this country alternate communities where they feel they are free to exhibit and to show what they think is the kingdom lifestyle. Now the church controls the world. You have all by now very carefully studied David Bosch, right. That reminds you of which paradigm the church trying to control the world.

 

Medieval. Yes. The Catholic, where you have the pope who had the power even over the Caesar. You will remember that the early church was a persecuted church. Very often the early church was separate from the world, except that they evangelized the world. And so you have the combination of the first and the fourth in the early church. But from 313, the when you have the Emperor Constantine's conversion or conversion in quotation marks, depending how you view that, you have the beginnings of the medieval papacy in many ways controlling the secular affairs. The persecuted church becomes the privileged church. This is called Constantine ism. As you will recall from your reading until recently, in some Latin American countries, you had this kind of model of the church controlling the world where the bishops, the archbishops were so powerful that the army generals and the dictators always went for their blessing and had a kind of a spiritual coverage for what they were doing. This position holds that you legislate. You impose upon the public life the values of the kingdom of God. Now, from Saint Augustine on, Saint Augustine doesn't go that far, but you have the seed in his dead city that the day you have the seed of the church perceiving itself to be not only an extension of the kingdom, not only an expression of the kingdom, but very often even identifying itself with the kingdom, with the Kingdom of God. And so the Church, with its powerful medieval structure, especially in the Holy Roman Empire, controls not only the sacred but also the secular realm, and where the church is thus, so, so powerful, the church will attempt to have certain values of the kingdom as they perceive to be legislated in the kingdom of the world through their influence on the government of the world.

 

Now, the third model, where the church is perceived as a servant of the world, we could say a lot here. We don't have time. But I would like to give you as an example here, or do you have an example You have already read the contemporary. What would be an expression of this? The church as a servant of the world, not the church as a servant of Christ in the world, but the church as a servant of the world. A community that serves the world. What? Contemporary theology? Yes, John. Would there be elements of its in the Orthodox Church? Yes, but that is really the compromised position under the totalitarian rule. In the Orthodox, you have the symphony of church and state. But yes, there are elements. You have put a reservation in there in your own in your own question. Definitely. But that's not what I have in mind. Yes. That be below the lines of liberation theology of liberation is the best known contemporary example, because theology of liberation holds that the church takes its agenda for action from the concerns of the world. And so the church participates in movements of liberation, in movements that humanize the world, that humanize the largest numbers of individuals and their communities. And so this position holds that signs of the kingdom can be seen in secular sociopolitical movements. The World Council of Churches, since its General Assembly held in Uppsala, Sweden in 1968, identified political liberation with salvation and took its mandate not from the Word of God but from the needs of the world. Saw the Church not as commissioned by God to transform the world, but the church challenged by the world to change that world. Of course, still somewhat spiritually motivated. The problem here is, of course, hermeneutical, because if you read scriptures selectively, you pick up only a few motifs like the Exodus motif and so on, and you basically reduce salvation to socio political engagement and liberation of humanity.

 

Now what you are noticing as you've read David Bach, even when you read, start at the beginning. Both of these authors, although they differ somewhat in their positions, would tell you that none of the options of those three options is totally wrong. Okay. Each one captures an important facet of the truth, an important facet of the very complex relationship of the church to the world. The problem is, or the task is finding a balance, spelling out priorities and basing your engagement of the world on a full fledged biblical theology rather than on a partial understanding of scriptures or on a purely horizontal understanding of God's activity in the world. So this may express it the best. The church and the world are in creative tension. There is animosity. I've mentioned that already last time. There are areas of strong animosity. There are areas of overlap. There is something that all humans share. We always look for the common ground. You do that when you do personal evangelism and you witness to somebody you are not starting for from the point of animosity and say, Hey, you are black and I'm white. Let's look at our differences. You will look at commonalities. The same principle applies in the churches encounter with the world or the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of this world encountering and intersecting. When it comes to culture, I would highly recommend the Willowbank report that I recommend that Willowbank report are regarded as gospel and culture. The Willowbank Report. It is one of the Alps. The Alps stand for Lausanne, occasional papers, Lausanne occasional papers. An enormous treasure of documents. Lausanne occasional papers allow peace, and there are over 20 now published. You can go to the web and you will find many of those published.

 

There is one that we will be referring to later on the relationship between evangelism and social responsibility. And David Bach covers it quite well. So I will not go into repeating what he says in the book. But there is also the Willowbank report to which he briefly refers. So the start that is the best statement that I know on the relationship between Christianity and culture, and it is an evangelical statement. And by the way, all the papers that were read at this consultation in Willowbank, that's how it got its name. All these papers have been published in two books. One is entitled Gospel and Culture, published by William Carey Library. And then there is another one Down to Earth, which publishes all the paper from the Willowbank consultation on gospel and culture down to Earth. I cannot recall the subtitle now, but it is called and Stopped at the Editors. This is published by either Erdman or Baker. Excellent collection. It may be out of print, but that's where you go to Amazon and. And roam around in secondhand bookstores. Very, very valuable collection of papers. But at least get the report. Okay. Now the church and a world in creative tension. Why is there a creative tension? Well, first of all, they have to encounter each other. The church must go into the world. The church lives in the world. It is not worldly. It's not supposed to be worldly in many places, especially this country. The church has accommodated to the prevailing secular culture. To such extent, it has become worldly. Very often it's not even recognizable as the holy community of those who follow Jesus as their Savior and Lord. The church lives in the world, but is not of the world.

 

The church goes into the world with the message of redemption. The church cannot remain aloof. It cannot proclaim from a distance. It's simply so because Jesus commanded us to do so, to go into all the world. So the church going into the world cannot control the world. That is not what is mentioned. That is not what is mandated in the Scriptures. That was a medieval deviation. That was an abuse of spiritual authority and abuse, also of secular authority. So we do not have a mandate to legislate or to force. This is the debate in this country. For example, the Moral Majority would like certain biblical principles to be put into legislation of this country claiming that this country was built on Judeo Christian foundations. That's why it became such a city on the Hill, such a great, successful, blessed country. The Manifest Destiny doctrine, of course, takes this even further. That is a problem in a pluralist society, and the church cannot do it. Individual Christians and Christian communities as citizens do it. Okay. And one has to differentiate that although you cannot draw a sharp. Blaine One of the reasons I am not in politics and have returned to gun control is that many of the old saints in Eastern Europe pleaded with me three weeks ago saying, please don't go into politics. Politics are dirty. One of them, who has suffered a lot than I just, you know, had tears in his eyes. He said, Peter, we know you as a man of God. You will lose that recognition because piety and politics and you've got that expression elsewhere. Piety and politics don't mix. Now, you see, if I were not a minister of the Gospel. It would be easier. So what we need to do as ministers is to encourage our laity to be politically engaged.

 

They have a special mission out there in the market place, in the naked public square, as John Richard Neuhaus would would call it. And we can encourage them. We can teach biblical principles. We can bring the perspective of God's kingdom to enable them to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world, and to be efficient as legislators or, you know, as judges or school principals or whatever their public engagement might be. Now, the scriptures teach us that the world is somehow controlled by principalities and powers, not by the church. The church can become, as it did in that medieval period. The church itself can become a negative principality and power by abusing power. But scripture speeches about spiritual wickedness in high places. It calls Satan the God of this present age. And so the Scriptures teach us clearly that this will remain so until Christ comes back in power and glory and Satan is ultimately defeated. Now, there is a tension between the church and the world because we live, as I have already stated. We live between the times. The kingdom has already been inaugurated. We have the vision of the kingdom. We live the values of the kingdom, at least in a partial way. And so we are different. But we are still in the world. In this world that is still stealing and cheating and warfare and healing that is still in our hearts a jealousy and propensity to do things that should not be done and so on. So that's why there is a tension. And of course, that has all kinds of ramification for Christian ethics. Extremely important to understand the relationship between the kingdom and the world, and yet not to be utopian because the kingdom is not yet fully here.

 

Neither will we bring it in by the best of our ideals. The highest of our sacrifice is the purest of our theologies and our socio political engagement. That, however, the fact that we will not bring it in does not allow us to wash our hands and say, Well, we can do nothing because we do extend the borders of the kingdom, we do spread the influence of the kingdom among the kingdoms to do well. Give me a give me another 30 seconds then, and I'll take questions then. So the church lives with the agenda of God's kingdom in the world. The church is the agency of God's kingdom, God's missionary community. We called it, remember, God's transformative agency in the world. And that's why there is a creative tension. Creative tension exists because the church does recognize that it is different from the world, that its lifestyle is different. It does not live by these standards, by the values of the world. It believes that it should influence, say, governments. If the church believes that it should transform culture and there are things that need to be transformed, there are things that need to be simply adopted in culture that are things that need to be exorcized because cultures can also be demonically impregnated. Just to give you a give an example or two. We believe as citizens of God's kingdom that we have a responsibility as citizens of the United States or whatever Korea, China and so on, that we should show our concern for the poor, that we should work for the liberation of the oppressed. That we should work for the full respect for human rights, including freedom to preach the gospel, but not only freedom to preach the gospel. Because once you do that, see, if I well, I'm a member of the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights.

 

If I would fight and argue and write and negotiate only for the human rights of Christians or freedom of worship for Christians and would keep quiet or even support that, the same rights be denied to Jews or Muslims or Hindus. What am I doing? I'm failing both democratically and in terms of spiritual maturity. Because I have a partizan favorite this sectarian approach. If I would protect only Christians from persecution but not the communists, for example, there are areas where communists are persecuted. My father was in prison together with communists when my former home country was a monarchy, and they put evangelical ministers and communists. Because both were perceived as enemies in the same prison cells, Both idealists. One had the ideal of God's kingdom, the other one had the ideal of classless society, a kind of a secular kingdom or utopia. So what I am saying here, that is we engaged in the world. We should not be sectarian, okay? Or we will not have credibility, for example, when it comes to feeding the hungry. If we were concerned only to feed the Christian hungry and not those who are not. We are really disobeying the gospel and undercutting the credibility of the Christian mission. We do not take the mandate from the world. We take the mandate from the world. However, we cannot ignore the agenda of the world. The agenda of the world informs the church very often, or what the church is called and mandated by the Lord to do. Okay. I think I need to take a little break here because we have some questions. So to keep you waiting, the question was always the same thing. So I'm not establishing a general rule here. I'm reflecting on my own situation where as if as a minister, I would do it.

 

I would be misunderstood by many, as if I now take my political responsibilities more seriously and I'm giving it priority rather than my kingdom of God. The responsibilities, you know, the preaching and teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I have noticed that in this country, for example, in the black community, ministers are much more politically engaged than the white churches in the Anglo Saxon churches. I don't know where that is. I think because of their oppression and suffering and discrimination and the ministers were the best trained and the most articulate, you know, you think of Martin Luther King. And so the church becomes almost a place of political mobilization. If the white conservative church that would do that in the in this country. Now, I can see the liberals jumping all over the place while it is tolerated in the black church because it was part of their history. Roman Catholic clergy, you've heard of Cardinal Richelieu and others. Roman Catholic clergy used to rule over the secular rulers in the medieval paradigm. And even after that, today, the Roman Catholic priests are not permitted to run for offices or even to be in favor of one party or another party, at least openly. And that's why when the pope went to visit Nicaragua after the Sandinista revolution, he was showing his finger at that Jesuit priest at a mass, the cardinal who became one of the leaders of the Sandinistas. And there were others and said, you cannot do that. You are priests. You either, you know, take off your cassock and become a politician and forget about being a priest or you remain a priest and don't get involved in politics. The same the Eastern Orthodox Church has the same the same ruling in Scandinavian countries.

 

You have a number of ministers who are also politicians, and the present prime minister of Norway is a Lutheran preacher. And you have a number in the parliament, the president of the Republic of Macedonia, who happens to be my good friend, he almost did a master's degree with me, and his cousin graduated from the Evangelical Theological Seminary. What is that? Witkowski? He's a methodist minister and there's been a lot of misunderstanding there. Peter The whole escapade through the Glasgow Romanian Baptist minister who has been involved in this anti Ceausescu movement when it started in his own city of Timisoara, he was a Baptist pastor. I should tell you this story. Timisoara, Romania. In many ways that was but was the evangelical capital of Europe. Very strong evangelical communities there. And a reform pastor was to be evicted. Laszlo Tecniche is his name. He was to be evicted from his church by the order of his bishop with the help of Securitate there, which was the Secret Service of the horrible Ceausescu communist regime, he was to be evicted by force because he refused the orders of his bishop. The bishop was ordered by the secular communist authorities to remove him somewhere into an obscure village because Laszlo Darkish, a Hungarian, had a little bit too much influence, was working. Also with young people was potentially a nationalist which had turned out to be a Hungarian nationalist. And so he was to be removed and the government would very often do that. They didn't totally eliminate Christian ministry, they at least controlled it and manipulated it. And if a minister became successful in a city, they would remove him and send him to an obscure village far away so he could not reach many and he couldn't train young people and so on in Christian faith.

 

When the secret police came this year talking security, the horrible, violent and vile communist secret police to evict him by force, his parishioners gathered to protect him. Well, then they were joined by Baptists. Then they were joined by Pentecostals. Talk about ecumenism. And this swelled into several thousand people. So the street was totally closed off for traffic. The crowds grew and grew to such an extent that they walked to the main square. And this is a huge square. There is a national theater on the one hand, beautiful square. Have you been yet? And the Orthodox Cathedral on the other end of the square, some 200,000 people. This is a week before Christmas, 1989. And some brave dissidents gathered on the outside balcony of the Romanian National Theater, and they speak to the crowds. The Army was moving in and started shooting and then the army stopped shooting. They would not kill their own people. Security out there, which was a professional, well-paid private police of dictator Ceausescu, killed many people on that spot. And suddenly the crowd started saying something like, We want to hear from God. We want to hear from a minister. And the people who had the microphone up said, Is there any priest around here? The Orthodox priests were locked on the other side of the square in the cathedral. As a matter of fact, they are responsible for some lives. As people were running, they closed and locked the doors. They wouldn't let them in running for their lives. Cut a long story short. There was not one priest. To pray or speak to the people. So here you have this Baptist minister, Peter de Velasco, against whom the same sex tape is staged, a traffic accident once, and he is a slight invalid.

 

They wanted to kill him and there are other attempts to kill him. His biography is soon coming out. I just wrote a little recommendation. Chuck Colson and I were asked to write the recommendation for an English translation. It's it's coming out within a couple of months. Fascinating story. So Peter de will ask Squeeze there and he pushes his way up to the entrance to the balcony. They ask who he is. He says, I'm a priest. You're a priest? Yes. He's a pastor of the Baptist Church. A pastor is a priest. So they let him on and they give him the microphone. And he said, For 40 years, the communists have told us that there is no God. He said, they tried to kill me because I'm a preacher of the gospel of God. He said, for 40 years they told us that he does not exist, but he exists in Romanian. Do Lazio exist? I have to watch because we have a Romanian expert here. Okay. Am I pronouncing it right? The Dominus zero. Yeah. And as he said that the crowd. Started chanting and then shouting in unison. Dominus Zo existing. Dominus Zo exist. The Dominus zo exist. 200,000 people. Now that is in a country where you were Ceausescu. He had to quickly return. He was on a foreign visit and he was trying to organize from the capital from Bucharest the persecution. He was telling the nation that God does not exist. They were tearing down churches and now 200,000 people are saying God exists as their existence. And when finally my friend Peter Douglas got a word in, he said, Let us pray. 200,000 people dropped to their knees. This is before Christmas. December, not Florida or Southern California. Ice and freezing weather and snow on the on the ground.

 

And he leads them in the Lord's Prayer. And now you listen to the Lord's Prayer be be sometimes mechanically just repeated meaninglessly where Jesus wants us in Matthew six, we shouldn't do. But he leads them. Our father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Not the name of Marx or Engels. Or just ask your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. There are many spiritually powerful moments that brought about the toppling of communist regimes in Eastern Europe. The problem is that these are not these were not covered by CNN, ABC, CBC and so on, because these secular broadcasting stations, even in this great country, don't know how to report the events of the kingdom of God. They only know how to report the events of the kingdom of this world. And we could give you many and they have many of them have been documented and written up. But I think I said in this class, prayer is a political force. Prayer is a political force. You read the scriptures and you have to read the whole scriptures all testaments. Okay. That's also inspired, actually, when he says that even Paul says that says to Timothy that all Scripture is tell us God breathed it. He means the Old Testament. So okay. And discover the role and the power of prayer, their creative tension between the church and the world. And by the way, the same Baptist minister them, not the first round of elections. He didn't run because too many Christian friends were against him doing that. But the second round of elections he did run and was elected to the parliament and then elected chair of the Human Rights Committee. But that's because he was now a nationally recognizable leader, because he led them in prayer and gave a public witness to the power and truth of the Kingdom of God, which is stronger than the kingdoms of this world.

 

So Ceausescu's kingdom was toppling and God's kingdom was affirmed in prayer and public manifestation. Now, we need to take this a little further. Let's see if we can put this into broader ecclesial categories. The relationship between the church and the world, and I will put it now as the relationship between evangelism and social responsibility. And here again, we suggest four models, and you will see the correspondence. Four models, the individualistic evangelical, the radical Anabaptist, which we very often don't know much about. But if you read Ron Sider or if you read the Sojourners, you know what I'm talking about. Or if you listen to Tony Campolo preach and teach, you will see the radical Anabaptist position there as well, the dominant ecumenical and then the secular Christian. What I am trying to do here is kind of reduce for you the complex material from David Bach and also help you get a handle on these categories, on these paradigms so that you can relate your own views, experience your own judge, or maybe your own denomination or your own personal church agency that you are somehow linked to it. Okay. Individualistic, evangelical, as first radical. Anabaptist, totally dominant, ecumenical. And that one is described best in David Bush's and then secular Christian. Now, we don't have time to go through the whole thing, but just look at the, for example, object of evangelism. Okay. Individualistic. Evangelical. Go to the right object of evangelism. Persons, only persons a radical Anabaptist. Although we evangelize persons alike, the dominant ecumenical object of evangelism is persons and social structures. Persons and cultures. When you go to model for the secular Christian, the persons are not evangelized anymore. Only social structures. This is what we call humanization the liberation movements.

 

Why are persons not evangelized? Because in secular theology, persons are not lost. Sin is not a reality except in social structures. Sin is not something that you carry from your old academic culture. Or let's say, what is then the difference between the individualistic, evangelical and the radical Anabaptist. While the individualistic evangelical will emphasize that sin, that's emphasis is on personal sins like lying and adultery. The Radical Anabaptist. There is an additional emphasis on social sin, but main emphasis is on personal. Anyhow, but it does have now both dimensions the personal and the social. In the dominant ecumenical, it's personal and social, but for many emphasis falls heavily on the social and secular Christian. Sin is offense against neighbor and structural injustice. So the Gospel. What is the content of the gospel? In individualistic evangelicalism, salvation of the individual is very often just salvation of the soul, which is really not fully biblical. But that is how we emphasize. If you share what's then the program that James Kennedy produced, people go out to evangelize. Evangelism. Explosion. You go to Save Souls. Right. I think that is important because souls are immortal. Souls need to be saved. Need to be saved for heaven. But if your emphasis is just on souls being saved to heaven, that may sometimes come closer to platonic rather than a full fledged biblical. So I prefer that we talk about persons that need to be saved rather than souls being saved because of the way our anthropology has been influenced, if not shaped by the Greek. Anthropology of our soul is kind of a captive of the spirit, is the captive within this prism called body. Okay. But the very in doctrine of incarnation, as well as the doctrine of resurrection, actually affirms the material, affirms the body.

 

And we cannot follow the Greek anthropology when we have a full fledged biblical anthropology. So when it comes to the content of the gospel, the radical anabaptists bring a very good corrective to us because they say the gospel is the good news of the kingdom. It's not only the salvation of the souls, good news of the kingdom while in the secular model, secular Christian model. The good news is about the social progress. It's changing social structures. For example, on a meaning of salvation under the individualistic evangelical, the emphasis on justification by faith, on regeneration. What to the experience of the new birth? Okay. The radical Anabaptist say, Yes, that's all true. But there has to be an emphasis on the redeemed community. The evangelicals very often fail to emphasize community the church as God's community, which needs to exemplify and live the values of the kingdom, not as our speaker from Africa mentioned earlier, we have this, especially in North America, this atomic approach. Even the basic community, the family is broken up because of an all very excessive emphasis on individuals. Individualism and materialism is a very deadly combination. I've already reflected on that in one of the earlier cultures. I wrote some 20 years ago that both the at that time we were still living under communism, that both the collectivist the communism of the East as well as capitalistic consumerism and individualism of the West. Both are destructive of community from different angles. They come at it from different perspective, but both are destructive of community. And whatever is destructive of community runs counter to the teaching of the kingdom. Because God redeems us and makes us a new community. We don't float around as saved. Born again souls occasionally touching each other.

 

But we are God's redeemed community in the world. Living and sharing the good news of the Kingdom. If you go down on a meaning of salvation down to the bottom, you will see that in the secular Christian model, the emphasis is not on justification by faith. There is no reformation of emphasis there. The emphasis is not on the new birth or on personal regeneration and forgiveness of sins. The emphasis is on justice and peace in society. Now, what very often happens, and we conservative Christians have this propensity to react. And when you react, reactionary movements are not very constructive. By the very nature of reaction, the pendulum swings to the other extreme. So at the end of the 19th century, beginning of the 20th century, in this great country, what was the popular gospel, the popular Christian movement? What's the name of the Russian bush? What does that name remind you of? Social gospel? Yes. The emphasis was on the social gospel. So what happens? That was seen as a liberal movement. And you have a fundamentalist reaction against it. The fundamentalists develop or discover, of course, the personal gospel, the salvation of soul. And there are many if you read fundamentals, those were great documents. It's what happened later with the fundamentalist mentality and mindset that became very legalistic, very physical, very judgmental and so on, kind of separatist and throwing stones from a distance at the world and the liberals and so on. Pendulum swung in the other direction. Fundamentalism as a reaction against liberalism. Fundamentalism movement started its own Bible schools. It's on publishing houses. It's on theologies and so on. Fundamentalist movements sent thousands of missionaries. So a lot of American fundamentalism, along with the American conservative culture, was exported to other nations without contextualizing because contextualization was seen as a sin, as a compromise.

 

It was later that contextualization regained legitimacy again in the evangelical world when the pendulum came back to the center. So fundamentalism as a reaction, reaction against social gospel ignores totally social gospel and puts emphasis only on the personal gospel. Ignores totally the sociopolitical engagement and puts all emphasis on the spiritual. What you have is really another reductionism. Secularism is one reductionism, a dangerous one, as is the social gospel. If they are not evangelizing to save people from their sin. But fundamentalist reaction was also reductionism. Because you forgot the kingdom. You see, in the New Testament, I don't see a wedge between the social gospel and the personal gospel. There is only one. Gospel is the gospel of Jesus Christ, and it is both personal and social. It's personal because it addresses us as persons who need Christ to be redeemed, who need to be regenerated and become your creation. But it's also social. It's social by the very fact of the emphasis on the kingdom of God, on the new community. This is where evangelicalism and in North America. I know the British story is somewhat different, but in America, many of what they the beginning of the evangelical movement in the 20th century with the publication of Karl F Henry's classic book, The Uneasy Conscience of Modern Fundamentalism, is that the title, The Uneasy Conscience of Fundamentalism or Modern Fundamentalism in the forties? And then along comes the Billy Graham crusades and later the founding of Christianity Today. The founding of seminaries like out on the West Coast. Gordon And then Gordon Conrad later in Cornwall, was brought here from Philadelphia. And you have later the the Evangelical Theological Society established and so on and so on. And so evangelicalism brings back the balance.

 

And really this is somewhat misleading. When we say individualistic evangelical, because evangelical is both individualistic and with an emphasis on community, individualistic and communal. Any questions here? How many of you have read age? Richard Neighbors Christ. In culture, that is a must. One cannot talk about Christianity and culture without at least some reference to that classic by Richard Niebuhr. Did you, by the way, in in your study, those of you who have gathered, did you also study John Howard Yoder's criticism of it? You did. Some of you did. All right. Any questions? Yes. In terms of think this is a brother of Reinhold Niebuhr. Age. Richard Niebuhr taught all of his life at Yale while his older, older brother, Reinhold Niebuhr, when he left his pastor, I think it was in Detroit or Pittsburgh, wherever he was pastoring became a professor at Union Seminary. Reinhold Niebuhr is a better known of the two brothers, although in my opinion, Richard, anybody is a more careful theologian. Reinhold Niebuhr, of course, is well known. He was considered the public theologian, something that doesn't exist anymore on any social issue or issue of public policy, international relations and so on. He would be called by major networks, by New York Times and so on as to give a Christian. Many excellent books. I would if you don't know Reinhold Niebuhr, I would suggest that you start with the book Moral Man and Immoral Society. You see, neighbor started out really he was a Barton in many ways, but more on men and immoral society. The title of the book itself tells you where he was when he wrote that society needs to be changed. Justice needs to be established because man in his nature, this is the typical fallacy of secular humanism and of liberal Christian humanism.

 

Do that man is actually God in his nature. The problem is in human relations, in labor relations, in in social structure. So change the social structures and you will build a utopia. That's the Marxist fallacy, too. Interestingly, Reinhold Niebuhr comes that I'll come back to Richard. Never. I have not forgotten your question. I just have to throw this in because education is always more than just a narrow thing you are touching on and we may not have opportunity to refer to this. And yet it is very much related to what we are talking about at the end of his life. Richard Niebuhr, in an Reinhold Niebuhr study in an interview where he was asked how his mind has changed. He said, Well, I would change the title of the book Moral Men and Immoral Society, and I would give it a new title, and I wish they had done it in the later editions because the book is still published. He said he would call it The Immoral Men and the terribly immoral Society, the immoral Man. Okay. The need for regeneration, the personal gospel, and the terribly immoral society, the need for changing the social order as well. Okay. At Richard Niebuhr, Christ and Culture. I will take a few minutes to explain why this book is so important that every Christian should read it or not read it should study it. If there was to be a list of 100 most important books and you have read in your if you are in an FDA program, you've probably read more than 100 books and a list of 100 musts for Christians. What Include Christ in Culture by Richard Niebuhr. Okay, Lord, we pray that you will make us faithful, but also efficient. Credible, but also intelligible witnesses for you and your kingdom among the kingdoms of this world, in Jesus name, and with the help of the Holy Spirit.

 

Amen.