February 28, 2009

Following Jesus-Part IV

This is the last day of my posting about the session at Dallas Theological Seminary hosted by the Center for Christian Leadership entitled Following Jesus In a World Like Ours.

We have covered Assessing Ourselves in Our Cultural Climate, Engaging One Another in Community. and Engaging God in Worship. The final topic is Mark Young covering Engaging Our World in Missions. Dr. Young started with some basic statements:

  • It is naive to think that as Christians, we can live outside of the culture around us
  • That culture was created by people and we need to be more interested in people than in culture
  • When we view culture as the enemy we withdraw from it or fight it. That moves us towards the fringes of the culture.
Young gave a definition of culture as a shared way of life designed to achieve a shared vision of common good with shared patterns of behaviors lived out through shared institutions. As such, culture is not intrinsically good or evil, but it is created by people who are by Christian definition sinful and depraved (that includes us as well). We have terminal values that are the idealized end state (i.e., independence) that are arrived at by practicing instrumental values (i.e., individualism). Culture needs to be looked at as a gift from God so we could live together and enjoy the world He created for us.

Young described the Bible not as a book about God, but one about God and humanity.Everything we know about God is through the lens of human interaction with the divine as revealed in Scripture. We need to understand that we are in the image of God, image as revealing and representing His creation.

How do we live in mission within the culture? We need to be right (tell the truth of God), relevant (tell it in a manner understandable within the culture) and redemptive (people have to want what we have in our relationship with God). Young pointed to 1 Peter 2:9-25 as the type of morally blameless, non-retaliatory, trusting and sacrificial living we need to engage in.

During the day, I had posed this question anonymously, and it was used to wrap up the session. With all that was covered today, what is the one key take away each speaker would have us leave with:

  • Bock: Spiritual formation (conforming ourselves to image of Christ) is not enough; we need to help people we are called to love by bringing Christ to them.
  • Bingham: Scripture is the basis from which all perspectives are to proceed out from.
  • Jones: We need to be bi-lingual; speaking the languages of both tradition and culture.
  • Young: seek to live good lives amongst non-believers, They may argue with you but they will see your good deeds and lives and God will be glorified by that.
I thoroughly enjoyed this seminar and what each speaker had to offer. I hope you enjoyed my meager summary thes epast four days.



2 comments:

God's Not Finished With Us Yet... said...

I've missed you and wish I could have written soon; lifes been crazy keeping up here, there, everywhere.

I love this part of your post:

How do we live in mission within the culture? We need to be right (tell the truth of God), relevant (tell it in a manner understandable within the culture) and redemptive (people have to want what we have in our relationship with God).

That is so intensely true....we have to reach others in an understandable manner, non threatening, nor hard preaching, no judging. We have to meet them where they are at, in the same way God often meets us where we are at, each time taking us back. I love your postings. They are so good!

Andy C said...

Love having you back! Thanks for all your encouragement, I appreciate the support you have given me.

Love reading you as well!