NIGHTMARE IN CAMELOT
The Gospel According to Romans in Our Resurgent Pagan Culture:
Five Pillars of Calvinism:
1. Sovereignty of God
2. Total Depravity
3. Unconditional Election
4. Irresistible Grace
5. Preservation of the Saints
Four Pillars of Modern Culture:
1. Inherent goodness of man
2. Perfectibility of man
3. Inevitability of progress
4. Ultimate reality of nature
Six Structures of Camelot:
2. Breakdown of Christendom with the Protestant Reformation
3. Nationalism--Fragmented Europe
4. Scientific Revolution--Copernicus, Newton, Darwin, Marx, Freud
5. Enlightenment--Christianity reduced to religion, “Common natural religion” Rejection of classes and Christian beliefs
6. Urbanization--Result of the Industrial Revolution; Dislocation of the Family, Church, School (structure of the postmodern culture)
Romans and Revival: What happens when men hear the Gospel according to Romans?
1. Augustine, 366 A.D. - read Romans 13.13b, 14
2. Luther and Calvin - “Justification by Faith” and “The Righteousness of God”
3. Wesley - he read the preface to Luther’s Commentary on Romans. at Aldersgate
4. Barth - The Romerbrief. contra assumptions of classical liberalism
1. Hope grounded in God alone
2. Salvation grounded in Grace alone
3. Belief is total dependence on God’s Word and Way (the first step toward the heart of God, Luke 15)
4. Repentance of the Prodigals: The Church in Camelot desperately needs revival as it deals with the Secular City
1. What the Gospel has to do with Paul (Romans 1.1)
2. What the Gospel has to do with the Old Testament (1.2)
3. What the Gospel has to do with Jesus (1.3-7) (Work of God for us (vs. 3,4) and Work of God in us (vs. 5, 6, 7).
4. What the Gospel has to do with the Roman Church (1.8-15)
5. What the Gospel has to do with us (1.16, 17).
I. Nature of The Nightmare - Demise of Christian Values (Hollywood vs. America)
A. Economically grounded anxiety - inflation, taxes, etc.
C. Grief and Guilt - hurt, heartache, bereavement (sin and guilt after Freud)
D. Freedom and Security - desire to be free has been replaced by our desire to be secure (freedom in an omnipotent generation, the Boomer rangers)
E. Sin and Salvation - genetic and environmental determinism; no one is responsible for actions anymore. Sin becomes merely crime, and then sickness.
F. Crime in our streets - cities of all sizes
G. Scandal in Washington, etc.
H. Violence - Cities (those in Florida and California )Chicago, New York, etc.
I. Greed - in Corporations especially
II. Nature of Our Response As Christians
A. Rejoicing in the affirmative
B. Repenting of our sins (Psalms 32, 51)
C. Recital for renewal
III. Nature of Christian Witness (producing radical change)
IV. Nature of God’s Gospel According to Romans
A. Negative Response (five woes on the wicked)
1. Crushed victims rise in revolt (Habakkuk 2.6-8)
2. Predatory security will crumble (2.9-11)
3. Fire begets fire - moral order in the universe (2.12-14)
4. Tyranny degrades tyrant more than the slave (2.15-17)
5. Worship of gods in man’s own image - will find those gods powerless to deliver in the time of trouble (2.18, 19)
B. Positive Response
1. Righteous shall live by his faith.
2. Live in the midst of violence and injustice to the extent that God is real, “But the Lord is in His Holy Temple” (Habakkuk 2.20)
3. Praise God - God’s presence is more valuable than our prosperity (Hab 3.1f; Eph 1
4. Live by faith in our homes and marriages; at our work; in our neighborhoods, and in the midst of the People of God.
5. Living by faith means obedience to God’s call to witness by life, word, and deed
Conclusion: The Nightmare in Camelot can be turned into the Kingdom of God by carrying out God’s will and purpose in every dimension of reality in our daily lives. Revival--an available individual, the Word of God, Prayer (recovery of the backslider and the restoration of joy)
Dr. James D. Strauss, Lincoln Christian Seminary, Lincoln, IL