Our Postmodern culture is one side or the other. Why are there more Visigoths than Athenians? There are many closet Visigoths. Visigoths would scrawl obscenities on the wall. Choose you this day whom you will serve—the faithful God, the Athenians or the Visigoths? The Christian world view alone can address the strengths of both the Athenians and the Visigoths.

Christian World View:                  Visigoth World View:

1.Personal/Rational creator God                      1. Humanism: Loss of God… Origin of cosmos

2.Man rebelled against the holiness of God     2. Secularism: Loss of Shame

which resulted in fragmentation                        3. Pluralism- Loss of True Truth

relationships.                                                 4. Narcissism: Loss of Meaning

 

a. Fragmentation of God and men in                                     Gnostic World View

our postmodern cultural loss of                             

transcendence                                                               

b. Fragmentation in man and others.                                   Modern World View

c. Fragmentation of the self.                                            Post Modern World View

d. Fragmentation of God and nature;                                   Multicultural World View

God and history; God and social structure

 

                  The Foolishness of The Gospel to the Athenians, Gnostics, Visigoths, Modern/Post Modernism and Multiculturalism

 

                  "If we are to be faithful to the Gospel of Christ in our culture which is dominated by the above alternatives, we must prepare for our cross-cultural communication challenge."

(D.J. Czitrom, Media and the American Mind (University of NC Press, 1982).

 

                  "Lesslie Newbigin explains in his book Foolishness to The Greeks, that missionary communication must take place (1) in the language of the receptor culture--accepting 'at least provisionally, the way of understanding things that is embodied in that language.' (2) the missionary communication will call radically into question that culture's understanding of reality--with an appropriate call for repentance, in the sense of 'a U-turn of the mind.' (3) missionary communicators know that when the receptor(s) discover faith and experience conversion this is supremely to be attributed to a miracle, the work of God, and not primarily to the missionary's great theology or communication competency. Newbigin adds that effective missionary communication always involves finding the path between two dangers." (George Hunter, How to Reach Secular People (Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1992), p. 80)

 

                  "On the one hand, he may simply fail to communicate; he uses the words of the language but in such a way that he sounds like a foreigner; his message is heard as the babbling of a man who really has nothing to say. Or, on the other hand, he may so far succeed in talking the language of his hearers that he is accepted all too easily as a familiar character, a moralist calling for greater purity of conduct or a guru offering a path to the salvation that all human beings want. His message is simply absorbed into the existing world view and heard as a call to be more pious or better behaved. In the attempt to be "relevant" one may fall into syncretism; and in the effort to avoid syncretism one may become irrelevant." (Leslie Newbigin, Foolishness to The Greeks: The Gospel and Western Culture (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 1986), p. 129).

 

The Foolishness of The Gospel to the Athenians, Gnostics, Visigoth Moderns: LIVING LIKE JESUS: ELEVEN ESSENTIAL CHARACTERISTICS FOR GROWING A GENUINE FAITH

(Isa 6.1-5; Ps 51; Matt 25.44f; Rom 5.9-10; Gal 5.19-21; Eph 3.1-6)

1.   Forgiving Love: Genuine Disciples embrace both God’s Holiness and God’s Love.

2.   Conforming to Christ: Genuine Disciples live like Jesus (I Pet 1.5, 20-21; Eph 5.25; Rom 12.2; Phil 2.5)

3.   Renewing Marriage and Family: Genuine Disciples keep the marriage covenant and put children before career.

4.   Immersed in Prayer: Genuine Disciples nurture daily spiritual renewal and live in the power of The Spirit.

5.   Genuine Disciples strive to make the Church a little picture of what Heaven will be like - Rev 7.9; Eph 2.15,16 (Prayer for Revival, Recovery of Biblical Theology in preaching, New Structures (old wine in new wine skins)

6.   Genuine Christians have Body, Soul and Mind like Jesus (John 3-4)

7.   Genuine Christians mourn Church divisions and embrace all who confess Jesus as Lord (The Empty Tomb, 1999 - the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem (alethos enesta - Christos aneste)

8.   Genuine Christians must confess Jesus as Lord in the Bedroom, Boardroom and Ballot Box. (Wilberforce was converted by Wesley’s preaching; in 1787 he began a crusade against slavery; he prayed 3 hours daily; Christian owned ships carried 100,000 slaves to America)

9.   Genuine Christians have a special concern for the poor.

10.  Genuine Christians treasure creation and worship the creator; Tending the garden without worshipping it.

11.   Genuine Christians embrace Servanthood (the cross) Isa 40-53; Descending into Greatness —C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, p. 190.

 

 James Strauss, LCS