Modern Pensées

Reconsidering theology, philosophy, culture, economics, and politics

Posts Tagged ‘Globality

3 Month Introspective

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Introspective

So, I’ve been blogging consistently for three months.  This is the week of Christmas and I’ll be all over the place.  I thought I would briefly summarize the 3 months of blog series on here:

Blaise Pascal:  We took a look at Blaise Pascal’s thinking, its use of aphorism and its relationship to both tri-perspectivalism and presuppositionalism.  We also looked at his use of aphorism and his warnings against deism and atheism.

Thoughts on Evangelicalism Past, Present, and Future, Parts 1-7:  We defined the term evangelical.  We looked at its historical roots in the First Great Awakening, Second Great Awakening, and its ties to celebrity culture, democritization of knowledge, and modernism.  Then we looked at the roots of liberalism, the Protestant split and suburbanization, and defined and outlined evangelical populism and their game plan for reaching America.  Finally we assessed the current status of American evangelicalism and then made some predictions of future trends.

Introduction to Apologetics, Parts 1-7:  We looked in broad strokes at the various schools of apologetics.  We then took a more in-depth look at:  Classical Apologetics, Evidentialist Apologetics, Presuppositional Apologetics, and the specific apologetics of Blaise Pascal and Alvin Plantinga.  Finally, we employed the three phases football as an analogy for the different apologetic schools and I likened Tim Tebow to the presuppositionalists.

Thoughts on Evangelicalism Moving Forward, Parts 1-10:  We looked at some analysis of some shifts evangelicalism will need to make moving forward:  Doctrine, Worldview, Urbanization, Globality/Mobility, “Post-Modernism,” American Culture(s), Contextualization, Balance, and Final Analysis.

Top ~10 Books by Topic:

Top 10 Systematic Theology Texts

Top 10 Devotional Classics

Top 10 Books on the Church

Top 10 Books on Science and Christianity

Top 10 Books on Christian Biography

Top 10 Books on Culture

Top 10 Books on Eschatology

Top 5 Books on Worldview

Top 15 Books on Status of American Evangelicalism

Top 10 Books on Church History

Top 40 Books to Read While in College

Top 10 Books on Missions, Discipleship, and Evangelism

The 25 Most Destructive Books Ever Written…

Top 10 Apologetic Works

Top 10 Books on Divine Sovereignty and Human Responsibility

Top 10 Books by John Piper

Top 5 Children’s Books

Best Creeds, Confessions, and Catechisms of the Christian Church

A Comprehensive List of Top 10 Book Lists of 2009

Up Next:  We will be looking at some thoughts on the economy and investment and then delve into the mind of Friedrich Nietzsche…

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Written by Michael Graham

December 19, 2009 at 11:29 am

Thoughts on Evangelicalism Moving Forward, Part 5: Globality and Mobility

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Mobility

Are you investing in the new mobile class?

I recall twice during my time at Creekside Community Church in Gainesville (FL), Pastor Parker polled the congregation seeing how many people had been at the church 4 years or less.  Both times, at least 50% of the congregation raised their hands indicating being there less than 4 years.  If you are in a college town or a city that has a University or has major office parks, you may notice the revolving door of a good percentage of your church.  Globalization, the abundance of English, the ease of travel, and electronic communications have shrunk our world and have increased mobility within countries and across countries.  Lets define our terms:

Globality is the the theoretical end-state of globalization – a world and economy without national borders.

Mobility is the idea of population migration or population turnover.

Much of this blog post is inspired by a speech that Stephen Um delivered at the Gospel Coalition ’09 entitled, “On Ministry and Revolving Doors: Practical Challenges and Ideas for Ministry in a Mobile Society,” (audio).  In his speech, he likens the issues that the early Christians faced in Acts, to the complexities of doing ministry in the 21st century – namely, mobility, globality, urbanality, and pluralism.

The 2st century is becoming a globalized, urbanized, and post-secular world again.  I say ‘again’ because this means that the 21st century will be more like the 1st century AD than has been any of the centuries in between.  -Tim Keller, Theology and Practice of Church Ministry:  Ministry and Leadership in the City (Unpublished private notes, 2004), pp. 90-93.

Evangelical churches, particularly the ones in more urban areas, near employment hubs, or near Universities, are going to have to learn how to train up people who will be sent out elsewhere.  Churches will need to be able to take people who are under their care for 2-4 years, promote spiritual maturity, promote community, and connect them to mission at-hand.  Churches will need to invest in these people and not seen them as a poor ROI (return on investment) because some other church in some other place will benefit from your hard labor.  Before you say that this is impossible, recall that Jesus only spent three years in his public ministry and under three years training up His disciples.  These men went on to make huge kingdom differences as they were sent out and spread out following the Ascension and persecutions.  Consider also, if every church had the attitude of stewarding the migratory transplants in their flock, then when someone came from another church, they come to you already heavily invested.

Moving forward, the evangelical church is going to have to rediscover the art of disciple-making.  From my experience, most churches just hope that discipleship happens and have no real plan for doing it.  They could learn from organizations like Campus Crusade for Christ, who routinely take some of the most spiritually immature young people and turn them into passionate multiplying disciples in under four years.  Urbanization, globalization, globality, and mobility present incredible opportunity for the church.  The more mobile people are the higher the velocity of interaction in the world.  In The Rise of Christianity and Cities of God, Rodney Stark points out that one of the reasons that Christianity spread so quickly was because it was an urban religion and even though 98% of the population was rural, culture was created in the cities.  We must be investing in individual people following the discipleship model of our Lord.  If we do not, we will be further lost in the increasing complex web of interconnectedness and paradigm shifts.

Up next we will look at some of the false assumptions of the culture in evangelicalism’s game plan at reaching America.

Thoughts on Evangelicalism Moving Forward, Part 1: Prolegomena

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It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” that classic Dickens opening, is so apt in describing my experiences within the broad and oft strange group we call Evangelicalism.  For better or for worse, I have spent my entire life as an insider into the evangelical movement.  I have been to Christian Missionary Alliance churches, Southern Baptist churches, megachurches, church plants, Evangelical Free-churches, non-denominational churches, charismatic churches, house churches, Reformed Baptist churches, and Presbyterian churches (PCA).  I have known the inner-workings of the largest evangelical parachurch ministry in the world, Campus Crusade for Christ.  I have seen dinosaurs and humans together, young-earth creationism, and premillenial pretribulation rapture dispensationalism be the core curriculum at youth group.  I have heard long sermon series on demonology.  I have heard pastors go on and on about their political agenda, neglecting to feed the sheep with the Word.  I have also seen some really healthy examples where the people were well taught, well shepherded, and making a difference in their spheres of influence.  I have seen severe anti-intellectualism and I have seen people who take the life of the mind seriously.  I have heard staunchly semi-pelagian teaching and I have heard sound Reformed doctrine.  It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…

The culmination of these years of experiences lead me to a few thoughts moving forward.  We will look at several key things that I feel the evangelical movement will have to acquire or navigate.  Specifically, we will look at:  doctrine, worldview, urbanization, globality/mobility, no cultural center, contextualization, and balance.  Like anything else, evangelicalism’s goal ought always to be right belief (orthodoxy), right emotion (orthopathos), and right action (orthopraxis).

Up first we will look at the role of doctrine in evangelicalism moving forward.

Thoughts on Evangelicalism Past, Present, and Future… Part 7

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Neocalvinism

Neocalvinism

It is easier to write about the past than to predict the future. Evangelicalism is quite broad today, perhaps so broad as to question the veracity of its use as a technical term.  Regardless of whether evangelicalism remains the technical term to describe conservative Protestants, I shall try to look at some potential future (and semi-present) trends.

Networks of churches will be more common:  Groups of churches, organized either locally/geographically and/or doctrinally, will be more common.  Organizations like Acts29 will be a more attractive option for new churches planted over against denominations.

Multi-site:  the multi-site movement is where one church has multiple campuses and the main pastor’s sermon is broadcast/simulcast to the other sites.  I think we will see a movement here towards multi-sites that are geographically distant from the original site – this leads to…

Branding:  I can envision some multi-site groups with a nationally (or internationally) recognizable pastor seeking to do multi-site in other cities across the country.   Instead of one self-identifying with being, “Southern Baptist,” one might identify with going to “Superstar Pastor, Chicago” or “Superstar Pastor, Memphis.”

Church Planting:  The church planting movement will continue to grow.  As liberal churches continue to bleed, there will continue to be a need for church planting.

Denominational decline and growth:  Denominations that fail to adhere to orthodox beliefs will decline heavily.  I am sure some denominations will go unorthodox on a variety of theological issues.  I can imagine social theological issues like abortion, homosexuality, and bioethics being some gateways to denominational error.  Denominations that adhere to orthodox faith and seek balance of reaching their city and the world will grow.

Liturgy:  There will be a growth in people who want more of God’s transcendence in the service in reaction over against the more entertainment and pop oriented worship.

Consumerism, Megachurch, and Smaller Local Churches:  Consumerism has failed the church – ie. the church with the great ______ program(s).  It makes for lousy discipleship and many people thinking they are legitimate believers when they are not.  I think that there will be a decline in the megachurch movement.  Megachurches will not go away because there will always be those drawn to a more anonymous worship experience and consumerism will always infiltrate evangelicalism on some level.  However, I think people many (not all) will trend away from the megachurch, preferring real community.  I think this will be in reaction to the great irony of globalization – as the world gets smaller and closer, it becomes more fractured and less communal.  This will be a driving factor for many to leave the anonymous megachurch and go to a place where they can know and have friendship with real people.

Missional Church Movement:  Time will tell if the missional church movement overemphasizes the local mission, an equal and opposite reaction to the imbalance of evangelicalism towards defining mission as unreached or international only.  My guess is that the missional church will seek some balance and develop a positive identity that does not require a defunct evangelism as a host in order to survive (ie. post-modernity needing modernity).

Open Source and Kingdom Mentality:  The redeeming principles of the open source movement that began in computer science will be applied and used well to resource the global body of Christ.  Ministries like Third Millenium Ministries who collaborate across denominational lines and give away all their content for free will be more common (see also Desiring God Ministries).  This will happen as technology is utilized to make edifying data more and more available instaneously – combined with visionary kingdom minded people seek to ensure that the worldwide church is well resourced.

Neo-Calvinism (I am not sure how to define it, but try some of these links- 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5):  Neo-calvinism will continue to grow… whether as a reaction against something else (megachurch, anti-intellectualism, Dispensationalism, irrelevance, or unmissionality) or positively as an embracing of something substantive.

I fear that the internet era of podcasts and videocasts, people’s expectations of their unknown and unsung local pastors could become unrealistic.  This fuels my concern over the already existing issue of celebrity and may lead to the aforementioned highly problematic branding.  I wonder if the great contribution of the non-denominational world will ultimately be de facto denominations that have all their weaknesses without all their strengths.

How things will play out will depend on the actions/reactions of evangelicalism to multiculturalism, mobility, globality, pluralism, re-urbanization, technology, capitalism, democritization, and dualism.  This concludes our look at the past, present, and future of evangelicalism as I see it.

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