01 August 2006

To Church and Society

you MUST stop.Unfortunately, I've been experiencing some technical difficulties getting this post up, but now it's working.

The believer’s life is full of musts. Obligations to one’s spouse, children, church, school, work, extended family, and friends deplete most of his time. Most Christians find it helpful in fulfilling obligations consistently, contentedly, and correctly to understand the purpose (or theological framework) behind the obligations. It’s a lot easier to do the “got-to’s” right and with a good attitude when we understand something of the purpose behind the obligation. Even if the task is sheer obedience to the commands of our Creator and Redeemer, at least we know that much, and knowing that much helps. For instance, it is helpful, as the Christian husband walks out to the dumpster with trash bag in hand, to think about why it is theologically important to fulfill this obligatory waste disposal. It is helpful for him to think about how Christ created the earth to reflect the order which inheres in his being, about how he created humans to tend the earth, and how Christ himself became a man “not...to be served, but to serve” (Matt 20:28). Theological framework helps Christians fulfill daily obligations.

Bringing up this discussion is not meant to cheapen theology or make it ho-hum or blah. Instead, I feel that a theology’s depth is demonstrated in part by its ability to reach into all of life. Christian theology satisfies the rigor of the class room and debate hall, yes. But it also satisfies the demands of the marketplace and the home. It is the only worldview deep enough to pervade all of life.

So bringing up this discussion is meant to relate the Christian’s obligations to the church and to society by means of a theological framework. My method will be to survey the various theological frameworks which have been proposed (as they are summarized by the seminal work of H. Richard Niebuhr, Christ and Culture).

I plan to evaluate the basic viability of each framework and endeavor to take the most Biblical answer and modify or augment it with any unaddressed Biblical concerns.

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