Tuesday, May 31, 2005

TSOTTC - book notes - Chapter 1 - Revolution

I'm going to start posting some of my notes and personal responses
from The Shaping of Things to Come. Feel free to chime in.

- Christendom is the name given to the sacral culture that has dominated European society from around the eleventh century until the end of the twentieth. Its sources go back to the time when Constantine came to the throne of the Roman Empire and granted Christians complete worship and even favored Christianity, thereby undermining all other religions in the empire. In virtually an instant, Christianity moved from being a marginalized, subversive and persecuted movement secretly gathering in houses and catacombs to being the favored religion in the empire.
Everything changed! The emperor had changed from being the principal persecutor of the Christianity to being the chief sponsor of the church. With the Edict of Milan, the age of the missional-apostolic church had come to an end.
And while the Christendom story no longer defines Western culture, it still remains the primary definer of the church’s self-understanding in almost every Western nation, including and perhaps especially the United States.
- Overall, Christianity moved from being a dynamic, revolutionary, social and spiritual movement to being a religious institution with its attendant structures, priesthood and sacraments.
- Christology determines missiology and missiology determines ecclesiology.
Whereas Christendom has unraveled because of its seduction by Western culture, the emerging missional church must see itself as being able to interact meaningfully with
culture without ever being beguiled by it. This is the classic task of the cross-cultural missionary: to engage culture without compromising the gospel. We cannot emphasize this enough. In fact, the whole tenor of this book will be to call
post-Christendom to see itself again as a missionary movement rather than as an institution.

Some pretty good quotes huh? A few things strike me. Firstly, that when Christianity was made 'legal', it was the death of the revolution. It makes me think of some of the legislative battles Christians have been fighting for lately. Does legislation solve the problem at the core? Isn't that the same kind of thing that happened in 313?

Secondly, that the call of the Church is to be a missionary movement. This fact was so evident to me from Perspectives. It was a fundamental truth that I had to take and do something about. That was one of the primary motives behind SPACE - that the next generation of Jesus followers could not do church the same way, that we needed to mold the students of today into becoming leaders of a movement tomorrow that will not settle for a culture of Christianity that says its okay to believe but not follow.

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