Proclaiming Jesus in Grace and Truth - Fpe

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Proclaiming Jesus
in Grace and Truth
The gospel in a post-Christendom,
post-modern, pluralist age
Steve Hollinghurst Jan 11
(Dietrich Bonhoeffer
– Letters and Papers from Prison)
‘what is bothering me … is the question what
Christianity really is, … who Jesus really is
for us today. The time when people could be
told everything in words … is over … religion
is over. … How can Christ become the Lord
of the religionless as well? What is a
religionless Christianity?’
Steve Hollinghurst Jan 11
Mission and change?
Eternal Gospel
400 BC
Judaism
Early
Church
600 AD
1500 AD
2000 AD
Christendom Reformation
?
Changing expression – David Bosch ‘Transforming Mission’
Steve Hollinghurst Jan 11
Post-Christendom?
Church attendance 2005
100
finding faith today 1992
This section of
the population is
older and
decreasing over
time
90
percentage of population
76% of New
Christians Come
from 26% DeChurched
80
under 15
65% Non Churched
70
60
50
40
30
26% De Churched
20
10
9% monthly
monthly
0
0
10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
Age in 2005
Steve Hollinghurst Jan 11
Post-Christendom?
Not just about church attendance
– Grace Davie,
- Believing without belonging and vicarious faith
• But changing belief
• Fading of occasional office
• Decline in Christian identity
– Stages in the decline of Christendom not a new
way for it to persist
Steve Hollinghurst Jan 11
Builders (born 20s+30s) in 2005
100
90
80
70
life force
60
50
40
personal
God
30
20
10
0
raised in
church
now
christian
raise
believe in
attend affiliation children
monthly +
to believe
in God
Steve Hollinghurst Jan 11
Boomers (born 40s+50s) in 2005
100
90
80
70
life force
60
50
40
personal
God
30
20
10
0
raised in
church
now
christian
raise
believe in
attend affiliation children
monthly +
to believe
in God
Steve Hollinghurst Jan 11
Gen-Xers (born 60s+70s) in 2005
100
90
80
70
life force
60
50
40
personal
God
30
20
10
0
raised in
church
now
christian
raise
believe in
attend affiliation children
monthly +
to believe
in God
Steve Hollinghurst Jan 11
Gen-Yers (born 80s+90s) in 2015?
100
90
80
70
life force
60
50
40
personal
God
30
20
10
0
raised in
church
now
christian
raise
believe in
attend affiliation children
monthly +
to believe
in God
Steve Hollinghurst Jan 11
Post-modernity?
Modernity
to
Postmodernity
I tell my story
I choose my beliefs
I buy my identity
The logic of
consumerism
Steve Hollinghurst Jan 11
What is ‘Truth’?
• Towards the post-modern
– Nietzsche
• The Death of God (the madman)
The Gay Science 1882
• The displacement of the real
‘Down with all philosophies that speak of a real world’
Twilight of the Idols 1888
– The Matrix
‘Welcome to the Desert of the Real’
Steve Hollinghurst Jan 11
From Text to Hyper-Text
• Reader response – we tend to read our own
meanings into texts
• Deconstruction – texts have meanings under the
surface which are as ‘true’ (Derrida)
• Computerized communication
–
–
–
–
Changeable
Open to all
Overwhelming volume of shorter work
Difficulty of assessing content
Steve Hollinghurst Jan 11
The post-modern problem
• The truth behind ‘the many truths’
– ‘All is the Will to Power and nothing besides’
Nietzsche Beyond Good and Evil 1886
• Post Modernity as Liberation?
– Richard Rorty, Henry Giroux & Francois Lyotard
– We are free from the tyranny of the norm, we can celebrate being
black, white or… women, men or…Gay, Straight or… Kosovan,
Serbian or….(The critique of the tyranny of modernism)
• Or Essential Violence – Darwin? Capitalism?
– ‘Humanity does not gradually progress from combat to combat until it
arrives at a universal reciprocity, where the rule of law finally replaces
warfare; humanity instils each of its violence's in a system of rules
and thus proceeds from domination to domination’
Foucault A Foucault Reader Penguin 1984 p85
– ‘The advent of democracy, international courts instead of war, equal
rights for women (are all signs of) the slave morality of the herd’ –
‘the hero will come to lead the herd in replacement for the dead god’
Nietzsche On a Genealogy of Morals 1887
Steve Hollinghurst Jan 11
Post- Secularism?
• Post-modernity - multi-faith in a post-secular age
– Post-modern move from truth as fact to truth as
experience - From universal truth to true for me may be
different to true for you.
– Rejection of objectivity for subjectivity
– Personal belief re-enters the public square
– Any and every belief …. All are equally unprovable
– All of this much to the annoyance of Richard
Dawkins…….
and Christians?
– Religion once more on the agenda but any religion with
no way back to Christendom …..indeed is Christianity
disadvantaged compared to the alternatives?
Steve Hollinghurst Jan 11
‘Spiritual’ experience in 2000 Vs 1987
1987 48% report a spiritual experience - 2000 risen to 76%
55% saw a patterning of events – up 90%
38% felt God’s presence – up 41%
37% had answered prayer – up 48%
29% felt sacred in nature – up 81%
25% the presence of the dead – up 39%
25% the presence of evil – up 108%
But what are they experiencing?
Steve Hollinghurst Jan 11
Believe in the soul
90
80
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
0
18-24
25-34
35-44
45-54
55-64
65+
Steve Hollinghurst Jan 11
Believe in an afterlife
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
0
18-24
25-34
35-44
45-54
55-64
65+
Steve Hollinghurst Jan 11
Believe in restless spirits
50
45
40
35
30
25
20
15
10
5
0
18-24
25-34
35-44
45-54
55-64
65+
Steve Hollinghurst Jan 11
Believe in Karma
45
40
35
30
25
20
15
10
5
0
18-24
25-34
35-44
45-54
55-64
65+
Steve Hollinghurst Jan 11
Experience of fortune telling, Tarot,
astrology, psychics, palmists
50
45
40
35
30
25
20
15
10
5
0
18-24
25-34
35-44
45-54
55-64
65+
Steve Hollinghurst Jan 11
Australian Gen Y – like Britain?
Non
believing
14%
Includes neo
pagans and
followers or
frequent
participants in the
esoteric/occult
Rationalist
humanist
Moral relativism, pick
‘n’ mix, truth in all
religions but not just
one, something ‘out
there’ occult and
paranormal
experienced
Floating 46 %
‘new spiritual’ 23%
Religious 17%
BUT open rather
than committed or
seeing as important
Steve Hollinghurst Jan 11
Japan
Britain
100
90
80
70
annual
60
50
festivals
40
30
monthly
20
10
0
religious
attendance
reigious
affilitaion
belief in
God
religious
attendance
religious
affiliation
belief in
God
percentage population 2000
Steve Hollinghurst Jan 11
Consumer Christianity?
Steve Hollinghurst Jan 11
Consumer Christianity?
• God the cosmic therapist?
• Cruise liner – or Battleship?
John Wimber
• Church shopping?
– Looking for what I get out of it
– Looking for the one that does things my way
• Buying religious product?
–
–
–
–
Baptisms & weddings
Rosaries
Retreats
Christmas Carols
Steve Hollinghurst Jan 11
I am the way the truth and the life
• John 14:1-17 in today’s culture.
• Parallels with John 1 – I AM – Jesus as the
expression of God’s Character as Grace and Truth
• The Way the Truth and the Life all expressions of
Jesus Character rather than doctrines about him
• But none of that changes the reality that he is the
expression of God in the way and not a way, a
truth and a life but The way, The truth and The life
• Modern pluralism does not affirm different faiths.
• Assuming that God is at work in all but all need
Christ whilst admitting we can’t know we haven’t
got this wrong is the way of grace and truth
Steve Hollinghurst Jan 11
Who are on the way?
Bounded set ? Or..
Steve Hollinghurst Jan 11
Who are on the way?
Bounded set ? Or…….Centred Set?
Steve Hollinghurst Jan 11
Who are on the way?
Bounded set ? Or…….Centred Set?
Steve Hollinghurst Jan 11
Religion in post-modernity
• Religion expresses the issues facing culture
(Strauss, Durkheim)
• Religion as expression of consumer choice
– New Age? Prosperity Gospel? Spirituality?
• Religion as celebration of ontological
violence
– New Atheism vs. fundamentalism?
• Religion as an answer to the problem of unity
and diversity
– Contemporary Paganism? Gaia?
Steve Hollinghurst Jan 11
Lessons for sharing faith
• People increasingly come to faith through experience rather
than changing thinking
• People want to grow spiritually and will take support in this
seriously
• Sharing faith is welcomed. Telling others what they share is
wrong simply closes the conversation
• People aren’t interested if Christianity is true but if it is
inspiring and life changing
• with the internet everything is public be consistent
• We need to know how we will handle issues of gender, the
environment, evil, other-faiths
• Avoid Christian language like sin, salvation, redemption etc
people don’t understand it or misunderstand it – but we still
need to talk about them but with different words
• We need to live as if what we say really does work
• Remember God transforms people not Christians
Steve Hollinghurst Jan 11
A Religionless Evangelism is?…..
• Not getting people to Church ………………..….……..
but getting people to be Church
• Not taking God to people …………………………………
but seeing what he is already doing in their lives
• Not first about getting people into heaven ……………
but getting heaven into people
• Not saving people from the world ..…………………..
but allowing God to transform them
as part of a plan to transform the world also
Your Kingdom come your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven
Steve Hollinghurst Jan 11
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