There’s a common theme in certain strains of Evangelicalism for the last 150 years that highlights the eternal conflict between the church and the larger world. Growing up in the hills of West Virginia, I saw this in my own religious experience with grandma and grandpa’s Church of Christ – no instruments, salvation only with baptism, and generally small congregations of believers. It was highlighted by all the small churches seen on the by-ways in the hollows featuring snake handling and their King James-only billboard proclamations in Appalachia.
While this view of the world is seductive (WE are good, THEY are evil), reality remains far more complex. No one protests church food pantries. The U.S. tax code grants certain exemptions specifically to ministers. Churches do not need to register (at least in the U.S.).
However, other aspects of the Christian faith are not as palatable. Salvation in Christ alone? Passe. Pro-life beliefs? Democratically unacceptable. Objective truth? Philosophically ludicrous.
So the question for today’s church in our society is how to relate to the larger culture in light of this tension between favor and disrepute. Over 8 weeks we will look at examples from the Intertestamental Period and the 1st c. CE to see how believers have dealt with these issues and examine our own presuppositions and cultural assumptions about who the church is, what we are called to do, and how we go about our daily lives. Check out the blog page for the lessons and recordings.
TR – 1/19/19