The Gospel of the Kingdom (4)

Alan Streett’s book, Heaven on Earth: Experiencing the Kingdom of God in the Here and Now (Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House, 2013), is nicely laid out along canonical lines. By this I mean that he surveys his subject following the arrangement of the biblical canon, starting with Genesis, and then working his way through the mountain tops of the Old Testament. … Read More

The Gospel of the Kingdom (1)

Every Christian I know agrees that the gospel is essential to Christianity. It is “the power of God to salvation” (Romans 1:16). We know the word gospel means “good news” but what is this good news really about? And what is salvation? Is it escape from earth, life in heaven, missing hell, having our sins forgiven, or inviting Jesus into … Read More

What Does God Require of Us?

What does God ask of us? God asks that Christians be true disciples. If you are a disciple you will follow Jesus with your heart, mind, soul and strength. And you will not “just do it” as Nike famously says. This cannot be done all alone by your hard work. You were not redeemed to pursue God’s kingdom alone. You … Read More

Living and Ancient-Future Faith in Babylon (5)

The words of Jeremiah 29:6 are rather shocking if you get the context and historical moment right. God is telling his people that they will be in this state for a long time thus they should become active in the culture of Babylon, not separatists who go private. When we are not sure whether we will be somewhere for very … Read More

The Church As God's Social Strategy (3)

The second form of the church – political/social – is called the conversionist church. This form argues that no amount of tinkering with the structures of society or state will adequately counter the effects of human sin. What is needed is the conversion of individuals. The promises of secular optimism are false because they too quickly bypass the biblical call … Read More

Why Politics Matters and How We Got the Wrong End of the Stick (4)

Readers of James Davison Hunter’s magnificent critique of how Christians have sought to transform culture in America will know that he critiques Stanley Hauerwas and Jim Wallis unfavorably, just as he does conservative icons Charles Colson and Richard John Neuhaus. Hunter argues for what he calls, in a memorable phrase, “faithful presence” – which he defines as an ideal of … Read More

Why Politics Matters and How We Got the Wrong End of the Stick (2)

It has become our unquestioned assumption, in the modern American context, that we have the “right’ to develop our potential to the fullest extent possible. This assumption is constantly fed by pop-psychology and a goodly number of new unexamined religious ideas. We are a culture in love with power and the power we love is our own to be very … Read More

Living as Aliens in Post-Christendom Culture (5)

Christian sociologist James Davison Hunter has written one of the most important studies of what it means to be faithfully present in the modern, increasingly post-Christendom world that I have been describing over the last two weeks. His magisterial book, To Change the World: The Irony, Tragedy and Possibility of Christianity in the Late Modern World (Oxford, 2010, has helped … Read More

Living as Aliens in a Post-Christendom Culture (2)

If living the Christian life as “aliens” really describes Christian community/church then we can understand why we are a “colony of heaven” in a “strange” land. The biblical portrait of the Christian church is one in which the church “exists for mission as fire exists for burning” (Emil Bruner). This gives us our clear identity. The DNA of such “aliens” … Read More

Living as Aliens in a Post-Christendom Culture (1)

I suggested in my series last week, “The Babylonian Captivity of the Church,” that Christians were called by God in Christ to live as “a colony of heaven” (Philippians 3:20). Because of this calling we are to live as God’s new creation, thus as “aliens and exiles.” This is clearly the same point made by the apostle Peter when he … Read More