Go Where? The Church in the World
I. Benediction: Worship's Conclusion We leave the assembly assured of God's blessings (Num. 6:22-27)
Why do we have to leave? Where do we go?
Worship re-members us; we go into the world, still remembering
II. H. Richard Niebuhr's Christ and Culture
The "enduring problem" of "the relationship between Christianity and civilization"
Niebuhr calls this "Christ and culture" and offers five "types" of relationships:
Christ against culture (Tertullian, Tolstoy)
Christ of culture (Abelard, Jefferson, Ritschl)
Christ above culture ("synthesists") (Aquinas)
Christ and culture in paradox ("dualists") (Luther)
Christ transforming culture ("conversionists") (Augustine, Calvin)
Postscript: Christ's transcendence endorses no one over the others
III. John Howard Yoder's "Radical Catholicity" John Howard Yoder's "How H. Richard Niebuhr Reasoned":
"Christ and culture" is docetic, modalistic, reductionistic
Niebuhr's typology subtly pushes the reader to the transformationist type
The postscript's relativism leaves us in charge of freely choosing on our own
The typology's "church" is society; its eschatology is "progress"
Yoder's typology of visions of being "a people in the world":
Theocratic, focusing on the society, judged by its effectiveness
Politics is the life of the state (Sadducees, Herodians, Zealots)
Spiritualist, focusing on the spirit, judged by its piety
Politics is isolationist cooperation with the status quo (Pharisees, Essenes)
Believers', focusing on the fellowship, judged by its faithfulness
Politics is the life of the Church as public challenge (Jesus, disciples)
Cf. Ernst Troeltsch's church/mystical/sect typology (without the progression)
All of these types can be Catholic, Protestant, and Pentecostal
Has Niebuhr's "enduring problem" been answered? Is it still worth answering?
IV. Is There an Alternative to Constantinianism and Anti-Constantinianism? Both Constantinianism and anti-Constantinianism seem to forget about Israel
Salvation is for (political) Israel, through the world (Isa. 45, cf. Acts 15-18)
Jesus lives Israel's story right
The Church lives in the eschatological, Christ-redeemed history of Israel
The world lives in God's eschatological judgment of Israel's enemies
Human institutions are laid waste (Rev. 18) ...
... yet enter the Holy City (Isa. 60, cf. Rev. 21:1-22:5)
Rules and authorities and powers are destroyed (1 Cor. 15:24) ...
... yet the nations' judged kings pay tribute to the King of Israel (Rev. 21)
Is this happening now? (Rom. 15:7-32; cf. Deut. 32:43, Isa. 11:10, 52:15)
V. Church and World: Transforming H. Richard Niebuhr Niebuhr should have written
Church and World, not Christ and Culture Niebuhr identifies a "double-movement" between the two
The five are eschatological locations of the Kingdom relative to the world
Only "Church transforming world" maintains the double movement
and respects the nations' and rulers' eschatological submission to Israel
Church acts differently in different eschatological contexts (Rom. 13, Rev. 13)
VI. "The Liturgy After the Liturgy" Benediction offers an ethic for public life ("the liturgy after the liturgy")
Yoder's baptist ethic: "Seek the peace of the city" (Jer. 29:7)
Mouw's Calvinistic ethic: "Seek the City which is to come" (Heb. 13:14)