- Go Where?
The Church in the World
- I. Benediction:
- 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
problem" of "the relationship between Christianity
Niebuhr calls this "Christ and culture" and offers
five "types" of relationships:
- Christ against culture
- Christ of culture
(Abelard, Jefferson, Ritschl)
- Christ above culture
- 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
- 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)