The CHURCH: A New Way to Promote What is Real

Ken Meyers prophet to the churchKen Meyers, who writes at Mars Hill Audio, is a leading voice calling the church to truly be the church, living and serving the nation so that its very culture is transformed. We have quoted Ken before.

Ken recently posted a penetrating three-minute monologue about the nature of true discipleship. His comments are a remarkable reflection of the DNA message regarding the task of the church in discipling the nations.

Ken’s message is well worth three minutes of your time. Here are some summaries to whet your appetite:

  • Christian teachers and writers frequently speak of “engaging the culture” or “reaching the culture.” But this obscures what culture is. If culture is a way of life how can we speak of “reaching” a way of life? Culture used this way seems to denote a group of people rather than the way of life shared by these people.
  • Is the church only a bearer of a message? Is it an educational, journalistic or advertising institution with a short, abstract set of propositions or claims to communicate? Do the claims of the church of Jesus Christ concern only personal sin and personal salvation? No, the church presents a way of life in the present.
  • [Quoting Leslie Newbigin] “A preaching of the gospel that calls men and women to accept Jesus as savior but does not make it clear that discipleship means commitment to a vision of society radically different from that which now controls our public life today must be condemned as false.”
  • The church properly understands itself as a people, not a club, clinic, show, service provider. The church’s task is to cultivate its members into disciples who observe everything their Lord has commanded. It sustains a way of life into which new members are brought, a culture which is in keeping with its Lord’s work in creation and redemption. The church’s way of life, its practices as well as its beliefs, will frequently be out of synch with the ways of this world. The church calls people to abandon their old allegiances and commissions them to confront dehumanizing cultural institutions in favor of forms that will honor their God and those who bear His image.
  • Discipleship is a work of alternative enculturation. [Quoting Andrew Davison] “To present the Christian faith is to present a new way to understand life and the world in which we live … a new way to understand what is real.”
  • This alternative understanding is incarnated in alternative cultural forms that are sustained across generations and when possible shared with our neighbors.

Go here to hear Ken’s talk.

- Gary Brumbelow

  
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7 Responses to The CHURCH: A New Way to Promote What is Real

  1. Erika says:

    “The church calls people to abandon their old allegiances and commissions them to confront dehumanizing cultural institutions in favor of forms that will honor their God and those who bear His image.” I wish the church in Uruguay would do more to “confront dehumanizing cultural institutions” mainly the use of Santeria in my country. From personal experience a very dangerous Religious tradition capable of killing and ruining many peoples’ lives. The only good that came from my experience is that I realized there are many more dimensions out there in the universe and if they were capable of ruining lives for a few dollars, I surely should be able to have a loving relationship with our Savior Jesus Christ.

    • admin says:

      Erika, one of the most important things I have learned from the DNA teaching is the importance of identifying the lies in the culture around us, and bringing to bear on those lies God’s truth. From your testimony I sense this is your own story, and if so, praise be to God. May you find joy and fruit as you follow His leading in the days ahead.
      Gary Brumbelow

  2. The Newbigin quote should read, “A preaching of the gospel that calls men and women to accept Jesus as savior but does NOT make it clear that discipleship means commitment to a vision of society radically different from that which now controls our public life today must be condemned as false.”

  3. Another great posting from DN and started thinking (a dangerous thing) Should we put so much focus on changing/transforming the culture around us or is it most prudent/productive to talk about simply focusing on helping the Church truly fulfill its role as Christ’s bride on earth? If we in the Church were truly living out our faith wouldn’t that naturally lead to the transformation of our surrounding culture just by being the example we should be?

    Takes me back to a conversation with a friend who has focused much of his energies on highlighting corruption in the Honduran government. But at the same time the churches in Latin America are nearly as corrupt as the government. So my question to him was what right does the church have (in Honduras) to point their finger at the government when they have just as much work to do in their own churches?! I think it was Brennan Manning who wrote a piece some years ago where he basically said the Church should really just shut up and take care of its own business. I believe the most influential impact the Church could have in whatever culture it finds itself is if “Christian” men simply loved their wives as Christ loved the Church.

    I’m not advocating that we give up on following a calling to be Christ’s witness in a secular setting or to advocate for the unborn, I simply believe too much of our energy is given to pointing the finger at the secular world deriding them as being evil and corrupt when the majority of our focus should be on ourselves and the Church and the problems we have that spring from our evangelical Gnosticism.

    • admin says:

      Mike

      It is good to hear from you. Glad you find DM&F to be thought provoking. Thanks for the comments.

      Here are some thoughts:
      - I agree with the statement that : If we in the Church were truly living out our faith that would naturally lead to the transformation of our surrounding culture just by being the example we should be.
      - But that is a big IF. As Christians we do not naturally live out our faith. We live out the un/under-stated “faith” of our culture.
      - Phillip E. Johnson, retired law professor at UC Berkley said: “Every one of us has a worldview, and our worldview governs our thinking, even when – especially when – we are unaware of it. It is not uncommon to find well-meaning evildoers, as it were, who are quite sincerely convinced that they are Christians, and attend church faithfully, and may even hold a position of leadership, but who have absorbed a worldview that makes it easy for them to ignore their Christian principles when it comes time to do the practical business of daily living.”
      - Too often we make assumptions that are not true. I think of the church growth movement and the rapid church planting movement. They assumed that if we simply plant more churches or grow larger churches that society would “automatically” be impacted. These were and are false assumptions.
      - Change in our own lives and communities will not occur without intentionality.
      - What is the role of the church in society? Is it simply to lead people to Christ, or is it to be the embassy of the kingdom of God and ambassadors of the King?
      - Our understanding of the role of the church is determined by the worldview we hold. An Evangelical-Gnostic worldview will produce a different understanding of the nature and role of the church than the Biblical worldview.
      - Yes, we need to get our own house in order. And that begins with repentance, jettison the sacred/secular divide in our minds and lives, and beginning to think and function within the framework of Truth – BWV.
      - And a healthy church will consciously contribute to a healthy society.

      Mike, thanks for the opportunity to engage.

      Darrow

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