The comment below is to a friend about one of his friends. It is easy to know what the friend of my friend doesn’t believe (it includes some of the silliness I don’t believe), but tough to know what he believes. Here’s the analogy I came up with:
At the end of it all I scratch my head every time wondering what he still believes. He states various presuppositions, but it seems he holds to a faith so tentative that it is difficult to see any scandal of the cross. Lots of bad meat is sliced off our theological turkey, but it seems we won’t be eating any meat at his house. Instead, it looks like he is only keen on using the carcass for spiritual soup.
I trust several of you are wrestling with what Rod Dreher has dubbed The Benedict Option. Much needed conversation, with quite a bit of feisty debate is being spawned by Dreher’s book. I will be reviewing Dreher’s book and a few others which are being called “alarmist” by some, but for now let me direct your attention to a terrific essay by Alan Jacobs (my gratitude to Bill Bridgman for bringing this to my attention). If you don’t read the entire thing, then chew on this:
In 1974, when the great bishop-theologian Lesslie Newbigin retired from his decades of labor in the Church of South India, he and his wife decided to make their way back to their native England by whatever kind of transportation was locally available, taking their time, seeing parts of the world that most Europeans never think of: from Chennai to Birmingham by bus. Newbigin would later write in his autobiography, Unfinished Agenda, that everywhere they went, even in the most unlikely places, they found Christian communities—with one exception. “Cappadocia, once the nursery of Christian theology, was the only place in our whole trip where we had to have our Sunday worship by ourselves, for there was no other Christian to be found.”
If the complete destruction of a powerful and beautiful Christian culture could happen in Cappadocia, it can happen anywhere, and to acknowledge that possibility is mere realism, not a refusal of Christian hope. One refuses Christian hope by denying that Jesus Christ will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, not by saying that Christianity can disappear from a particular place at a particular time.
As quoted in Alan Jacobs, “The Benedict Option and the Way of Exchange,” First Things, March 20, 2017
Many American Evangelicals mistake the American variety of Anglicanism for either the British variety, or worse still, the liberal Episcopalian church. The Anglican Church North America (ACNA) is decidedly under the authority of Scripture and quite clear about the work of Christ on the cross.
I now gladly attend an Anglican church, but I am not Anglican. There are four major reasons I give to those wondering why we shifted from low church evangelicalism to the Anglican church: an intentional theology of the body (and the physical world), a conscious tie to the whole church throughout its history and in the world today, truly keeping primary doctrines primary which translates to giving much space to differ over a variety of non primary doctrines, and a protection against personality cults emerging with respect to the ministers. Much could be said about those things and perhaps later I will offer more details…
Here’s a snippet from my interview with Larry Hurtado of the University of Edinburgh:
Moore: It’s become somewhat of a self-evident truth that early Christianity only appealed to the down and out. Is that accurate to the historical record?
Hurtado: For several decades now that old notion has been discredited among scholars of early Christianity. Studies of the people named and described in earliest Christian texts show that, right from the earliest years, they included craftsmen, merchants, and owners of businesses. Of course, there were also slaves and poor among believers. By at least the second century, there were also believers from upper levels of Roman society. That upward progress socially is likely part of what prompted pagan sophisticates such as Celsus to attack Christianity so vehemently.