Posts Tagged ‘culture’

From the Clash to the Renewal of Civilizations: A View from Jakarta

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013 by Amos Yong

JakartaThat the “clash of civilizations” thesis regarding the coming Armageddon between Islam and the West, including Christianity in the most apocalyptic scenarios, remains an ominous possibility is no less felt in Indonesia than it is in various pockets around the world. Yet my recent visit to Jakarta, including stops at International English Service, Harvest Theological Seminary, Seminari Bethel (affiliated with the Church of God, Cleveland), and Gereja Bethel Indonesia GLOW Fellowship (in the Serpong suburb), suggest to me that the church in Indonesia may be poised to make a substantive contribution to the next generation of renewal theology. Here are two major reasons for my cautious optimism. Read the rest of this entry »

Response to PCUSA Announcement on Gay Clergy

Thursday, May 12th, 2011 by Diane Chandler

A few months ago, I came across a vignette in a book that noted a discussion between an African and American clergyman.  The American clergyman was sharing how the American church has become more lenient toward homosexuality and that it was counter-cultural to voice any disapproval on the issue.  The African clergyman was perplexed, believing that what the Bible said about homosexuality is true and that the growing laissez-faire stance of the American church on this issue was cause for great concern.  The African clergyman responded, “If you do not believe the Bible, then why did you bring it to us in the first place?”

As reported by the New York Times, the national assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) of 2.1 million members voted 205 to 56, with 3 abstentions, to eliminate the celibacy requirement for unmarried clergy in its constitution on Tuesday, May 10, 2011, opening the door for the gays to openly serve as ordained clergy. This vote reverses a decision made two years ago where the majority of presbyteries voted against the measure. The change takes effect on July 10, 2011.  The PCUSA follows in the footsteps of the Episcopal Church in 2003, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in 2009, and other denominations caving into continual gay and lesbian advocacy and the tide of cultural acceptability.

On their website, the PCUSA, headquartered in Louisville, offered both before and after wording comparisons:  Read the rest of this entry »

Theology in the Rearview Mirror–Let go of the parking brake!

Monday, January 3rd, 2011 by Wolfgang Vondey

Don’t say theology is hip. Or cool. Or whatever you call it. You know: belonging to the stuff that is hotly debated; fast on the tracks of the latest developments; culturally and politically informed. Contemporary theology is many things, but being ahead of the crowd is not one of them. Theology is what you see in the rearview mirror. While everything else is racing in hot pursuit of the crucial topics, theology has a hard time keeping up. The old boiler is steeming, the engine is coughing … but don’t kid yourself. Among the Porsches and Ferraris of today’s scene, theology simply puts on the parking brake. Read the rest of this entry »

When in Rome…

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010 by James Flynn

The Western world is in a time of cultural change so dynamic that our time could be compared to the Renaissance or the Reformation. Just as with the shifts in culture that occurred more than five hundred years ago, technology is once again driving this change. Will the church react as it has in times past, retreating from change to take cover or ignoring change so as not to become stained by the world? If so, then the church is retreating from one of the greatest opportunities to reach people with the gospel that has ever existed.

Huge cultural shifts can be scary things for people. Culture is the way we know, experience, and understand our world. Culture’s written and unwritten rules help us to construct reality, and when culture’s fabric changes, the result is a cultural earthquake that upsets our very basis for understanding life. When the old rules of culture change, people become insecure and look for answers. Again I ask, will the church retreat to try to keep itself pure and safe, or will it earn its right to answer some of the world’s questions by conversing with culture and speaking the new language? As J. Randall Nichols once observed, “. . . people do not have a burning desire to hear about the Jebusites.” That is, unless the Jebusites can help us live life better today. Read the rest of this entry »