Postmodern, Open-minded Churches

postmodern, emergent churchEschatology can direct priorities. Postmillennialism directs its attention to what we are doing now to ‘immanentize the eschaton”, i.e. bring in the kingdom. Verses like Matthew 6:9-10; 24:14, and 2 Peter 3:12 do indicate that we participate in God’s move to bring in the kingdom to earth. The mechanisms of the advent of God’s kingdom in postmillennialism, however, are mundane, anthropocentric, and naturalistic.

  • Instead of evangelism there is social involvement.
  • Instead of preaching there is participating.
  • Instead of doctrine there is development.
  • Instead of conversion there is conversation.
  • Instead of building up the church there is building up the world.

Here is Hans Küng on not selling out the Christian reality in all our getting involved:

It may seem like a caricature, but there is considerable truth in the picture of uncommonly open-minded Churches which go in for action instead of prayer, get actively involved everywhere in society, subscribe to all manifestos, identify themselves with all possible enterprises and- whenever possible- take part in revolutions, at least by supporting them in words from a distance; meanwhile, nearer home, the churches are becoming emptier, the sermon is acquiring a new function and the Eucharist is more and more forgotten, with the result that community worship- deliturgized and detheologized- degenerates into a sociopolitical discussion and action group…

–On Being a Christian, pp. 32-33

2 thoughts on “Postmodern, Open-minded Churches

  1. I agree, Kyle.
    Living in Brazil I can tell you that the degraded circumstances that a vast majority of modern day Christianity finds itself in (at least here), are ever worsening. In this country where political and social unrest seem to be manifesting themselves in a more extreme way recently, young university students are not the only ones taking the opportunity to express what they think; Pastor So-and-so has a lot to say, too. With more frequency the pulpit is changing its function from a place from which the Word of God should be presented to man, to a platform where the opinions of political, social, and personal injustices are fed to the masses and are then wrapped up with a couple of verses and a prayer; like a holiday gift. It is impressive to see how the elections here have so many pastors running for political offices. Maybe their intentions are to try to create a community that reflects what they have read in the Word concerning the kingdom. This is noble of them, but we must see that the only solution to problematic, fallen, corrupt human government is a certain “Stone cut without hands”. As you briefly talked about in another blog, in Christ’s second coming, He will resolve all of these problems: http://lifeandbuilding.com/2013/04/25/seven-unsolvable-problems-psalm-72/.

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    • Thanks for the insight from a Brazilian perspective from someone who’s there now. South America because of the glaring social and economic inequalities has for the last 50 years been a breeding ground for liberation theology, which tries to address those problems. Of course both left and right, social gospel (from postmillennialism) and fundamentalists (from premillennialism) have embraced politics. Of the 117 resolutions passed by the Southern Baptist Convention at their annual meeting since 2000, 70 of them have been political. So postmodern churches aren’t the only ones in danger of compromising their calling.

      Jonathan Merritt had a good post on this danger for the SBC camp recently. Here’s an excerpt:

      “During the last 25 years, the Southern Baptist Convention has rushed headlong into conservative politics, often parroting Republican talking points and baptizing the GOP’s agenda.”

      http://jonathanmerritt.religionnews.com/2013/06/11/what-southern-baptists-must-do-to-slow-their-decline/

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