Monday 31 August 2009

Christianity Across Cultures

I’ve been asked by a local church to do a series of three lectures in the autumn on the relevance of Christianity in a multi-cultural society. The church has asked for some initial blurb, and I’ve put together this as a first draft…

This series of lectures will explore the challenges and opportunities of Christian discipleship and mission in the context of our changing political, economic and cultural context. The lectures will suggest that as Christians seek to engage with globalisation, we will be best equipped to do so by understanding the whole Bible, embracing the whole world, and involving the whole church.

1. A Whole-Bible Christianity
Biblical faith has always had a global dimension to it – from the creation of the world in Genesis to the promise in Revelation that all nations will walk in the light of the lamb of God. From beginning to end, Scripture reminds us that God’s plan for the nations is woven into his plan for his people. This lecture will survey how the Bible as a whole – in its ‘big story’ – portrays God’s intentions for humanity and his commitment to bless all nations.

2. A Whole-World Christianity
While Christianity is waning in the west, it is growing phenomenally in the global south. This shift in the centre of gravity is increasingly affecting the way biblical interpretation, the tasks of theological reflection, mission and church practice are conceived and carried out – in greater recognition of the phenomenon of Christianity as a global religion. This lecture will explore some of these implications of Christianity as a global faith.

3. A Whole-Church Christianity
Through the work of Christ, Christians are united to God and to one another in Christ’s church, where the dividing walls of gender, ethnicity, age, economic class and social status are broken down. This lecture will reflect on the mutual belonging that Christians share, with global family ties taking precedence over ethnic and national loyalties – and how this might work out in the life of the local church.

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