A Rent Fabric

#messageCanvas_40B5E202_0113_1000_8021_14C9AE899F5A_6241 {color: #000000; font-family: ‘Lucida Grande’, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 11px; line-height: 15px; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; background:#ffffff; } I just finished Richard Lints’ The Fabric of Theology in which he concludes how evanglicals move from a theological framework (how to read the Scriptures) to a theological vision (how the Scriptures apply to life). There are three pieces of a problem that Lints’ brings to light as pertains to our lack luster performance in theology.

1. Cultural Pluralism: With so many cultures in our world tossed together as neighbors, evangelicals have succumbed to the corners and implicitly heralded acceptation of all peoples’ faiths as the greatest virtue. It is not wrong to listen and learn what other cultures teach, but we mustn’t say that all paths are in the right direction. Rather than arguing for truth, evangelicals have whimpered, tucked their tale in between their legs, and kept their truth shut. Lints says, “Though most of the world’s religions are monopolistic in their worldviews, popular culture challenges all such claims to exclusivity not by assessing their truth or falsity but by preemptively dismissing truth as a relevant category of assessment” (p. 323).

2. Confessional Simplicity: “In the modern free market, truth does not always win out. The prize typically goes to whatever set of goods is packaged best” (p.325). That is, much of evangelicalism has not gone after profundity in their lives, rather they prefer to skim the surface and produce large amounts of converts. Mass production of sedans has translated into mass production of disciples. We roll them out through large productions of an Easter pageant, ask them to sign a card, and call them converted. We have settled for little more than hypocrisy. By settling for a scratch-and-sniff faith we have made actors out of people in deep need of cleansing. Jesus and his disciples become Willy Loman’s who pawn their wares in just the right light to get the buyer and close the sale. Yes, Christians have mastered the art of mass media, but we are still novices when it comes to life-on-life community living – filled with accountability, rebuke, exhortation, Scripture.

3. Cult of the Self: “Beyond the obvious example of the health-and-wealth gospel, the degree to which evangelicals have become consumed with the self is evidenced by the predominance of self-help manuals on the shelves of every evangelical bookstore, the trend toward pop psychology and analyzing the ‘inner self’ in evangelical radio programming, and, unfortunately, in the underlying framework of many evangelical ministries” (p.326). Ouch! This edition came out in 1993 and Lints didn’t get to experience the Jabez out-of-context-and-molded-to-a-comfort-fit-on-your-obese-foot prayer, Test-a-Mints (breath mints that make your breath smell good, make you feel like you are righteous, but does nothing for the heart problem from which your grotesque speech flows), Bible diet clubs, Christian Step-a-robics, etc – all to form our own sub-culture rather than diligently applying the Gospel to “Broke Back Mountain,” teletubbies, and Oprah (all of which have received cursing but not a reasoned response with Gospel-saturated living). Our Christianity has become more about me than about radical Kingdom expansion. The King of kings has been relegated to a bumper sticker. We love our slogans, but can’t stand to be around sinners…

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Filed under Christian Living, Church, Culture, Interpretation, Post-Modernity, Theology

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