Sunday, January 11, 2015

Perhaps the best journal article I have read. . .

Harold Senkbeil is always a good read.  Now he has hit one out of the ball park in the current issue of the Concordia Journal.  Entitled "Engaging Our Culture Faithfully, this is perhaps the best journal article I have read.  Period.  It deals with the issue of church and culture and suggests, with good evidence, that the problem has not been our failure to listen to the culture but the church's paying too much attention to the culture.

You can read it in PDF in the entire journal download here. . .  It was first delivered at the Bjarne Wollan Teigen Reformation Lectures at Bethany Lutheran College and Seminary, Mankato, MN, Oct. 31 and Nov 1, 2013.  Thanks to the Concordia Journal for the reprint!!

He begins by suggesting that he was wrong -- 17 years ago he suggested that the problem facing Lutherans was the inroad of American Evangelicalism.  Now he suggests that the problem is not the secularization of culture but the secularization of the church.

What I am proposing as the best way for Christians to face contemporary challenges builds on Professor Walsh’s thesis: our problem is not so much the secularization of society as it is the secularization of the church. If that is true then the way for-ward is the way of the cross: first death, then resurrection. Perhaps the collapse of all things familiar and comfortable to us is not that disastrous. Perhaps it is the inevitable consequence of a church grown complacent and dependent on its addiction to the culture.
He walks us through the loss of virtue, the flight from reason, the debacle of individualism, the movement from Christ to Christian, and then suggests that we have been too successful at resonating with the beat of the world and now the chickens have come home to roost.  This is, in his view, a new Babylonian captivity of the Church.  The Church has lost her story, moved from chastity to decadence (in all areas of life), shifted from soul to self, and is guilty of acedia (usually translated sloth but in reality a disaffection and disillusionment from God's purposes and gifts).  He suggests a path to lead to the recovery of corporate life, an addiction treatment for our disease of evangelicalism, the renewal of preaching, and the rebirth of catechesis..  One of his most compelling areas is the recovery of prayer and meditation.  In the end he points us to Augustine and his own apology for the Church in the classic City of God.

I hesitate to comment much more because I do not want to substitute my words for Senkbeil's or to give you and excuse for NOT reading this profound and perceptive article.  Read it.  Read it again.  It is goooood!  Hard but good.

1 comment:

Janis Williams said...

Heard an audio article the other day from White Horse Inn. It was an interview with Os Guinness, who was saying virtually the same thing.