Christlike within a pluralistic society


(Andi) #1

Hi,

I’ve been recently making notes on the various questions I am often asked by young students and adults in secondary schools and colleges. A general theme for me has emerged and I would be interested in other people’s perspectives and experiences, resources and the like.

It appears that we have grown to become more open and accepting of diversity (difference in human sexuality, science/evidence outside of the bible, pluralistic society) This has almost become a norm. Whilst this is not a negative thing embracing diversity, the question emerging for me within this is how we discover the truth and hold on to it, and share it within a pluralistic society that continually requires us to be accepting of difference, though this may prove challenging biblically for a Christian. Growing up, I recall still being very much influenced by the Christian tradition, Sunday schools, morning prayer at assemblies and many uniformed groups pretty much run by the church/Christian faith. As society has changed, we no longer have that legacy and often find when working with young people, they have very little knowledge of any faith let alone Christianity. Therefore, in a ‘post Christendom world’ basic ground work has to be done before a meaningful conversation is abled, yet young people are largely influenced and are knowledgeable by the working of a pluralistic society that see our Christianity beliefs as increasingly irrelevant?

So, how do we discover ‘truth’ and impact society with the truth in a none threatening way.

I am not looking for book referrals but more people’s experiences and understanding.


(SeanO) #2

@Andi I agree that many people lack that foundation, yet I also agree with you that the Gospel is as relevant as it ever has been to the human heart. So how do we bridge that gap between Christ and culture? In my personal experience, I have seen the advice given by Os Guiness and Tim Keller confirmed. Tim Keller makes the point that everyone of us adopts our beliefs for three core types of reasons:

  • rational (logical arguments)
  • social (a sense of belonging)
  • emotional (meeting the felt needs of our hearts)

The most powerful apologetic to a modern culture is to invite them into a loving community of people where they can have their difficult questions answered and their needs met - the convergence of all three of these reasons.

Guiness adds to this foundation the idea that people experience ‘signals of transcendence’ in their life that point them to God and effectively convert them from being content in their current beliefs to being seekers. It is our job as apologist to understand whether the person with whom we are talking is a seeker or is in need of experiencing signals of transcendence. Seekers need answers and community. People content in their current beliefs need, if God is willing, to experience signals of transcendence through our words and actions.

When I have personally seen unbelievers come to Christ, there was often a signal of transcendence that set them on a search for God and the an intersection with a caring Christian community that took the time to address their questions.

Testimony and Advice from Rosaria Butterfield

Rosaria was a gay activist who was opposed to Christianity but came to Christ through the love of a pastor and his wife. I think her testimony is a great example of how to engage people with truth, community and love. She also offers some advice to Christians trying to reach out to those lost in these types of belief systems.

Some Thoughts from Os Guiness

I finished reading Os Guiness’ book “Fool’s Talk: Recovering the Art of Christian Persuasion” only two months ago and it is a brilliant exposition of exactly the question you want to address. Guiness argues that because society no longer accepts Christian norms, we must recover the art of Christian persuasion. We must persuade people, in love, to open their hearts and minds to Christ.

“far too much Christian evangelism and apologetics is based on the assumption that almost everyone is open, interested and needy—when most people most of the time are quite simply not.”

“apologists we are never out simply to establish an idea or to prove a theory. We stand as witnesses to a Person who is love, and out of our own love for him we are introducing others to being known and loved by him, so that they can know and love him in their turn. Without love, as St. Paul has told us, apologists too are only noisy gongs and clanging cymbals.”
Os Guinness, Fool’s Talk: Recovering the Art of Christian Persuasion

Tim Keller’s Talk at Google

A great example of persuasively reaching out to a generation that does not accept basic Christian ideas.

A Few Connect Threads You May Find Useful

https://connect.rzim.org/t/faithful-and-relevant/469

https://connect.rzim.org/t/gender-selection-the-choice-is-ours-now/255

May Christ grant you wisdom and success as you reach out to others with His love and truth! Hope those resources were helpful.


Can we find common ground with progressive Christians?
(Bill) #3

When I click on the “connect links” I receive the following message:

Sorry, you don’t have access to that topic!

How may I gain access?

Bill


(Andi) #4

SeanO,

Thank you, really useful reflection and resources. I also have Os Guinness book, Fools Talk which I am about to read during the summer break. I have just finished Agasint the Flow by John Lennox, so very much looking forward to Os’ book based on your response.

It will be great if I can access the links attached also, only get a denied access page.

I’ll digest the content of this reply and links further, but thank you for replying.

Andi


(Carson Weitnauer) #5

Hi Bill,

Those links go to Topics in our Members Lounge. That area is only available after you reach trust level 2 as a participant. We do this to provide an area for the most committed members of Connect to share with one another.


(SeanO) #6

@Andi Glad it was helpful :slight_smile: Yes, I think you will really enjoy the book.

Feel free to keep discussing if any more questions or thoughts come to mind. Connect is all about keeping the discussion going and learning from one another.

I’ll have to check out Lennox’s book - have not read that one, but I’ve definitely enjoyed the other books I have read by him.

Was watching Bible Project and I think their explanation of the book of Titus actually provides a helpful perspective on how Paul’s advice gives us wisdom on how to see transformation in a very godless society.


(Andrea Sutton) #8

Against the Flow, by John Lennox was a game changer for me. I work in a major corporation - and Lennox’s gifted teachings about Daniel in Babylon, the most impressive, techno advanced place in the World at that time, changed my life. Daniel stood for God in the most unGodly place. I think you will love that study.


(Andi) #9

Have now finished John Lennox’ book. Onto his next now whilst reading Os Guiness - great reads and resources for our modern society.