Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Timeless at heart, or just up to date?

From C. S. Lewis's essay "Christian Apologetics" from God in the Dock p. 93-4.

Our business is to present that which is timeless (the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow) in the particular language of our onw age. The bad preacher does exactly the opposite: he takes ideas of our onw age and tricks the out in the traditional language of Christianity. Thus, for example, he may think about the Beveridge Report and talk about the coming of the Kingdom. The core of his thought is merely contemporary; only the superficies is traditional. But your teaching must be timeless at heart and wear a modern dress.

How are we doing on this these days? Read this essay by Douglas Groothuis and see what you think.


Anonymous said...

I tend to agree with Douglas Groothius here. We're not doing so hot in the arena of staying faithful as well as contemporary. Sometimes in order to be relevant (that is, not redundant) taking a stance contrary to the order of things taking for granted is required. People like Rick Warren, Joel Osteen, etc. definitely fall in the category of people who are contemporary but not faithful.

As for recent thinkers that I think have done an excellent job at staying true to the Christian message while taking advantage of context, I'd mention Emil Brunner as one outstanding example.

Mike Darus said...

Groothuis gripes about a worship service he attended. Then he coos about Guinness making similar observations. They both complain about the lack of good theology and the abundance of popular culture in the pulpit. They wish for the former days of somber worship music and sermons dripping with theology. I want to join their lament but I fear this is only the predictable groan of the passing of the church from one generation to the next. The new way seems watered down. A better balance would be analysis of the strengths of this up and coming new generation. We should celbrate the replacement of trite theological disputes with an emphasis on worship and spiritual experience. I am often challenged that knowing God is much more important than knowing how to properly list and define His attributes and their theological implications. It is much easier to criticize and complain than to launch a ministry. I suspect that if I buy and read the book, I will end up as frustrated as I was with "Why Men Hate Going To Church." There should be a rule that a book must have twice as many pages of how to do it right for the number of pages it offers critique.

Victor Reppert said...

I am sure I prefer Guinness Stout to Rick Warren Lite.