Rooted Faith in a Changing World: A Pastor's Perspective

(system) #1

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

(Christy Hemphill) #2

I love it when BioLogos posts articles about missiology. :slight_smile:

My NT prof Dr. Ericson used to say every day, most of the NT was written because “churches had problems.” Modern science and technology may have dumped some problems on our churches but we are no less equipped than the church in Jerusalem or Corinth or Rome or Galatia to face our questions and chaos with grace and confidence that the Holy Spirit will lead us forward through the disturbance.

Nice reflection, thanks Jason Miller.

(Randy) #3

Do not say, “Why were the old days better than these?” For it is not wise to ask such questions.Ecclesiastes 7:10 :slight_smile:
Well said.

(David Heddle) #4

I like to preach (mostly ineffectively) that things are not worse now. They are actually better. For one thing, there is virtually universal access to the Word in the vernacular. And churches are not demonstrably more apostate than in previous times, as Christy’s Dr. Ericson taught, if I understand correctly. The church at Corinth, a decade old and founded by an apostle, had problems that would make a modern church blush, in a manner of speaking. And the Galatians were falling under the spell of a false gospel of works. No, things were not better, even in apostolic times.


But how do we continue to manipulate, shoot, I mean, motivate people without that fear that the world is consistently getting worse all the time and that the old days were better?

(Andrew M. Wolfe) #6

Make Christendom Great Again, baby

(RiderOnTheClouds) #7

Christianity is actually ‘growing’ across the world, not shrinking, it is only shrinking in the west, and even then, I predict a revival.

(Mervin Bitikofer) #8

I think you landed on the strategy right there, fmiddle, only you got it out of order:

First you attempt the gentle motivation, then when that doesn’t work you try manipulation, and only as a last resort do we shoot them. We are Christians after all, so it’s important to get the order right there! :joy:

(Randy) #9

I agree. Birth rates are dropping in the West; there is some evidence that Christianity is growing faster than Islam by conversion (but that varies; at least, it’s not far different, I think). The Nones are not reproducing fast, and by the Pew review, the nonreligious will shrink as a result.

It’s important for groups like Biologos to make sure that the foundation is strong for the growth and maintenance of that.

(RiderOnTheClouds) #10

I think that’s because they lack the taboo on contraception

(Mervin Bitikofer) #11

Growth and maintenance of what exactly?

It would be interesting to know what portion of today’s “Nones” are deconverted Christians and what portion of them are “native Nones” in continuity with their parents’ rejection of organized religion. I’m afraid that one of the biggest allies the Nones may have may be Christians themselves using all manner of bizarre theories and ideas to shew people away from religious faith.

People like Anne Lamott show that these “deconversions” go both ways as she grew up with stridently anti-religious parents, but now embraces Christian faith.

(Randy) #12

that’s an interesting question. Why do we go to a given faith? It comes back to God really looking at our hearts–we may not be able to parse out the reasons, or even know why we don’t accept a given faith. This world is so complicated, that we can’t figure out everything very well. He’s patient with us. And some of us go through doubt, and atheism/agnosticism, and some of us get inspiration, like Ann Lamott.


(Randy) #13

in addition, there’s some thought that people with unstable economic status have more children because of the high death rate; Ethiopia’s improved economic status seems to go along with a lower birth rate. However, there are all sorts of theories–with India’s increased female literacy to 60%, it appear their birth rate has decreased, too. Interesting, anyway.


I believe birth rates have decreased everywhere economic status (viability) improves. I don’t know about causation, but there is currently an “epidemic of testosterone loss” in North America. Correlation? Causation?

(Randy) #15

Good cartoon! Non sequitur–, maybe. :slight_smile:

There seems to be a difference among some groups–the Amish and the “quiverfull” movement among fundamentalist Christians, for example–but the Amish stop school at 8 th grade and are often farmers, requiring a large labor force.

Aliens is always a good shot–in medicine, we say, when we don’t know the answer–sarcoid, which can affect every portion of the body. :slight_smile:

(Phil) #16

So sarcoid is the new syphilis? ( actually not so new, I’m just that old.)

I would agree, though political events of recent weeks make me wonder. It does give you hope to know we are part of the kingdom of God and not of man.

(Randy) #17

Oh we were told that too about syphilis. :slight_smile: