Friday, November 07, 2014

A source of American religious consumerism:

In the churches of Puritan New England, "Sunday after Sunday, week after week, year after year, even generation after generation, the same underlying narrative provided the interpretative horizon for reading and hearing the Scriptures. The narrative of Scripture was found in the order of salvation. Salvation, however, was not understood as individual participation within the biblical narrative that told how the God of creation made a promise to Abraham that was fulfilled in Jesus in order to bring about a witness in the life of the church as a foretaste of the new creation. Instead, salvation was limited to a story of the individual moving from sin to salvation to service in preparation for eternity in heaven. The spiritual movement of an individual's life became deeply encoded as the meaning of Scripture within the emerging European-based North American culture."
-- John W. Wright, Telling God's Story, 55.

Reformation Then and Now, Here and There:

In a recent post at The Gospel Coalition, Dr. Dan Doriani of Covenant Theological Seminary, reflects on a recent trip to Singapore to speak for Reformation Day. He reflects on the cultural gap between the post-medieval Europe of Luther's day and modern Singapore. What is so helpful in this reflection is his honesty about his own cultural biases. "My meditation on the distance from Luther and Singapore led me to ask if the gap between Luther and America might be just as great." What was initially seen as a gap between "us" (descendents of Europeans) and "them" (non-Europeans) is really a gap between "us" (post-modern, global Christians) and "them" (our mutual Christian forebears). Additionally, and importantly, this new distinction preserves the nuance of cultural difference, and the lens of Singapore becomes a useful means of examining the cultural predispositions of modern American Christians. Meanwhile, the varieties of cultures which participated in the Reformation are seen in some of their diversity, helping to distinguish the multitude of ways God uses various cultures' assets to build His Kingdom.