An accidental blog

"If God is sovereign, then his lordship must extend over all of life, and it cannot be restricted to the walls of the church or within the Christian orbit." Abraham Kuyper Common Grace 1.1.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Keith Sewell @ Bristol

The audio for Keith Sewell's excellent talk at St Mike's, Stoke Gifford, Bristol is available here to listen to for a short time.

It can be downloaded from here.

Keith took a very broad brush view of church history and placed evangelical Christianity within a wider context. He emphasised the importance of history - it shapes and moulds us whether we realise it or not - it is better to be historically wise than ignorant!

There is a very large gap between where we are now and the first Christians. He then looked at some of the reasons for that. We have undergone three big shifts: Hellenistic infiltration into the early church; the Christianisation of the Roman Empire; and the collapse of the Roman Empire.

He posed a fascinating question: how has Islam shaped medieval-Christian culture?

The Reformation went a long way to bring Christianity in line with the scriptures, but it didn't go far enough.
Evangelicalism started with Count von Zinzendorf. 'The Count' was so opposed to arid intellectualism that he said, forget the head, go for the heart. Christianity is a religion of the heart but its never anti-head. The Count has given us a legacy of the heart - but under emphasised clear Christian thinking about everything- law, politics, the state, learning, science , medicine, art ...

Jesus never says follow me in private but the public is irrelevant, follow me in the emotional but not intellectual. it is not right to abridge or limit the claims to discipleship.

Privileging the heart over the head has underestimated the religious importance of human culture, art, literature, the way we dress, style, how we relate.

We have inherited a Bible-believing Christianity that does not read the Bible.

Christianity has become too much churchianity. No one can see what obedient participation in culture is about. What about a Christian Voters Association? How do we pursue justice? It is important to seek justice for those that are different to us. This is not deserting evangelism - it is evangelism; it is communicating the evangel.

We have a choice: a Christianity that is shaped by the world or a Christianity that is world shaping.

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