There’s a good, brief interview with Ken Myers, here in ‘The Christian Post’, in which Myers says that ‘it's not “the culture,” as we often hear, that poses the most significant challenge for the church today. It’s the culture of the church’.
‘What I mean’, he goes on to say, is that ‘we have reduced the Gospel to an abstract message of salvation that can be believed without having any necessary consequences for how we live. In contrast, the redemption announced in the Bible is clearly understood as restoring human thriving in creation’.
‘Redemption is not just a restoration of our status before God through the life and work of Jesus Christ, but a restoration of our relationship with God as well. And our relationship with God is expressed in how we live. Salvation is about God’s restoring our whole life, not just one invisible aspect of our being (our soul), but our life as lived out in the world in ways that are in keeping with how God made us. The goal of salvation is blessedness for us as human beings. In other words, we are saved so that our way of life can be fully in keeping with God’s ordering of reality.’
Asked how the church has been too influenced by the broader culture, Myers response with four point for starters:
• The way in which the dominant role of technology in our lives promotes the deep assumption that we can fix anything
• The way in which proliferating mechanisms of convenience erodes the virtues of patience and longsuffering
• The way in which the elimination of standards of public propriety and manners undermines assumptions about the legitimacy of authority and deference to the communal needs
• The way in which the high prestige accorded to entertainers creates the conviction that every valuable experience should be entertaining
He goes on to talk about ‘relevance’, the church being held captive by so-called ‘youth culture’, and the importance of helping people mature in Christ.
He finishes with Robert Wilken’s point that ‘the principal way in which the early Church leaders sustained cultural influence was by discipling its members, by conveying to them that the call of the Gospel was a call to embrace a new way of life’.