Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Let’s Discuss – Can We Change The World?

For my money James Davidson Hunter has been putting out the keen analysis of evangelicalism for the past thirty years. Now his life’s work is finding a focus in calling Christians of every confession, that is Baptists to Roman Catholics, to change the way the stand in relation to the surrounding culture. To Change The World: The Irony, Tragedy and Possibility of Christianity in a Late Modern World, Oxford University Press, 2010 calls us to abandon the enterprises that have been foisted on us by: The Christian Right (including the Roman Catholic Right), the Christian Left, and the neo-Anabaptists, and in their place to re-formulate what living as Christians in the world might mean. Hunter admits that this is a mammoth undertaking and that all he can provide is a sketch. But the sketch he provides is one of health and significance with a realism that can be followed. As well, his proposal actually could provide substance for the word “missional” without falling into the vagaries of what has rapidly became a cliché.

In a series of blogs I wish to explore and comment on Hunter’s book. I do not pretend to expound it completely for it is a dense book and deserves the careful attention of thinkers who are much more gifted than I. But I would like to add my affirmations, some caveats, and also begin to think about what the implications might be for local churches, and in particular local Alliance churches in Canada. To do that I will also present some autobiographical material so that the reader might know a bit of the context of my thinking.