Showing posts from October, 2008

Praying for our culture

I have had scant energy or time lately to post to the blog. Other assignments have exhausted my expressive energy. One assignment into which I have poured a lot of energy is a prayer guide King's Harbor Church is using to lead people into prayer for our culture. Since the church is focusing on "cultural transformation," we have called it a Cultural Transformation Prayer Guide. It's a clever title, I know. :-)

The Prayer Guide brings up an interesting question. To what extent can we expect God to transform our culture? Doesn't the New Testament teach that cultures are beyond hope? I specify the NT, because the OT carries with it the clear hope that Israel will be the one human culture that displays the character of God.

But what about the NT? Let me throw out one side of the story -- a fairly pessimistic outlook that has been shared by many conservative Christians in America over the last 150 years or so.

Jesus makes no attempt to change Jewish culture, let alone t…

Having a plan to grow deep disciples

In the Great Commission, Jesus commands his disciples to "make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded" (Mt 28:16). Included in the "everything" must be the Great Commission itself. However, I wonder how well our churches do at fulfilling the whole Great Commission.

Many churches find themselves being good at one part or another of the Great Commission. They become specialists at evangelism ("make disciples") but cannot grow people deep in the faith. Or they become sacramental ("baptizing them") but not so good at bringing in new disciples. Or they specialize in equipping or discipling people ("teach them to obey"), but they drop the sacraments or have a hard time focusing on non-Christians.

How difficult is it to obey the whole Great Commission? If you ask Dallas Willard, it must be mighty difficult. In 1988 he lamented that a…