Автор: Dr Bryan F. Hagerman
Category: Личное свидетельство
“The Christian Church and the Marketplace”
In an age of rapidly growing insecurity, uncertainty and fragmentation, the non Christian world searches intently for something genuine and authentic to grab hold of as a place of security and hope. This has perhaps never been truer than now as various Christian denominations face immorality within, creating pain without, and for the watching world more distrust, more cynicism. But there is hope! We are reminded of the exhausted polar bear, who upon swimming for hours on end finally discovered what she had been looking for, a large piece of solid and secure ice in a sea of otherwise open and dangerous waters. There she finally and happily rested secure.
The church does have something authentic and true to offer a waiting, watching, and disgruntled world. It is the hope of Christ, found in his life, death, and resurrection. The hope that we speak about however may need to be better proclaimed with less talk and more action. A viable witness expressed in how we live authentically and consistently is key. N T Wright calls this “living christianly.” This may be the best defence (apologetic) of our faith. With spirituality placed at the center in this new age, Christianity does have something dynamic and life changing to offer. It will be best expressed genuinely, visibly, and always in community.
In his latest book entitled “After You Believe,” Wright offers an exciting approach to authentic Christian behaviour. It is his view that the transformed character of the believer is vital. This character is revealed in the three primary virtues found within the Gospel message. These are; faith, hope and love. The expressed visual for these virtues are the fruit of the Spirit, as enumerated in Galatians 5(22-23). They are; “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self control.”
It is Wright’s further contention that believers can best exemplify this fruit through spiritual transformation, in partnership with the Holy Spirit. This new character begins to blossom when the old habits of an old nature are replaced with the habits of a new nature. With intentional practice, work, and God’s grace, these habits slowly become our new second nature. As our minds are spiritually rewired we are transformed. Transformed believers become a living, breathing, and powerful apologetic. Again it is solely by the Spirit of God and through his grace that we are transformed. But there will be hard work on our part! The best defence for our faith then is expressed in the ongoing and authentic life transformation. This transformation enables the Christ like reactions which allow those around us to have a second look at Jesus.
But what does this transformed life look like? It will be seen in how we handle the various stresses of life as an alternative to how the world handles those same stresses. It will be evidenced in how we react on the spur of the moment. Then there is the love equation and perspective. Agape love is a selfless, other centered love. It is a love that considers God first, others second, and as you would want yourself considered. In approaching each day with this in mind, our faith becomes a powerful apologetic.
The church is meant to be an alternative community, measured along side all of the others. At the end of the day those around us who struggle to find a solid place in the midst of troubled waters, can find that hope based upon our own ongoing spiritual transformation. It is through the renewal of our mind that this takes place. As this spiritual re-formation develops and grows we show the way to genuine faith, hope and love.
Ключевые слова: Church as Apologetic