The Gospel and Culture Project

November 19, 2008

 A fantastic new resource for those of you who are interested in the culture around you and how Christianity can transform that culture is the new Gospel and Culture Project. With recent articles on the Twilight books, the presidential elction, Rwanda, and other areas, you will find a wealth of well-written material here that speaks to the culture around us with a distinctly Christian voice. Here is more information about this ministry from their website:

Who we are

The Gospel & Culture Project (GCP) equips Christians to understand and apply the Gospel as truth capable of transforming human culture. We accomplish this through a group of interwoven initiatives:

Gospelandculture.org is an online community where specialists in specific areas of cultural interpretation and theological application dialogue with fellow believers about contemporary questions. The site also communicates about the ongoing work of the GCP and promotes its initiatives and events.

Forays are monthly gatherings held in the University City area of Philadelphia that explore aspects of contemporary life through the lens of the Christian faith.

Word Meets World will be a weekend, in-church seminar in which GCP staff equip people in churches to apply the Gospel to their daily lives and to important issues they face.

The School for Cultural Engagement will be a graduate school geared toward equipping lay people and those who are in, or plan to enter, professional ministry, to hone and develop their faith as a tool for responding to contemporary life. Students will receive a thorough grounding in theology and biblical studies, however, courses will be taught with an eye toward creating leaders who can enable others to thoughtfully apply their faith to the world around them.

The Gospel & Culture Center will house our offices, classrooms, a gallery space and media production space.

Origins

Dr. William Edgar, apologetics professor at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, developed the idea for the project more than a decade ago. In the intervening period, he pulled together a group of volunteers, then eventually a six-member board in 2007. During this period, the GCP offered a number of conferences and other types of gatherings focused on the application of the Christian faith to aspects of contemporary culture ranging from media, justice and politics to aesthetics and globalization.

The GCP was incorporated in 2007 as an independent nonprofit 501(c)3. In 2008, the GCP hired its first employee, Dr. Chris Simmons, as Executive Director. The GCP currently operates gospelandculture.org and Foray, and looks forward to launching World Meets World, The School for Cultural Engagement and The Gospel & Culture Center, as resources become available.

Distinctives

The GCP has two primary distinctives: 1) its theological rooting and 2) its core belief that the church’s calling includes fulfilling Scripture’s command to glorify God in this world by influencing it to more truly reflect his character.

These two distinctives go hand in hand. The GCP’s approach, known as cultural-redemptive theology, interprets the Bible as presenting an unfolding historical process that culminates in the coming of Christ’s kingdom.

This theology argues that all things cohere in Christ, who is the Lord of life and therefore of culture. History, as God ordains it, is moving toward a new creation — a new heaven and earth. At the center of this process is God redeeming us so that we might know and enjoy him and his world in this life and the next. A prime aspect of this knowing involves his speaking to us through his word. God guides us in how we may work in a world that is fallen, yet one in which he is at work. As a result, to understand culture in a cultural-redemptive framework is to understand that God can and will work with us and through us so that this world might more truly reflect his character.

As a result, we believe that the church can and must fulfill its calling to interact dynamically and thoughtfully with the key questions and issues our world faces.


For the Moment…

July 15, 2008

Al Mohler has a penetrating post on Thomas Beatie, once formerly Tracy, who appeared on Oprah and just recently gave birth. It is claimed this is the first man to give birth, yet Thomas still has the complete reproductive system of a woman. Regardless, society is constantly trying to confuse itself over gender and is making a mess out of it. They continually confuse and abuse what God has created ultimately trying to remake what apparently God did wrong. The church needs to understand the issues going on in society around them and preach the good news that God is the creator, soverign, good God of the universe. Who are we to tamper with what He has done?

My favourite line though is Mohler’s take on Oprah: “the television equivalent of a London tabloid.” Right on my friend.


Culture Shift by Al Mohler

January 21, 2008

 

Rarely do I pick up a non-fiction book and cannot put it down. Yet, when I picked up Al Mohler’s new book, Culture Shift, I could not put it down until I was done reading it. Granted, the book is really a brief introduction to Christianity’s influence on practical cultural issues (only 160 pages) but it was not the low amount of pages that made it a must-read, it was rather the content that was life changing for me.

Mohler, one of the greatest minds in the Evangelical church today, is President of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, KY. And while this may be his first book, it is hardly his first foray into writing. Amongst a plethora of articles and chapters for books, Mohler has an almost daily blog that deals with many cultural issues and how Christians are to respond. In fact, many of these chapters in his book, Culture Shift, were originally written for his blog. But, even if you have read these before, you must read them again.

We as Christians, Mohler notes, often take two approaches to our involvement with culture. Some take the extreme of non-involvment. For instance, hard lined Classical Dispensationalists may argue that we as Christians have no real responsibility to transform culture at all apart from the proclamation of the Gospel. Whereas, on the other side liberal theology becomes so involved with transforming culture that they neglect the actual mission of the church; evangelism.

So, the first thing that Mohler does in his book is articulate issues of culture, engagement, and the Christian’s responsibility to culture. The first five chapters then seek to introduce these issues, and defend a Christian’s engagement and involvement in culture and to denounce the concept of a purely secular culture. Mohler then begins to engage various issues with logical clarity, an unparalleled knowledge of society’s best writers, and an unfailing adherence to the Scriptures.

Mohler discusses areas of offence, the role of the Supreme Court on religion, terrorism, public schools, the God gene, parenting, dishonesty, abortion, natural disasters and God’s sovereighty, nuclear war, and racism. In each chapter Mohler surveys the writings of some of America’s greatest writers, praising them where they are correct, criticizing them where they are wrong. He clearly interacts with the issues and then responds with Scripture where it applies. While these are not in-depth critiques of cultural issues, they are tantalizing surveys of the issues. I found myself many times thinking I needed to read the book Mohler was talking about in a particular chapter.

You may not agree with Mohler on every issue. For instance, on the use of torture especially in terrorism cases I am not sure I agree with a blanket ban on the use of torture as in the McCain amendment. But I am willing to be persuaded by further study. On the other hand, I think Mohler is right on with the issues of our coddling of our children, the maintaining of both God’s sovereignty and His benevolence when we talk about national disasters, and the renewed effort we need to make in the pro-life movement.

Overall, I found Mohler’s book challenging and enlightening. It really challenged my thinking as to my involvement in culture and my role as a member of the body of Christ in transforming culture for Christ. Every Christian should read Mohler’s book. They should devour it in one sitting and then sit down and chew over every issue. This book will challenge you and spur you on to further study of the issues. Overall, it will challenge you to truly live as a light for Christ in a dark world. Mohler has hit a home run with this book and I hope he continues writing more on this subject as it is desperately needed in the church today. Cannot be more highly recommended.


Culture Shift by Al Mohler

December 13, 2007

My friends, make sure you pre-order this upcoming book by Al Mohler on Christianity and Culture. It should be on your Christmas wish lists! See details below.

Culture Shift: Engaging Current Issues with Timeless Truth

by R. Albert Mohler, Jr.

Religion – Christian Life | Multnomah | Hardcover | January 2008 | $14.99 | 978-1-59052-974-4 (1-59052-974-X)

ABOUT THIS BOOK

Are you prepared to address the most challenging cultural issues of your time?

Mass media and technology are exploding. Popular entertainment relentlessly pushes the envelope. Biomedicine stretches ethical boundaries. Political issues shift with the polls.

The world in which you live is in the midst of a major cultural transformation–one leading to a widespread lack of faith, an increase in moral relativism, and a rejection of absolute truth. How are we to remain faithful followers of Christ as we live in this ever-shifting culture? How should we think about–and respond to–the crucial moral questions of our day? How can we stand up for the truth?

In Culture Shift, Dr. R. Albert Mohler–one of today’s leading Christian thinkers and spokespersons–addresses these tough topics clearly, biblically and passionately:

•Christian faith and politics
•The Supreme Court and religion
•The truth about terrorism
•Christian parents and public schools
•The abortion debate
•Christian response to global tragedies
•And many more

Here is trustworthy help for developing a comprehensive Christian worldview. It’s timely information powerfully connected to timeless truth that will equip you to stand strong and speak out.

PRAISE

“From grade inflation to global calamities, Albert Mohler is a steady guide. From the psychological coddling of the American ego to the hollowing of the American conscience, Mohler is unremittingly clear-headed. From Nineveh to New Orleans, Mohler holds the mirror at a blazing fortyfive-degree angle between heaven and earth. The burning light of divine wisdom illumines a hundred shadows of our
human folly. And at the center of the blaze is the mighty cross of Jesus Christ defining the final meaning of everything. I thank God for Albert Mohler.”
—JOHN PIPER, pastor for preaching and vision,Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, MN

“Al Mohler is a unique gift to the church. His writing combines penetrating theological discernment and insightful cultural analysis with a passion to faithfully proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. I’m delighted that Al’s wisdom is now available in this book. May it be the first of many.”
—C. J. MAHANEY, Sovereign Grace Ministries

“We all know, as Dorothy said to Toto, that ‘we are not in Kansas anymore.’ But how to apply the deep truths of our Christian faith to a culture that seems to be transmogrifying before our very eyes, well, that’s perhaps the most difficult question facing the church today. In this well-written book, Al Mohler surveys the landscape and offers insight and wisdom that helps us do just this. A manifesto for responsible
Christian engagement!”
—TIMOTHY GEORGE, founding dean of Beeson Divinity School of Samford University and senior editor of Christianity Today

“Thoughtful Christians seeking to engage the culture from a well-informed and thoroughly bibilical perspective will find an impressive resource in this new work by R. Albert Mohler. Culture Shift is an outstanding contribution, which I heartily recommend.”
—DAVID S. DOCKERY, president, Union University

“Dr. Albert Mohler brings his intellectual brilliance, moral wisdom, and theological insight together in a book that belongs on the shelf of anyone who is interested in both understanding the shifting sands of morality in our culture and how to deal with it. If you are in that category this is a must read.”
—JAMES MERRITT, pastor of Cross Pointe Church, Duluth, GA, and host of Touching Lives media ministry

“Understanding our culture is a matter of Christian responsibility. Culture Shift helps us to do that and do it well.”
—DANIEL L. AKIN, president, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, NC

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr., is president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, the flagship school of the Southern Baptist Convention and one of the largest and most influential seminaries in the world. A popular columnist and commentator, he has contributed to many leading newspapers including The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal. His daily syndicated radio program is broadcast on more than eighty stations nationwide. Time.com has called him the “reigning intellectual of the evangelical movement in the U.S.” Mohler lives with his wife and two children in Louisville, Kentucky.