7 days ago Jerram Barrs came to speak here at the Grove. I sat down and enjoyed a lovely conversation with him over lunch. I greatly appreciated the time he took to answer every question deliberately. He spoke on three occasions; I made it to two of them. The most invigorating lecture/talk however was entitled Abandoning or Transforming Culture: Do we have a choice?
After outlining the various ideas of Christ and Culture, he laid down an argument for culture transformation. Three Principles and three "how to" guidelines for each.
1.) Affirmation - activities of culture is to respond to the Creation Mandate (reaffirmed in the Noahic Covenant) and the fact that mankind is made in the image of God (Psalm 8)
- Appreciation - delight what is good in culture (Philippians 4:8). John Calvin, "It is not blasphmey of the Holy Spirit that Pagans speak good and give good gifts."
- Incarnation - incarnate the gospel in every culture, adopt whatever you can from, and of, every culture. This is to live as fully human as you can. Love the culture and love the people of that culture.
- Bridges into Culture [Common Grace] - recognize all kinds of truth, justice, and beauty to communicate the gospel of Christ.
2.) Sober Realism of Reality
- Nonidentification - there is no such things as a Christian culture. What grows from transformed hearts are the firstfruits of what is yet to come.
- Christian Identity - in relationship to Christ and place in the kingdom of God
- called to humility and to challenge the culture we live in and within ourselves - transformation occurs by bringing Scripture to bear on reality and life. To do this read scripture and whenever you find a passage you do not like or want to reinterpret, you are dealing with sin, or you have given in too much to the culture you live in
3.) Solemn Warning - culture expresses the religious elements of the human heart. In the words of TS Eliot, "Culture is the incarnation of her religion."
- count the cost - there are things that are off limits
- cultural embodiment - encourage new believers to put on and live in the cutlure
- the transformation of Culture - salt and light in every aspect you can and your work
---- [Robbie's thoughts] ----
A lot of what Barrs said would throw Christendom in an uproar. Which is sad. How can I incarnate the Gospel? By admiring the creation around me to start. Look and enjoy the arts, music and movies. Incorporate the creativity of the community in which I live into my life. (I am drawing the line at The Scream.) Hang outs such as coffee houses, java cafes, internet cafes, some small restaurants, and many others are excellent examples to start. At the Crazy Mocha this summer the art on display was by those who lived in the community. Why can't the church do that? Why can't I do that?