Christians have long believed and taught that we are “aliens” and “sojourners” in the sinful system of culture and power that Scripture calls “the world.” Following Christ, we are called to be a part of the world around us. Indeed, like Christ, we long for its resurrection. I will gladly oppose those who seek to partition off the Savior’s kingdom, to only give him hearts and souls and not also offer him bodies and communities and cultures.
I love Edwards’s aesthetics. He has a major place for beauty in his theological-philosophical system, so much so that some view him as the theologian par excellence of beauty. By the way, this is part of why he is so relevant for today. We live in an image-obsessed culture . . . and we can use Edwards to point people to a better way, a far more fulsome and healthy vision of attractiveness than one can find in the ambient culture.
Dare anyone deny that Christians are among the most tribal of peoples in the world? I’m not thinking of the way Christians may legitimately distinguish the church from the world, the saved from the lost, or the way lines must necessarily be drawn between orthodox and heretical views, or even about denominations (as Trueman likes to point out: “Denominations mean that somebody somewhere still believes something”). Rather, I’m thinking about the way Christians divide and gather, further divide and gather into value-based societies distinct from and uncooperative with one another. Is it me, or is the problem pandemic?
Today, many Christians identify themselves with specific preachers through podcasts or online sermons. Listening to these sermons can be a tremendous benefit to Christian growth and spreading the gospel. However, in the hands of sinners, podcasting can also become a detriment to growth. Listeners can be so beholden to a preacher outside their church that they identify less with those inside their church. They possess a technologically mediated gospel, not a relationally mediated one.