Musings, Theology

The future needs history

I spent a couple hours this morning reading articles and books reviews in the latest issues of the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society (JETS), put out quarterly by the society, and was struck how much the future needs history.

Some of the issues in contemporary evangelicalism are challenges from past weaknesses, current culture changes, and the need to prepare the next generation.

We have tended to assume too much, overstate too much and oversimplify too much. (I hope you catch the pun.) But we have also been too quick to discard principles, standards and practices.

In a time in history where the future seems uncertain (certain aspects always are) we should be all the more focused on the foundation.

In a postmodern world that has seen some of the failings of modernity (particularly it’s failure to deliver on its promise of certainty) and in which the church can either seek to entrench itself (pretending there is no flood as the water rises) or abandon the mooring (floating along in the flood until it lands on something that might be solid) it seems many of our answers are in the past.

We need to recapture the main focus of the Bible–God. A God who is creator, distinct from creation, who gives objectivity and rationality to the creation (what Vanhoozer calls “First God” or other have called a “God first” ontology) and is knowable. This focus on God must understand that He exists in community–Triunity, desires to related to us (on His terms), and has a plan (realized and future eschatology), not just for individuals but for a community of people–for His people.

Our future needs our history. And our future success for God’s glory requires a commitment to understanding Scripture (with humble commitment) and ever changing cultural beliefs (with humble yet bold engagement).

Much more to be said on this topic and related theological issues.

Author: Steve

Steve Kilgore joined the staff of Calvary Church in Lancaster, PA in the fall of 2002 as the Pastor of Discipleship to facilitate the equipping ministries, which include Adult Bible Fellowship and other adult discipleship ministries, and work with the rest of the education ministries. He currently serves as the Executive Pastor of Ministries with a focus on providing ministries that facility individuals taking intentional Next Steps for growing and participating in the leadership and administrative aspect at Calvary. He has also taught part-time at Lancaster Bible College in the area of Spiritual Formation and New Testament. Prior to coming to Calvary he served in two churches as well as taught part-time at Philadelphia Biblical University. He was born in Dallas, Texas, but spent the first 13 years of his life in Guatemala where his parents were missionaries. It was there at the age of four and a half that Steve placed his faith in Christ as his Savior. Steve received a Bachelor’s degree in Bible from Philadelphia College of Bible and a Masters of Theology from Dallas Theological Seminary. Steve and his wife, Mary Anne, have their two boys, Andrew and Nathan (both in college), and live in East Lampeter Township. Steve lives and ministers by the personal motto, Know what you believe and why, live it, be able to defend it. His hobbies, other than playing with his family, include tinkering with computers, reading, drinking coffee with his wife, playing and watching basketball. Steve and Mary Anne are looking forward to exploring new hobbies as they transition to life as empty-nesters.

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