Using Pauline Studies for Evangelism Clint Heacock
Introduction to Module• Introductions• We will meet for 8 sessions plus some additional seminars (dates to be determined)• Dates and Times• Mon 6th Feb 1-4• Wed 8th Feb 9-12• Thur 9th Feb 9-4pm• Mon 26th March and• Wed 28th March 9am-4pm• Guests: Aliss Cresswell and Gary Serra di Migni
Module ContentIn this module, students can expect to cover a range of topics including:• Historical and theological background to Pauline texts• Developing skills of exegesis & hermeneutics• Exploring selected texts from Pauline letters• Pauls applied theology• Pauline ethics, Christology and ecclesiology• Critical approaches to the impact of Pauline texts in contemporary Christian contexts• Designing a Bible Study Pack.
Course Aims• Enable students to develop an understanding and appreciation of Paul’s contextual and applied theology;• Develop an awareness of key theological concepts in Pauline theology, and their application in contemporary mission and evangelism;• To develop a critical understanding of mission and evangelism through critical biblical study skills;• Further develop skill of communication, with particular reference to the equipping and teaching of others through Bible study/Study Packs.
Critical Skills (Exegesis, Historical, Theology and Biblical Studies) Practical Skills (Ministry and Mission)
Establishing A Context for Contemporary Evangelism1. In terms of religious behaviour, what are the common threads or shared legacies that bind all European societies together (regardless of language and denominations?) A. Historical—European life is comprised of a mixture of Judeo-Christian monotheism, Greek rationalism and Roman organization B. Religious—the relationships between political and religious power that have dominated much of European history. Some form of constitutional connection between church and state (i.e., Constantine) Adapted from Davie, Europe: The Exceptional Case
2. How would you describe the ‘state of faith’ in Europe (which includes Britain)?• Church attendance is steadily declining• The authority of institutional churches (and the creeds that underpin them) is systematically decreasing• What is emerging to replace these social and cultural forms?• “The Church has indeed lost its role as the keystone in the arch of European culture, but no identifiable institution is emerging to take its place” (Davie 4).
3. What is meant by the terms ‘believing without belonging’ or ‘unattached religion’?“…many Europeans have ceased to connect with their religious institutions in any active sense, but they have not abandoned, so far, their deep-seated religious aspirations or (in many cases) a latent sense of belonging” (Davie 8, parenthesis hers).
“For in reality believing without belonging represents a consciously selected personal package. It reflects instead the fall-back position acquired by British people when they simply do nothing; an ordinary God indeed. It becomes, in other words, not so much a choice, but the backdrop against which other decisions are made. Hence the notion…that it represents the residue of the past (what is left of pre-modern religion after the toll taken by both industrial and post- industrial developments), rather than the emergence of a post-modern future.” (Davie, Religion in Britain 199, parenthesis hers).
4. How can we account for the presence of ‘new religious movements’ within many European societies?• Many religious populations (Islam, Hindu, Sikh) can be accounted for by colonial connections (former colonies of European superpowers)5. What are some of the issues these minority populations provoke?• Alternative religions challenge Western European assumptions of rationality• For the traditionally religious they offer a disconcerting alternative to Christian teaching
6. What are some major results of the constitutional connections between Church and state in European countries?• It has helped to form both a national and religious identity• Indicators of religious activities are low, but there is little evidence of hostility between the population and the state church
7. What is ‘the secularization thesis’?• With the advent of the modern Enlightenment era, with its emphasis on objective human reason, religion would gradually fade in importance and ultimately cease to be of any significance (except possibly in the private realm).• In other words, since the Renaissance and Reformation the forces of modernization and secularization would gradually—and inevitably– displace ‘the sacred’ in Western societies. Pippa and Norris, Sacred and Secular, 1.
‘Secularization Thesis’ Re lig io n n io as at a is rn sig e ni od fic m an l ia tf c so ea nd t ur a e ic in om pu on blEc ic life
8. What have sociologists of religion discovered about the classic ‘secularization thesis’?• The world remains as ‘furiously religious’ as ever• Secularization is more likely to develop in some situations than in others• There is nothing inevitable about the secularization process—it may or may not take place, at different speeds, ways and with different effects (Davie, Europe: the Exceptional Case 16).
9. What is meant by the term ‘vicarious religion’?• Large numbers of Europeans are content to let both churches and churchgoers enact a ‘religious memory’ on their behalf• Churches only feature as significant at certain times (weddings, funerals, christenings, national crises)• Churches continue to hold to a ‘come to us’ model of church growth
10. In terms of levels of religious activities, what are some of the major differences between the USA and Europe?• 90% of Americans claim to believe in God• 40% of Americans claim to attend church on a weekly basis• 2 issues however: a) over-reporting and b) varied levels of attendance in various regions of America (i.e., the ‘Bible Belt’)• Still: there is a marked difference in religious activity and levels of attendance as compared to most European countries
The ‘Religious Right’ = churches publicly involved in political influence
Televangelism and its constituent audience—uniquely American
Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson on ‘The 700 Club’
Many Americans exhibit levels of hostility to churches for a variety ofreasons (i.e., Dan Kimball, They Like Jesus but not the Church)
Religion is formally excluded from church and state And yet: many churches are involved in both public and political spheres
• Social order is maintained by a pervasive civil religion• That ‘civil religion’ builds upon a Puritan, Calvinistic and covenantal theology view: ‘God Bless America!”
• Voluntarism vs. a State Church• Churches exist in many ways as capitalistic ‘businesses’ competing with other churches for members (and finances)
Conclusion• In terms of the contemporary context, what are the major similarities and differences between Britain and North America?• What impact might these observations have on our evangelistic efforts?• Early days: how do you think Paul would act were he alive today?