Session Vi   Secularism & The Church
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Session Vi Secularism & The Church






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Session Vi   Secularism & The Church Session Vi Secularism & The Church Presentation Transcript

  • Church Contexts: Secularism 1
  • Introduction Antiquity: Sacred (The god’s) & Profane (outside, around the shrine) Developed: profane = not sacred Christianity: Sacred = beliefs, Profane: renounced in conversion Christians began in the secular! No secular: ontologically Yet In practice: exists as place without reference/order to Jesus Christendom: no secular space/place 2
  • Introduction Christendom: de-secularization Re-secularization: common religious grounds shrinks to nothing Key concept: how do we practice our religion, and where in culture? Church responses: anabaptist (withdraw), RO (pre-modern), E/C (Collapse into) etc? Early Church: saw themselves as separate from society & culture Christendom: Christians so influential had new role as society 3
  • Introduction Augustine ( ad.354–430): Two cities, secular as autonomous, but passing Escape from world, or collapse: don’t work Augustine Resisted Christendom 4
  • From beginnings to the Christian Empire Secular is this age and will be replaced when Christ returns Resurrection: Powers overcome already, clock ticking, limited Church: where Jesus is Lord now, distinct from secular world Church: proclaims and shows eschatological gap of world and people, between resurrection and parousia Christians: “Third Race” like Jews, Romans - Sect vs Cult Roman plurality: it’s downfall, and turn to Christianity Christianity: alternative ‘polis’, new social order 5
  • From beginnings to the Christian Empire Early Church: until 250 AD, being counter culture was easier World flows into church: how do you deal with success? Persecuted Church: did not develop resources for success Christendom: embrace, you don’t become but are born Christian and Roman 6
  • Augustine and the Secularization of Rome Summer AD 404: Augustine preach, ‘Christian Triumph’ over empire AD 413 had changed his mind Christian Anxiety over role change in Empire & Power Response: 1) Cult Martyrs 2) Attention to church history 3) Asceticism (denial) (What do we need to do now Christendom is past/here?) 7
  • Augustine and the Secularization of Rome Eusebius, Bishop/Historian (c. ad 264– c. 340): Constantine conversion as messianic Tertullian ( c. 160– c. 240): What has Athens to do with Jerusalem? Augustine: we live in mixture, two cities Augustine: nothing sacred about Rome, it could pass anytime (and did) Resisted: making the world sacred, or all profane 8
  • Augustine and the Secularization of Rome Augustine: earthly city is mixed with good and bad, as is the church! Eschatology & Teleology: difference between city of Heaven and governments/rulers (city of Earth) Governments: second order, no matter how good and passing Church: Experience of kingdom, declaration and eternal formation 9
  • Augustine and the Liberal Tradition Secular Liberalism: State is contract by people, not human nature Max Lerner, “Freedom plus groceries”, is the modern state Secularism: refusal to commit to any theological anthropology & cosmology Secularism: tolerant, won’t enforce beliefs (except it’s view of beliefs!) Enlightenment: scientific method disconnected world from teleology, ethics and virtue, leaving contract and individualism 10
  • Augustine and the Liberal Tradition L Newbigin: Plausibility structures, inability to transmit moral values Augustine: rejected this secular, lapsarian view to explain sin, rift in behaviour, disordered life etc Augustine misunderstood: fall does not mean world that is unable to achieve any good, so let’s contract, but it is passing Augustine: very high view of world, but through the fall Two liberal state views: state gives vision of community, or communities give vision and state protect them in that 11
  • Augustine and the Liberal Tradition Augustine: great value to world, but due to fall, we should be suspicious of any story of public life/community other than Kingdom Augustine: would accept good ordered society, but not pagan ones Augustine: City of heaven is the true public, res publica Rulers: must do their best but will fail State: Can adopt Christian values, but not make excessive claims! 12
  • Augustine and the Liberal Tradition Augustine: eschatology, there is gap between world and church that cannot be closed (due to fall etc)! Augustine would say: Democracy is not Christian, no matter how good Augustine: we cannot force Christian values on society But we live them, in the church, and proclaim them, and support our roles in society 13
  • Augustine to Christendom Within 100 years of Constantine's conversion, Christian = Roman Ascetic: withdrawal from world to cope Augustine: Allowed for mediocrity, due to fall Augustine: use of the world, enjoyment correct use and re- ordering Augustine’s time: Baptism as conversion, participate in most of society as secular By pope Gregory Great, 6th century (200 years later): All is Christian 14
  • Augustine to Christendom Augustine’s Time: Church looked for God in the culture to connect with it Gregory Great: severance from culture and tradition, only church culture Cassiodorus: In between Augustine and Gregory Great Roman secular educate elite, converted later in life, founded monastic movement He wrote about powerful pagans converting, but none by time of Gregory 15
  • Augustine to Christendom Gap between church and world was closed Christianity then imported into western europe/Germany Church became safe in the world 16
  • Implications What is sacred and secular for us today? How might US new Christendom? What can it learn from Augustine & Church history? Cult, Sect? How should we live in the world? What’s your/church eschatology/teleology? How do we unmask secularism as a controlling religion? How do you see the church as public, modern/E/C, in and out of the world? 17