The Gospel for Postmoderns pt. 1

Do you know the most significant date in the history of Christianity?

It's not Constantine's edict which made Christianity the official religion of the global superpower of it's day. It's not the schism between Catholic and Orthodox churches which was the first of hundreds of divisions in Christ's body. It's not the day Luther nailed his 95 theses on the Wittenburg door, and set in motion what would later be called Protestantism. In fact, we don't even know the date exactly.

But here is what happened... Peter, the rock of the earliest church, experienced a second conversion. (It's recorded in Acts 10.) God shattered his notions of righteousness, with a threefold vision of non-kosher foods and a voice from heaven declaring: "What God has made clean, you must not profane." And then he entered the home of a Gentile - something prohibited by the rabbis. What he witnessed that day, turned his faith on its head...and yet it was somehow a familiar feeling to him who was with Jesus as he mingled with tax collectors and sinners. Peter began to speak to this household of gentiles: "I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him." To Peter's shock "the Holy Spirit fell upon all who heard the word" and he said "Can anyone withhold the water for baptism from these people who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?"

And so it began. The first non-Jews became Christians. Chapter 11 of Acts includes Peter's report to the church at Jerusalem which concludes with their exclamation "Then God has given to the Gentiles the repentance that leads to life." And then began the debate. What would it mean to be a Christian, but not of Jewish culture? Here's what they concluded: "...we should not trouble the Gentiles who are turning to God, but we should write to them to abstain only from things polluted by idols and from fornication and from what ever has been strangled and from blood." These, they concluded were the only cultural carry-overs they (and/or the Holy Spirit would) require of non-Jews. Circumcision: not essential. Kosher diets: optional.  

Every generation faces this same quandary: What will it mean for the next generation to be a Christian, but not of our generations culture? What is required of the emerging generation? Can we simply let them try to follow Jesus as they discern is best? What will it mean for them to follow Jesus, but be post-modern? What do YOU think? (And then I'll tell you what I think).


  1. I've had a hard time coming up with the way a emerging generation should look. I would love to see it dedicate itself to standards such as the Nicene creed, and then surround that substance with relevant form.