Friday, January 19, 2007

Renewing Our Minds, Redeeming Our Cultures

"Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect (Romans 12:2)"



Last week, we considered: “What Would Jesus Think?” He is Lord of our hearts, minds and strength, the supreme model for our thinking, feeling and doing habits. We looked at examples of how Jesus used His mind in the Gospels and see how that is relevant to our own day.

Let us follow His example in thinking properly and integrate our faith in each area of study and research and work to the glory of God in universities, campuses, research institutions, science laboratory, computer labs, hospitals and lecture halls.

What are the areas where our Christian Faith integrate with work/world?

There are different areas of integration: (JP Moreland “Loving God With All Your Mind”)

1) What are the ethical issues involved in my vocation or study? As a businessperson, what is my beliefs of corporate moral responsibility? Or as a law student, what is justice?

2) What does my field say about what is real or not, what is true or false? As a teacher, psychologist or counsellor, should I believe that the mind is really the brain or morality is determined by genes? How should a scientist view evolution?

3) What does my field say about the nature and limits of knowledge? Should I assume that only what can be measured and tested in an experiment is genuine knowledge?

4) Are there specific virtues or qualities especially relevant to your work or study?

How Do We Develop A Christian Mind?

When was the last time you were encouraged to think Christianly as a student of law, business, information technology or education? We need to develop a Christian mindset.

A Christian mind is not simply thinking about topics like prayer, worship, bible study nor just abstract intellectualism. Os Guiness put it this way:

“Thinking Christianly is thinking by Christians about anything and everything in a consistently Christian way – in a manner which is shaped, directed, and restrained by the truth of God's Word and God's Spirit…”and “what we do with what we know is what Christian knowing is all about.”

Consciously or not, all of us have some basic ideas about how to look at life and the world that guide our actions like glasses or contact lenses through which we see everything else. "A worldview is, first of all, an explanation and interpretation of the world and second, an application of this view to life. In simpler terms, our worldview is a view of the world and a view for the world." (Phillips and Brown) A good worldview answers four big questions of life:

· Where do we come from? (Question Of Origin)
· Who are we? (Question Of Identity)
· Why are we here? (Question Of Purpose)
· Where are we going? (Question Of Destiny)

To build bridges across different cultures, Christians need to learn how to be bilingual, translating the perspective of the gospel into a language understood by our culture. We learn to connect God’s Word with God’s world. How do I do it?

The Creation: In Genesis, God created humans and the universe out of nothing. Human lives are sacred and valuable because we bear God’s image. We are not just biological machines.Our first job description: "Be fruitful and multiply (develop the social world: build families, churches, schools, cities, governments, laws) and fill the earth and subdue it (harness the natural world and care for creation: plant crops, build bridges, design computers)". The Cultural Mandate sets out our original purpose to create cultures, build civilizations. “It’s only Eden if you have a gardener. Without one, what you have is Amazon jungle”. Work is meaningful and fulfilling.

The Fall: However humanity has rebelled against God and fallen into sin. A radical corruption happens to the entire creation, shattering our relationships with God, environment, animals, each other and alienation from our own selves. Now we determine the knowledge of good and evil with man at the center, without reference from the Creator. In disobedience, we have made physical and mental idols to rule our own lives. The result is pain, sorrow, alienation, conflict, violence, self-centeredness and death. Even work becomes frustrating and burdensome.

The Redemption: At the cross and resurrection, Christ has redeemed our souls and reconciled all of creation to Himself. The earth we are living in is not abandoned, but renewed at the consummation of history when Christ returns – new heaven, new earth, resurrected bodies. We, citizens of the Kingdom, should be living according to the way of Jesus, caring for the ecosystem in ways that honor the Creator. Although the complete removal of sin is yet to come, we can join Jesus in reversing the effects of sin and letting His kingdom come, His will be done on earth.

Conclusion:

Lesslie Newbigin laid this challenge: Laypeople in every facet of life – media, politics, business, education and others – should be enabled to challenge the prevailing assumptions of society in light of the gospel. A Christian mind should not be reserved for pastors and scholars only! Free online resources are available – take advantage of it! Use what you learn in conversations and interactions with friends.

God called you to a special task in this needy world. Your calling is where your deepest passions and the world’s greatest need meet. So discover your passion, talents and gifts and use them to bless others for the glory of God.

1 comment:

daud said...

Some Useful Online Resources:

1) The Cranach Institute sponsors programs to help students, pastors, and laypeople engage the critical issues of the day and to exert a Biblical influence in the marketplace of ideas. (http://www.cranach.org/)

2) Leadership U - Telling the Truth at the speed of life. (http://www.leaderu.com/)

3) Mike McLoughlin – (http://www.scruples.org)

4) Grace At Work- connecting God’s Word With God’s World (http://www.grace@work.org/)

5) Ravi Zacharias Ministry - http://www.rzim.org/resources/

6) Faith Works - Business leaders and Professionals (http://www.faithworks.net)

7) Halftime - From Success to Significance (http://www.halftime.org)

8) London Institute for Contemporary Christianity by John Stott (http://www.licc.org.uk)

9) Campus Crusade for Christ (http://www.mccc.org.my/)

10) Marketplace Leaders (http://www.marketplaceleaders.org)

11) iBridge Blog – Connecting Lives In Transition (http://taketheleap.org)

12) Life At Work - Journals (http://www.lifeatwork.com)

13) Mennonite Economic Development Associate (http://www.meda.org)

14) Ministry in Daily Life - IVCF (http://www.ivmdl.org)

15) Navigators Discipleship (http://www.bpnavigators.org)

16) Success Factor (http://www.successfactor.org)

17) The Mockler Center (http://www.marketplace-network.org)

18) Christian Worldview - http://www.christianworldview.net/

19) Arts & Music - http://www.artsreformation.com/

20) Kuyper Foundation - http://kuyper.org/main/main.php