The Church in . New . Zealand society. Opening Devotion. Matthew 16, verses 13 to 18.. Now . when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” . ID: 588939
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Where have all the young people gone?!
The Church in
Matthew 16, verses 13 to 18.
when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”
And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you,
Simon, Son of Jonah
! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven
And I tell you, you are Peter,
and on this
I will build my church, and the gates of
not prevail against it
Outline of our Lenten Studies
We are exploring the Church, and particularly the Church in contemporary Western society, in our society. We will join together for 5 sessions that will seek to address the theology, issues, pains, joys and hopes of the contemporary picture.
First Session The Church
Second Session The Church
Third Session The Church
Fourth Session The Church
Fifth Session The Church
What has changed…
It is easy to become despondent looking at numbers like these.
These numbers are the result of centuries of changes.
In the comparison with relative strength of Roman Catholics, however, we begin to see clues to a particularly Western social reality.Slide9
What has changed in your lifetime?
Think over the period of your life to all the things that have happened, have changed and developed. Which of these do you think have most affected Parish life and the place of our faith in society?
the Car, the Internet, the World Wars, global travel, scientific theories and discoveries…Slide10
Has ‘Man come of Age’?
has learnt to deal with himself in all questions of
recourse to the "working hypothesis" called "God." In questions of science, art, and ethics this has become an understood thing at which one now hardly dares to tilt. But for the last hundred years or so it has also become increasingly true of religious questions; it is becoming evident that everything gets along without "
, in fact, just as well as before
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison, pp. 324-329Slide11
What Does it Mean to have “Come of Age”
Bonhoeffer argues that humankind has been under the tutelage of God for much of its existence. We have sought wisdom where we have known limitation.
In the past two centuries, humankind has begun to advance to a ‘maturity’, much the same way a teenager begins to drift from their parents tutelage as they begin to understand the world, so we have with God.
We are now in a place where must people do not contemplate the possible place of God. Not even the ‘big’ questions of life, death, meaning and purpose necessitate God for many people today.Slide12
What is the consequence?
apologetics has taken the most varied forms of opposition to this self-assurance. Efforts are made to prove to a world thus come of age that it cannot live without the tutelage of "God." Even though there has been surrender of all secular problems, there still remain the so-called "ultimate
questions” - death
guilt - to
which only "God" can give an answer, and because of which we need God and the church and the pastor. So we live, in some degree, on these so-called ultimate question of humanity. But what if one day they no longer exist as such, if they too can be answered "without God
Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison, pp. 324-329Slide13
The Challenge of this…
Bonhoeffer was a devoted Christian. He believed God was real and a knowable presence in the world.
The god that ‘immature’ humankind worshipped was never the true God, instead a projection of our insecurities, and answer for our fears – he was the solution to our ignorance.
The Church benefited from this for centuries, and tapped into this essential religiosity of humankind.
That tap is now beginning to run dry, as people no longer look to God for answers to even the great questions of death and guilt, instead finding answers in themselves or simply ignoring them as irrelevant.Slide14
The Challenge of this…
What does it mean to preach the good news in a world that is not concerned about eternal salvation?
Can our own faith sustain these changes? Is our faith based more on God as the answer to a question, than on God as a knowable reality?
What does Christian evangelism and apologetics look like when God is no longer the answer to the questions people are asking?
What are the questions people are asking?Slide15
Do we know them to find out?Slide16
Our mission begins and ends with relationship!
God is more than an answer to a question we can’t answer.
God cares as much about the person who doesn’t believe as he does about the one who believes.
When we have a relationship with the God we find in Jesus Christ, our relationship with the world can’t help but change.
Our relationship with others is where our faith becomes tangible – do you engage with people differently because of the way that God has engaged with you?Slide17
What are our barriers?
This is all sounds easy enough, but it is harder than any other form of mission the world has seen. Even the martyrs of ancient Rome had a religious audience who wanted to hear the new message.
Can we accept the world has changed?
Can we accept people who aren’t like us?
Can we accept the Church’s most glorious days (in a worldly sense) are behind it?
Can we accept that it is upon our generations that this mission has fallen, without abandoning our responsibility to it?Slide18
How do we overcome them?
It is our calling as a parish within the Anglican tradition to sit and prayerfully consider how we respond to this world, a world we are both well and ill equipped to deal with.
How as a Parish do you believe we can:
Overcome our obstacles?
Find the questions our District is asking and how we can respond?
Find news ways of being together that may reach out to the different demographic of this place?Slide19
The challenge of Ecclesial Grief
Churches have a spirit of their own (Revelation 1-3)
These are often a type of personality that is greater than the sum of its parts.
What are some of the church ‘personalities’ you have known through your time?Slide20
The challenge of Ecclesial Grief
History and events influence the character of a church community greatly.
This is particularly true of churches with great histories, or glorious pasts.
This history can be a wonderful thing, it can also be a great burden that slowly destroys communities.
When you think of your church community, do you think to what can be in the future, or what has been in the past? What are the pros and cons of this?Slide21
The past as a blackhole
The history of the Parish of Whangarei is powerful and grand. It has been a centre of the diocese, a centre of learning, a centre of community for the city, a place with many clergy and a centre of life and fellowship.
Do you believe it is still these things?
What does it mean for you, and for us all, if it is no longer true?
If we focus solely on our past and look with frustration at our present this community will not survive!Slide22
The past as inspiration
This is a parish that has done a great deal of good for this city!
Where have we been effective in the past at reaching people?
Where have we been a loved part of the community of Whangarei?
How can be reinvigorate these areas for mission to the city and district once again?
If we look on our present as a gift from God, and the future as an exciting challenge then our past is an inspiration rather than a burden.Slide23
The hope in Whangarei
There are some 8,691 people who claim a link with the Anglican Church in this district! Do you know them?Slide24
Do not lose hope
Fear is not a place from which to act.
We are not being asked to save the Church.
We are being asked to participate in a mission that God leads and that God will bring to fruition.Slide25
In the next session we will explore how the Church is responding to these changing realities
How have new church movements affected our understanding of Christian spirituality and God?
How might we look if we were to respond openly to the call of God to mission?