By In Scribblings

Heroic or Homely? Newbigin on the Church in Culture

In his book The Gospel in a Pluralist Society, Lesslie Newbigin offers some wisely balanced insight on the question of the church’s relationship to culture:

“Christian discipleship can never be all homeliness nor all heroism. It has to have elements of both and it has to learn from day to day when to accept the homely duties of life as it is, and when to take the heroic road of questioning and challenging the accepted ways. It was necessary for the early church, at crucial moments, to take the heroic path and to accept martyrdom rather than submit to what the vast majority of people took for granted. But it was also right that, when the time came with the conversion of Constantine, the Church should accept the role of sustainer and cherisher of the political order. It is right for churches to be dissenting communities challenging accepted norms and structures. It is right also in other circumstances for the Church to be the church for the nation or the parish, the cherisher and sustainer of the ordinary work of the farmer, the judge, and the soldier.”

Leave a Reply