Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Europeans did their own thinking about where God was, and asked, Did the church matter through two World Wars or, perhaps more fatefully, in the relatively good times marked by consumerism, materialism, hedonism ?

Robert Merton (a radical sociologist) used to say that the evil in institutions is greater than the sum of the evil of the individuals within them. Reinhold Niebuhr (theologian and pastor) put it slightly differently: society as a whole is always collectively worse than the individuals who make it up.

One of the problems in the way Christians relate to the world is the tension between the 'world's' standards and those of the Church/Bible. The Scriptures use the concept of 'world' in two senses: (1) the whole created reality and the world of humanity created by God (Psalm 90:2, John 3:16, Acts 17:24), and (2) the 'systems of the world' which are in rebellion against God (James 4:4, 1 John 5:19).

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