Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Reformed Evangelical Movement

After 4 sessions of 'brain-washing' by Rev. Stephen Tong last week, my passion in serving in accordance with the Reformation's spirit is flaming. He gave a good brief summary of the entire movement which leads to 2 ends: Gospel Mandate and Cultural Mandate.

Almost 99.9999% Christians are familiar with the Gospel Mandate but the Cultural would need more promotion. In reality, so far, i came to know of 2 kinds of understanding on the term Cultural Mandate; one is in the heritage of Augustine up till John Calvin, up till Johnathan Edwards, up till Abraham Kuyper, up till Stephen Tong; whereas the other understanding belongs to the Pentecostal movement. I reckoned the former as the true Cultural Mandate, where by the latter is the leftist. How do we recognised whether a church/ministry/organisation belongs to the leftist? One of their outstanding yet typical rhetorical claim is "Shake the nations!". They like to shout this slogan; they just love it.

So, what's the differences between the two?

The true Cultural Mandatist (those who are called specifically into this service) will always (1)read up theological and philosophical related stuffs, (2)exposed to the trends of the current age, (3)analyse the societies from time to time, (4)criticise cultures biblically, engage into constructive discussions on cultures, (5)transforming cultures biblically by all (biblical) means by providing biblical solutions and work those out. These actions can be dichotomised the first part as the action that 'Destroys' (the first 4 actions) and, the next step, the actions that 'Constructs' (the 5th).

The leftist would be those who always jump in churches while shouting their rhetorical statement "Shake the nations!", involved in community works, edify themselves by praying/praising/prophesying in some special languages of their own (which they don't understand), enjoyed being slain at alter calls, and calling fire down from heaven to unbiblical cultures.

(There is nothing much to talk about the leftist group, thus i would move on to spell out my observation on the former one).

I see myself being exposed to the former group to share their burden. Having say that, i am not content with many right Cultural Mandatists. Most of the Cultural Mandatists that i know are those who read up theological and philosophical related stuffs, exposed to the trends of the current age, analyse the societies from time to time, criticise cultures biblically, AND ends there. The 'constructive activities' are all missing. I see neither of these in Francis Schaeffer nor Stephen Tong. With my highest respect, i salute these 2 saints for their effort in providing the platform of criticism on cultures (the Destroying step), and i pray that their followers would take up the further step in constructing and tranforming cultures.

Too often i find Cultural Mandatists enjoy, take refuge, and be contented with criticism on cultures. Very few really like Marvin Olasky, Alvin Plantinga, and Philip Johnson (to name a few) would take the further step in constructing or even in proposing any biblical social systems. Few modern Cultural Mandatists (at least those around me who claimed that they are) really reflect the works of the older saints such as Calvin and Kuyper. They love staying at the criticism level without realizing that another further step must be taken; not can but MUST be taken.

Although i do burdened by this, but i know that i am not called into such great vocation. All i can do is to pray and pray and pray that God would raise true Cultural Mandatists who are not only destructive but very much constructive as well.