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.


Anonymous said...

Don't slander the real Leftist with association to those waiting for rapture kids.

jedibaba said...

In some ways this was the Marxist critique. They maintained that while philosophers wanted to understand the world, Marxists wanted to change it.
None of us can pursue both mandates with integrity by ourselves. We need the whole body of Christ and we may be given different roles in God's total programme by virtue of our gifts and burdens.

enn@j said...

Hmmm...u said u r being exposed to the former group to share their burden and yet you conclude that you are not called to such great vocation?

So the burden remains a burden? I believe when such great burden is placed in your heart, surely your vocation will involve that burden, in one way or another, no?

enn@j said...


;) * friendster reminded me this day!

The Hedonese said...

imho, we no longer have the luxury to say that 'cultural mandate' is an optional extra...

watever we do - pastoral, church worker, marketplace folks - ought to have some earthly good...

The demonstration of the gospel in life as well as its proclamation ;)

I see myself as a pamphleteer for this cause... hopefully by creating awareness, Christians who are in a better position to propose constructive models will rise to the occassion :)

jacksons said...

Wooi, dont lah become reformed - then go no arminians to argue with. hehehe.

jacksons said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Arthur, Koh SL said...

Hi, Joshua. I have the same sentiment as you too. I feel that Christians should not stop at analyzing and critizing trends/thoughts but to evaluate it so as to effect a form of change. Like what jedibaba said about Marxist. Marxist believe in praxis, i.e. the end of philosophy is to produce a change.

We are called to the salt and light of the world. We acquaint ourselves with the cultures in the Biblical world so as to understand and to have a relationship with the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and the same God who revealed himself by incarnating in Jesus Christ and who died for our sins on the cross; and we engage in the contemporary world so as to manifest God's glory in this world through our life in this society, in this world and space dimension. We should live so as to effect a change in this society and world. How we effect a change will depend on our vocation and calling. Hence, we have to be true to the calling that God has given each and every one of us.