30 November 2009

Century 1 Suffering vs. Century 21 Prosperity

I'm gonna make a quiet return to blogging. To test the waters of my readership, I'd like some help from you, dear reader. Can you do me a hermeneutical favor, and suggest the implications of the New Testament being written mainly to believers suffering persecution, being literally murdered for the sake of Christ, versus how we read it today and attempt to apply it to our lives as we live in America with the comforts of the top 5% of wealth in the world?

I don't have an answer so I need your help here.

6 comments:

Caleb said...

I think the main thing is to keep in mind the context which the NT was written; not to transpose it to our current situation.

An understanding of the context which the NT was written should boost our personal piety as we look at the persecution the first and second century church underwent. The lack of piety in our situation has caused a high volume of sin which has taken many people down a path of intense spiritual and emotional suffering and anxiety despite our physical comforts.

Christians shouldn't live like the top 5% of the world, or at least value the things that the top 5% of the world values. Again, I think it discourages personal devotion to Christ causing an individual to live in unrepentant sin which leads to spiritual and emotional suffering.

In our society, preaching the truth may lose your church a tax exemption. In the early church you may lose your life. Christians must stop whining about tax exemption loss and start living like their lives are in jeopardy.

Christians in our context are not threatened with physical death. But they are threatened, maybe more than ever, with spiritual death. So many things push and pull our desires this way and that; Christ is seen as the remedy only a small percentage of the time (if ever).

While the specific problems of the NT are different, the urgency of the NT is important for today.

I don't know if that answers any part of your question. I tried.

Jordan said...

The urgency is important? Urgency of what exactly?

Caleb said...

The urgency of the gospel.

Josh said...

I agree with Caleb's point that "An understanding of the context which the NT was written should boost our personal piety as we look at the persecution the first and second century church underwent." Think along the lines of Hebrews 12.

I also liked the thought about tax exemption. Losing tax exemption, while serious and a huge indicator of the spiritual state of our country, isn't the end of the world, and we shouldn't treat it as such. Not only should we start living and preaching like our lives are in jeopardy, we should start living and preaching like the lives of those around us are in jeopardy.

Cast off sin, fix our eyes on Christ, count all things loss, etc.

Josh said...

And yeah, I think the urgency of the gospel needs to be much higher.

Caleb said...

This is turning into quite the thread. Your longsuffering has brought much fruit to bear, young Jordy.