Ben Witherington, a NT prof at Asbury, posted the full-text of Asbury President Timothy Tennent’s convocation address on Patheos yesterday. This is a must read as he talks about how evangelical churches, in general, have suffered by failing to be deeply, theologically reflective. He decries rabid consumerism and offers an apostolic alternative. Tennent is one of those theologians whose works are work being read every time they are published. I am very thankful for one of his most recent works on a trinitarian missiology: Invitation to World Missions.
Below is an excerpt from the original post (which you MUST read)
A deep church is one which takes the encounter with a holy God seriously and is shaped by spiritual disciplines, holiness and catechesis….
God has become far too lightweight in contemporary evangelicalism. The great sense of God’s transcendence and holiness must, once again, overtake post-modernity’s sense of over familiarity and casualness in God’s presence. Indeed, we are profoundly in need of recapturing the sense of God’s presence. Nietzsche’s madman who described churches as “the tombs and sepulchers of God” does, in fact, capture something of the movement from the real presence of Christ to the real absence of Christ in the experience of many church’s today.
A thick church contrasts with a thin one and is characterized by thick relationships and commitments and where worship is not a product we consume, but the great ontological orientation of our lives. We are the people of the Risen Lord. The consumeristic, therapeutic self of modernity is, through the gospel, the trinitarian, ecclesial self of the New Creation. A different church is one not marked by cultural sameness, but, instead, is a manifestation of the in-breaking of the New Creation. A visitor should feel somewhat out of place when they walk into our midst, as they encounter people with a radically distinctive orientation.
What did you think of the article? Are you spurred on to action? Anything you would add or take away from the address?