Thursday, July 13, 2006

The Church & Young People 6: A Word on 'Methods'

I had meant yesterday's post to be the last in this series on 'The Church and Young People,' but a comment from jen_est caused me to ponder her very important questions:

1."Do you think that being in a church-going society does affect the way we do these things?"

It is important to realise that neither Sandfields nor Heath were located in areas where church-going was 'normal.' They were mission churches. The worldly activities they turned away from were the result of a society which saw church-going as a social activity. People were going to Church, especially the meetingsin the week, for social reasons. When entertainment fashions changed, the churches emptied. The same was true of youth meetings, as we saw in our third example. That said, Sunday-school was then seen as normal, and there was greater general Bible knowledge than there is today. The Church must deal with the cultural context in which it finds itself, although not in such a way as to compromise the Gospel.

2. "Had MLJ or JWOwen lived in say, China, where Evangelical Christianity is persecuted, would they have adopted any of these "methods"?"

We should note that Martyn Lloyd-Jones distrusted methods. Had he been allowed his way, he would have discontinued all meetings apart from the Lord's Day meetings, the Bible Study and the Prayer-Meeting, relying on the Holy Spirit alone. J. W. Owen's work, with its emphasis on Christian fellowship, was designed to deepen Christian fellowship, in the tradition of the Calvinistic Methodist 'Experience Meeting'. While it is impossible to know how a thing might translate into a different cultural setting, it seems to me that a Christ-centred youth work, dependent on the Holy Spirit is more easily transferable than activities heavily dependent on culture.

However, in the final analysis, the Church of Christ does not advance by methods, but by the Holy Spirit. Both J. W. Owen and Martyn Lloyd-Jones were aware of this, and would have confessed that without Him they would have achieved nothing. And we must bear this in mind today, as we seek to reach out to an increasingly God-hating world.



Blogger Jenson's Blog said...

Thanks for the reply. I was only expecting a short comment, not an entire post.

OK, time to move on...

10:59 am  
Blogger Hiraeth said...

I though you might be. You just got me thinking, that's all. And it's good. We need to think.

Don't worry, that was positively the last 'Church & Young People.'

8:47 pm  

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