Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Deconstructing Postmodern Discipleship - Characteristics Part 3

Deconstructing Postmodern Discipleship - Characteristics
The Intimacy of Faith and Works

Boy howdy, I hadn't realized how fast time can get away from you. It has been almost a month since I started this post. This is the final post in the characteristics of postmodern. I have tried to be as simple as possible for this series. I think there is one more post coming about the nature of postmodern discipleship. We will see. Time is becoming more valuable to me right now. I may have to pause for a while. But anyway, here goes.

James 1: 22-25
22 But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 Because if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man looking at his own face in a mirror; 24 for he looks at himself, goes away, and right away forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But the one who looks intently into the perfect law of freedom and perseveres in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer who acts—this person will be blessed in what he does.
James 2: 14-26
14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith, but does not have works? Can his faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is without clothes and lacks daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well," but you don't give them what the body needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way faith, if it doesn't have works, is dead by itself. 18 But someone will say, "You have faith, and I have works." Show me your faith without works, and I will show you faith from my works. 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. The demons also believe—and they shudder. 20 Foolish man! Are you willing to learn that faith without works is useless? 21 Wasn't Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? 22 You see that faith was active together with his works, and by works, faith was perfected. 23 So the Scripture was fulfilled that says, Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him for righteousness , and he was called God's friend. 24 You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 And in the same way, wasn't Rahab the prostitute also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by a different route? 26 For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.

The controversy over the Book of James is well documented. It entered the New Testament Canon barely. Martin Luther actually tried to remove the book from the Bible. (He probably considered the council to have experienced a "momentary lax in parameters.) :) Lord help me for that one I couldn't resist. James offers us a distinct characteristic of the postmodern culture. Your works (actions) must match up with the words coming out of your mouth. Anything less is hypocrisy.

I am really not sure that I could say it any better than the above passages in James. Our faith is dead without the evidence of works alongside of it. Postmodernism puts a high emphasis on the presence of works with one's faith. If those two don't match up, and quite frankly they have not in the church for a long time, then you have already lost the right to be heard with the gospel. If Jesus has no lasting visible impact on your daily life than your faith is entirely unimportant to you.

The postmodern discipleship conversation is far more about coming together side by side and doing faith, than teaching faith. In that process, people by the scores will be led to the Lord, not by the eloquence of your three point argument, but the consistency of your works with your faith. Jesus must make a difference in you, before you make a difference in them.


Previous Posts:

Prelude

The Evangelism Shift

The Disillusionment

Loss of a Cultural Metanarrative

Rise of Experientialism

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