Most other programs of evangelism are “crisis” oriented, usually bringing the person to a decision very quickly through the signing of cards and through the praying of a sinner’s prayer. Research shows that the more varied ways a person hears the gospel, and the more often a person hears the gospel before making a commitment, the better the comprehension, the less likely of “reversion” to the world. ~ Redeemer Church Planting Manual
In the recent Mars Hill Audio Journal, Ken Myers interviews Philip Bess, architect and author, who has reflected theologically and architecturally on the implications modern urban planning. In Till We Have Built Jerusalem, he articulates the goodness of urban dwelling based on natural law. He points out that New Urbanists tend to avoid the idea that there is any metaphysical basis for urban communities.
If there is not metaphysical/theological basis for urban dwelling, why should we even care about cities? If there is a biblical theological rationale for urban life, what they is our responsiblity in an age of urban decline and sprawl? Without this urban ontology, city life and culture are rendered haphazzard and purposeless. However, Christian tradition and theology offers a purposeful, even doxological basis for urban life. See my article, “Hate the City, Love the City.”
Strikingly, Bess shows how modern urbanism has displaced former function of the city. Instead of being a moral center that fosters education, citizenry, creation it has become an entertainment center. Suburbia has followed suit, resulting in a massive decline in community, purpose and society. How should we respond? What is our responsibility to the cities we live in? How can we act locally to improve urban life?
“We are not called to obey God in order gain what we do not have, but in response to what we already possess. The commands of God do not establish the covenant relationship, they reflect it.” ~ Scott Hafemann
“Religion is I obey, therefore I am accepted; Gospel is I am accepted therefore I obey.” – Tim Keller
“Salvation is a project chartered by grace, not performance characterized by good works.” – Dodson