First Quarter at Fuller

Well, I’ve wrapped up my first quarter here at Fuller. It has definitely been a full and lively three months. Some things were as I expected and others were not, though for the most part I didn’t know what to expect.

I took two core classes: New Testament 1 (NT1) and NT2. The first, NT1, considered the Gospels. The latter, NT2, the rest of the NT. What was surprising was that in large part they considered not the holy text itself, but what and how people thought about the NT. It was generally worthwhile and necessary information, things you would expect a Master level course to cover, but non-the-less I was disappointed and found it less than stimulating.

What was of interest was my 3rd class, Evangelizing a Post-Modern Generation. It helped me define and contextualize the way I think. One of the first questions asked was, “Are you a modern thinker, or do you think with a post-modern mindset?” I replied that I wasn’t sure, but that I thought about God in absolute terms and about how people know and understand God in less than absolute terms. In the course of time I realized that this basically makes me very similar to many Christians in my generation. For some it means we are adrift, holding no coherent world
view because we do not align ourselves with any of three major groups, the majority of Christians who are generally modern, secular modernist, or post-modern thinkers. I on the other hand find it a rather natural way to think. We all grow up with cultural norms. Some think in modern prose and others have a post-modern mind set but all of us who bow the knee to Christ are Christians and have an equal claim on Him.

Modernity and Post-Modernity are simply earthly constructs for thinking that have holes in them and should not be fought for over and against the Gospel, something too many of the old guard are doing at the expense of the Gospel. People that gravitate toward post-modernity should be presented the gospel in their native intellectual tongue, just as those of the older generations should be presented the gospel in a more modern light.

This brings up the main issue on my plate. How and to what degree should one contextualize the Word of God, and at what point may a certain contextual perspective blur the line right into heresy? Before this I was thinking about women and leadership in the Church, but I realized after a time that the question of how and if women should exercise leadership in the church could largely be answered by considering the first question, how and to what degree should one contextualize the Word of God? How one decides to read and interpret the bible as a whole will largely dictate how women should be leading in a church setting. The answers to all of these questions I hope to begin to understand in the next few years, though I am doubtful about drawing much more than a few general conclusions. Any insights would be much appreciated.

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