More then saving souls

  • In NEWS
  • October 17, 2013
More then saving souls
When crisis undermines convictions and shatters hopes, will Christians be overwhelmed or respond with faith? Faith is closely tied to hope, and hope to vision, stated Jeff Fountain, of the Schumann Centre for European Studies. “How can we face the future with faith, hope and vision?” Jesus Christ is coming back to “make all things new” – the focus of ultimate hope. This hope fuels ‘temporal hope’: believers can envisage transformation and work at it reflecting within this world the ultimate hope of a new creation. Jeff Fountain challenged the EEA participants to spread a positive vision for their continent: “Do we have faith for Europe – or even for our own country? Or is our business just saving souls?” The evangelical thinker recalled the first millennium of the Church in Western Europe. Missionaries preached the Gospel to pagan German tribes. Europe gained its unique character through the revelation of a loving, longsuffering, trustworthy God who created humans in his image (the basis for equality). According to Jeff Fountain, “the story of Jesus has been the single greatest factor in shaping Europe’s past.” The Bible undoubtedly is the main source of inspiration for Europe’s culture. What’s more, “truth and love have been the soft powers of Christianity all the way through.” What will happen after the spread of secularisation is unclear. Will there be an age of religious renewal as Canadian sociologist Charles Taylor has suggested? The Bible makes clear that Shalom, the liberating and holistic peace, is God’s will for the cosmos. Shalom is based on love for God and neighbour (Golden Rule) and forgiveness made possible by Christ’s sacrifice. The church in Europe has survived Fascism and Communism. Jeff Fountain expressed the conviction that Secularism is doomed, too. He reminded the audience that the 20th century has seen the greatest spiritual harvest of all church history. “It has been the century of the Spirit,” although tares have been growing up with the wheat. Time and again, God has brought renewal through faithful minorities. To motivate prayerful action now, Christians are to get rid of the unbiblical hope for a “ticket to heaven” with no impact in the present world.

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