POC Blog

The random technotheolosophical blogging of Reid S. Monaghan

Os Guinness on an Augustian Moment for Pastors

Os Guinness is one of the fine Christian minds of our era. He has invested deeply in the next generation, helped us understand the nature of Calling and influenced leaders for the church and marketplace of ideas. Over at Kairos Journal Guinness has a great charge to the pastor - that he see his role pivotal in this time in our history. Some have accused Os of being too centered on western culture - you will find fuel for that critique here. But what I have loved about Guiness is that he stands for that which is BEST in our western tradition. Literature, learning, charity and love for our neighbor, and most importantly the rock and foundation of the western tradition; the gospel of Jesus Christ and the Judeo Christian Scriptures.

His essay, which will be rolled out in parts, centers around three excellent questions:

First, will Islam modernize peacefully? Second, which faith will replace Marxism as the faith to lead China into her super-power future? And third, will the West recover or sever its relationship to its roots?

The essence of his encouragement to pastors if found in the conclusion of part 1:

Third, because of the chronic weaknesses of the faith of most American Christians at the popular level, in spite of their numerical strength, there is special responsibility for Christians in two particular callings: pastors, because they stand Sunday by Sunday between God and the people of God and are therefore in a unique position to awaken and empower God’s people; and leaders who are followers of Christ in positions of secular leadership, especially at the national level.

If the overall challenge facing Christians is expressed spiritually rather than strategically, it may be stated even more simply. A central reason for the weakness of the Christian faith in the West is the deficiency of discipleship among those who are Christians, including many leaders who are committed to Jesus Christ.

The result of this deficiency in discipleship is plain: despite our far greater numbers than any other group in America, Christians today have less cultural influence than far smaller groups and special interests. The problem is not that we aren’t where we should be—though there are important areas such as the universities and the media where we are severely underrepresented—but that we aren’t what we should be where we are.

In sum, at the beginning of the twenty-first century, we face an urgent situation for both the Church and the West: the central spiritual imperatives of our faith converge with the central strategic imperatives of the challenges of today’s world to underscore that people of faith must live and act decisively to meet the challenge of the hour. No calling is more pivotal at this Augustinian moment than that of the pastor.

For those who are unfamiliar with the term "Augustinia moment" the following may help.  Augustine stood in the gap for the church in a moment of huge cultural chaos, the fall of Rome itself. During the aftermath, Augustine penned the classic The City of God and his leadership stabalized the church and led it into a future which was not to be found in the "Eternal city on Earth" but in the city whose architect and builder is God.  When Rome fell, many pagan religious thinkers blamed it on the adaption of Chrisitianity throughout the empire.  Augustine engaged the pagan philosophies of his day and exposing them and demonstrating the beauty and truth of the Christian gospel...both in understanding tragedy and the shifting of the city of man, but also placing our hopes in the city of God.  A city always within the civilizations of men, moving with God towards the culmination of all history at the end of the age.

Here is the Link Pastors Pivotal in Our Augustinian Moment by OS Guiness.