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Two Spheres by Reni Padilla

"In the sphere of thought, the church's accommodation to the world is realised mainly through the reduction of the Gospel to a purely spiritual message - a message of reconciliation with God and salvation of the soul. In accord with this, the mission of the church is defined exclusively in terms of evangelisation, which in turn is understood as the proclamation that by virtue of death of Jesus on the cross, the only thing a man must do to be saved is to 'accept Jesus as his all-sufficient Saviour'. This separates faith from repentance, the 'essential' elements of the Gospel from the non-essential, the kerygma from the didache, and salvation from sanctification. On its most basic level, it means a separation between Christ as Saviour and Christ as Lord. This produces a gospel which permits a man to maintain the values and attitudes prevalent in a consumer society and at the same time enjoy the temporal and eternal security which religion provides. His life will be clearly divided between his 'religion' compartment and his 'secular activities' compartment. God has something to say with regard to the first, but not the second: he will be a God interested in the worship service, but not in social problems, politics, business or international relations. This version of the Gospel is custom made for the 'artificial consumer majorities'. It is another easy product to market in the consumer society. ... (215-6)
    In the sphere of action, culture-Christianity reflects the conditioning of the consumer society. ... This expressed one of the most obvious forms in which the church has adjusted herself to the world. To accompany a truncated Gospel, we have an evangelistic methodology which mechanises the addition of people to the church. if in consumer society the constant increase of production is the only interest, it is quite understandable that consumer religion would give priority to the numerical increase of the church. ...
    In the last analysis, these two methods correspond to two conceptions of the Gospel, the mission of the church and the Christian life. If our evangelical churches have given primacy to an accounting on the basis of the bare minimum, this demonstrates that they have not been able to escape from the conditioning of consumer society and, in their interest to find more converts, have accommodated their message to this society. The necessary reform demands a total reconstruction of the local church so that it may embody the demands of the Gospel. (217-8)

"The church has only two alternatives in its confrontation with the world: either it adapts itself to the world and betrays the Gospel, or it responds to the Gospel and enters into conflict with the world. The world (in the negative sense of the word) is a system in which evil is organized against God. The life-style which it imposes upon men is a slavery to the principalities and powers of evil. It cannot tolerate the presence of values or criteria which challenge its powerful conditioning influence. ... Satanic activity can even be present within the church in the message which it preaches and the methodology which it uses to spread its message. ... The church is called to incarnate the Kingdom of God in the midst of the kingdoms of this world. ... Conflict is inevitable when the church takes the Gospel seriously. (218, 220)

from The New Face of Evangelicalism edited by C. Rene Padilla

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