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Stan W. Wallace, DMin Posts

How Not To Be a Chronological Snob (Post 14)

This thirteenth shift in thinking since the Enlightenment is much like the air we breathe–so pervasive that we have a hard time even noticing it. To bring it into focus, last week I surveyed “the way things used to be” prior to the Enlightenment. This week I’ll begin comparing this with how things are after this fateful period of history, and how we are deeply influenced by the Enlightenment’s ideas about science, history, philosophy, ethics, and theology each and every day in our modern world.

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How Not To Be a Chronological Snob (Post 13)

A thirteenth shift in thinking that came about during the Enlightenment has surfaced many times in my posts. In fact, a day does not go by that we do not see this new way of thinking bubble up in conversations, news reports, editorials, books, and everywhere else we turn. I am speaking of the way we now assume there is a difference between “facts” and “values” and between “reason” and “faith.” But this has not always been the case.

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How Not To Be a Chronological Snob (Post 12)

How we think about what we are has far-reaching implications, including how we understand growth in Christ and our role in the world. Last week I discussed the dominant view prior to the Enlightenment, which I think got it right. This all changed beginning in the sixteenth century. A seismic shift occurred–out with Aristotle’s view and in again with Plato’s view. We see the results of this shift in many ways to this day.

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How Not To Be a Chronological Snob (Post 11)

The eleventh shift brought to us by the Enlightenment concerns how we think about growth in Christ. Our answers to these questions follow from a more fundamental question.

The more fundamental issue begins with the biblical idea that we have both a soul and a body. That is, we are a duality (this is known as “anthropological dualism” or “substance dualism”). How we think about growing as Christians depend on how we understand the nature of our souls, including how they are related to our bodies. From these beliefs, other conclusions are also drawn, including how we are to worship and serve Christ in the world.


How Not To Be a Chronological Snob (Post 10)

In the wake of the Enlightenment, we all struggle with a lack of connection to others. Not only has the broader culture become highly individualistic, but so has the church. The small group strategy is a main way to counter this tendency1. While promising, this strategy faces two significant challenges, which I have addressed in my last two posts: difficulty in building deep relationships (often because group members are connected only by geography) and a tendency to deteriorate into a superficial, subjective type of Bible study. I discussed how to address the first challenge two weeks ago; in this post I will propose ways to address the second challenge (though some may not be possible until COVID restrictions subside).

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How Not To Be a Chronological Snob (Post 9)

With the Enlightenment’s shift in thinking, we became much more individualistic. This shift has had some positive consequences but quite a few negative results, at both work and church. Last week I discussed one way the church attempts to respond to the loneliness and lack of community experienced by many in local congregations, and some ways we can do better. This week I’ll outline a second problem many small groups face, and the following week I will suggest some solutions.

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How Not To Be a Chronological Snob (Post 8)

The Enlightenment caused many shifts in our thinking. Last week, I discussed three ways it changed how we think about involvement in a local church. This week I begin discussing a fourth implication of this excessive individualism–the loss of community in our local churches. I also discuss one way this problem is being addressed via two models, one more effective than the other in my opinion.

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How Not To Be a Chronological Snob (Post 5)

We all see things and naturally wonder what caused them to happen. When we come home to shattered glass, we ask our kids who broke the window. When we do an experiment in the chemistry lab, we try to determine what caused the reaction. When I saw the “Dancing House” in Prague, I wondered what the blueprints must have looked like leading to such a structure. And when I see a new home being built in my neighborhood, I wonder who is having the house built and whether we might become good friends.

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