The ‘Grand Challenges’ for Theology in the 21st Century

The Complex Christ asked what these ‘grand challenges’ are.  Here are a few highlights that inspired me to think:

Vanessa Elston (teacher) In very basic terms how do we move from a reformation/protestant/enlightenment emphasis on the salvation of the individual to one of communal participation in salvation.

As protestants we get so hung up about the reformation and the need for personal salvation.  When taken to the extremes, people can become only concerned about the moment of conversion.  When this happens we lose all grasp of discipleship and community living.  We forget the shared experience and how to carry each other on the journey.

Becky Garrison (writer / satirist) The challenge is finding ways to communicate theological change without becoming yet another crass Christian marketing machine.

This is a difficult one.  We are to be missional.  We are to attract people to the gospel.  We are to market Jesus.  And yet we’re not…

And a word from Kester himself:

However, finally, the question is whether any of this is any different to any other time in history. If these are the grand questions now, have they ever been any different? And if not, are we failing in our theological practice, or simply evolving to cope with a changing world?

The challenge is believing in a God who is the same yesterday, today and forever whilst living in a world that is not.  Truth was present before the world and after it and yet we move through a time of change.  I don’t beleive that the church facing the challenge of change is a new phenomenon, I am sure that in all centuries there have been great obstacles that need to be overcome, issues that need to be faced and conflicts that need to be resolved.  The question is, how do we today engage our issues with the God of truth who was and is and is to come?


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