Advancing through Adversity: Speaking of Jesus in our Secular and (nearly) ‘Post-Christian’ Setting
Opposition to Christian proclamation is no new phenomenon. Many of us have known that in various parts of the world missionaries carry out their work in the face of cultural and often legal adversity. Tragically, rather than decreasing, reputable reporting agencies demonstrate we are facing a discernible upswing in widespread anti-Christian behavior.
In North America and much of the so-called Christian West, Christians are significantly less-likely to face the kinds of violent persecution and social discrimination that fellow believers in many parts of the world do face with alarming regularity. And yet, decidedly non-Christian agendas and anti-Christian shifts in society are at work re-shaping our cultural landscape and impacting the ways in which we can expect to speak of Jesus and be heard.
Within the multiplying subcultures of the Midwest and even among the various ‘buckles’ of a generally shrinking Bible Belt, it cannot be assumed that Christians who speak confidently and particularly about Jesus will enjoy public acceptance. Sympathy with the broader cultural distaste for mission and evangelism is palpable and growing. Preaching in anticipation of conversion is viewed as an unvirtuous activity. Evangelism in our (nearly) post-Christian setting has become a dirty word.
In such a time and setting as we find ourselves in, how are we to conduct ourselves when speaking of Jesus? What characterizes the setting we are part of and what does this mean for our efforts at evangelism? Despite the many challenges, where might evangelistic opportunities be found? If these are the kinds of questions you and the community you belong to are asking, then join us this fall, October 4th+ 5th, for our annual Francis Schaeffer Institute Special Lectures featuring plenary sessions by Drs. John Dickson, Alan Noble, and Thurman Williams; and with presentations/workshops by other respected men and women.
Dates: Friday October 4 + Saturday October 5
Time: Friday Oct 4, 7:00-9:00pm; Saturday Oct 5, 9:00am-4:00pm (with all welcome to also attend Chapel, 10am Friday morning, and stay on for class following at 11am).
Cost: Individual Guests, $10.00 each / Groups of 4 or more $8.00 each / Students, $6.00 each
Dr. John Dickson is a public advocate for Christian faith and works as a writer, speaker, historian, and media presenter. The author of a dozen books and host of three TV documentaries, John has held lecturing and research positions at both Macquarie University (Sydney), and the University of Sydney (Department of Hebrew, Biblical and Jewish Studies). During 2017-19 he is a Visiting Academic of the Faculty of Classics at Oxford University (UK). John’s most recent publication is A Doubter’s Guide to Jesus(Zondervan, 2018).
Dr. Alan Noble is Assistant Professor of English, Oklahoma Baptist University. He is also Editor-in-Chief of the online magazine, Christ and Pop Culture; co-founder of the evangelical political organization, Public Faith; a member of the Leadership Council of the AND Campaign; and a freelance writer whose work has appeared in The Atlantic, Vox, Buzzfeed, First Things, Christianity Today, and The Gospel Coalition. Alan is the author of Disruptive Witness: Speaking Truth in a Distracted Age(IVP, 2018).
Dr. Thurman Williams is Church Planting Pastor at New City Fellowship-West End, St. Louis. Prior to moving to St. Louis in 2013, he was the Pastor of New Song Community Church (PCA), in the Sandtown community of inner-city Baltimore, MD. Thurman serves as a member of the PCA’s Mission to North America Committee and was previously the chairman of Chesapeake Presbytery’s Urban and Mercy Ministries Committee. He now serves on the Missouri Presbytery’s Reconciliation and Kingdom Justice Committee, as an examiner on the presbyery’s Credentials Committee, and as an adjunct professor of homiletics at Covenant Seminary.
Mark Meynell, Vanessa Hawkins, Al Dayhoff, John Inazu, Jessica + Zack Eswine