Challenges for Anabaptists in a Post-Christian Culture / by David Flowers

Hello CMF,

You have heard me mention the work of my friend and theological mentor, Greg Boyd, on many occasions here at CMF. Who exactly is Greg Boyd, and why should we be listening with open ears and hearts to what he has to say? 

Greg Boyd received his Ph. D. from Princeton Theological Seminary (1988), his M.Div. from Yale Divinity School (1982) and his B.A. from the University of Minnesota (1979). He was a professor of theology for 16 years at Bethel University (St. Paul, MN).

In 1992, Greg co-founded Woodland Hills Church, a large evangelical, now distinctively Anabaptist, fellowship in St. Paul, MN. The church currently has over 20,000 "pod-rishioners" who listen in from all over the world, some being led to plant Anabaptist churches where they live.

Greg is also president of ReKnew.org. He is a pastor, theologian, traveling speaker, and author of more than a dozen academic and popular books.

Some of his books include: 

Letters From a Skeptic: A Son Wrestles with His Father’s Questions about ChristianityThe Jesus Legend: A Case for the Historical Reliability of the Synoptic Jesus TraditionIs God to Blame?: Moving Beyond Pat Answers to the Problem of Evil, and the best-selling book The Myth of a Christian Nation: How the Quest for Political Power Is Destroying the Church, which led to a New York Times front-page article and several television interviews.

He is currently in the final stages of a big book project called, The Crucifixion of the Warrior God: Reinterpreting Divine Violence in Light of the Cross---a book aimed at reconciling the violence of the Old Testament with the non-violent Jesus of the New Testament.

In 2010, Greg was listed as one of the twenty most influential Christian scholars alive today.

He is a pioneering Christian intellectual and church practitioner. He continues to challenge evangelicals with his theological ideas and Kingdom vision. His work is an inspiration to those evangelicals who believe a revolution is needed in the church.

And Greg is also inspiring Anabaptists young and old to rediscover their tradition.

Over the last several years, Greg has been a frequent conference and event speaker at Eastern Mennonite University & Seminary, Messiah College, and Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary.

I started conversing with Greg in 2012 when I was first beginning to think about pastoring a church. He has since then been available to me for theological counsel, as well as practical advice on being a pastor. I think it's important for all of us to have mentors, and I'm glad Greg is one of mine. I hope that you will also be inspired and served by what God is doing through his ministry.

Greg Boyd On the Future of Anabaptism

Last September I had the privilege of attending the Missio Alliance conference in Carlisle, PA. I got to listen to some gifted Anabaptists during my two days at the event. Greg was one of them.

The focus of the event was on the Anabaptist movement. The theme was called Church & Post-Christian Culture: Christian Witness in the Way of Jesus. It was an encouraging gathering of folks from all across the country, and about a dozen or so from Virginia Mennonite Conference.

When you have some time, please watch the video below of Greg's talk at Missio Alliance. Greg shares a bit of his story in the first 20 minutes, then he shares what he believes are major obstacles or challenges to the Anabaptist tradition moving forward today in a post-Christian culture.

Listen to Greg talk about the need for new wine-skins to hold the new wine that Christ is pouring out. Grab a cup of coffee or tea, sit back, and enjoy the message. You'll be glad you did.

Here are the challenges in a nutshell:

  • Anabaptists must hold to a high view of Biblical authority and the inspiration of Scripture, while continuing to maintain a Christo-centric reading of the Bible; resist conformity to culture.
  • People have been immunized to Kingdom language, powerful words have been co-opted by culture, losing counter-cultural meaning; we need to reclaim them for Christ.
  • We need to seek new ways of reaching people who resonate with the Anabaptist/Kingdom perspective, moving outside of our comfortable church culture to reach the lost.
“No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”  
Matthew 9:16-17 NIV


Blessings,
Pastor David