The resurrection of Jesus was the 'faith" of a believing community to the "hope" produced in the human heart by the message of a "god" that was "for them", the outcast, and forsaken.
While Job's revelation of "god" was a "mystery" that was beyond a "cause and effect:" of earning "god's favor", which undermines the understanding of "god" for the religious. The early Church "created the story" of "hope of resurrection" for those who had no "hope". These were not historical, but mythological religious images that met "universal" human "emotional" need, of belonging.
The apostle Paul, a "law-abiding" and observant Pharisee, understood this message of "hope" as a uniting of "all people", humanity. There was no distinction of the Jew or the Greek (Gentile).
The historical development of Church traditon grew up around the initial "story" of "hope for all" (Jew and Gentile/Greek), which formulated the Church's apologetic arguments for the validity of the "story".
With the development of scientific discovery and the understanding of the the human person through the social sciences, the "supernatural story" seemed unbelievable. The West has thus abandoned, or is abandoning the supernaturalistic "story" for a "natural" one. The Church is seeking a way to address this need, but apologetics won't do when the whole "story" has been undermined through understanding things in a more realistic way.
Some have thought that since the Church's main "mission" was to those who had no "power" then the Church should seek to develop those outside the political and religious "power structures", just as their "moral model", Jesus, did. The social "gospel" gave rise to this "mission" to those who were so convinced.
But, while humanitarian causes were the emphasis of the social gospel, there was little distinction of the Church from America's mission or message of individual "specialness" and humanitarian aid or mission as a nation, which has led to the Church's demise as an important influence in the culture, as a whole.
The Church developed two responses. One responded by accomodating to American culture (nominalism) and the Church became indistinct from any other social organization that sought similar goals, or had similar values.
The other response tried to define the Church in more distinctive ways from the nation's interest. The separation of the sacred and secular began in our culture, with the Puritans, which has led to a super- spiritualizing the text, traditon and community. The Church in distinguishing oneself in opposition to the "other" (the nation's interest) became undermining to the Church's believability, as it left the "real world" for a "transcendental one".
I find that false distinctions are only means of meeting narcisstic needs of "difference", instead of uniting with what we can and impacting society at large. Since there is no distinction of the sacred and secular, the Church has "problems" with identifying itself apart from "natural" human understandings. This is why the Church has almost died in the West and why Newsweek said that America had died as a Christian nation.
Just as there was really no difference between the Jew and the Greek, there is no difference between the sacred and secular in knowledge or human truth. All truth is God's. Truth is not a way of interpretation, as that would be dependent on humans, but truth is a matter of discovery, which is a matter of science, which is a part of the 'real world".
Academic Freedom Wesleyan Style
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