In this month’s issue of the magazine Christianity Today there is an article on “Hipster Christianity” that shows how a more historical Christianity is rising within the Evangelical church, the same church that was constructed a few decades ago through the Jesus Movement. In this Jesus Movement the liturgy, hymns and chanting were thrown out for a pop-culture style of worship and a theology of so-called “end-times” became the thrust of the church’s zeal and passion. Evangelicals began to preach a very fervent message of converting to Jesus based on the end of the world and the “rapture” of the church. But in today’s Hipster Christianity this is changing. Here is a quote from the Christianity Today article on the new Hipster theology.
“Hipster Christianity also expresses itself theologically, through preaching that often emphasizes covenantal and “new creation” ideas and attempts to construct a more ecclesiological or community-centric view of salvation. Things like soul-winning and going to heaven are downplayed in favor of the notion that heaven will come down to earth and renew the broken creation. Thus, the world matters. It’s not a piece of rotting kindling that we will abandon for heaven one day. It’s the site of a renewed kingdom. All of this informs hipster Christianity’s attention to things like social justice, environmentalism, and the arts, because if God is building his kingdom on earth, then it all matters.”
I am in no way advocating Hipster Christianity. It has many problems that accompany hedonism and Gnosticism – your typical traits of modernistic Christianity. What I am advocating here is the truth of Christ the Messiah that is proving itself NOT to extinguish from our society. The Evangelical faith WILL eventually fold to the historic faith that the Hipsters are partially embracing and Christ’s prophetic words, such as are found in John 4:23 and John 17:20-23, will prevail; that a true worship and a true unity will manifest itself on earth.
As Christ preaches in the Gospels, the kingdom of heaven is here, now! Christ commands that we pray that the earth continue to be transformed into heaven within the Lord’s Prayer itself.
Our Father,who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy Kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,the power and the glory,for ever and ever.
I am not implying the liberal notion that there is ultimately no consummation of Christ returning for his Church and instead a type of gradual consummation of society. On the contrary! What I am saying is that all of creation praises God in order to direct us to the great event of Christ’s return…but not before Christ grows the Church to be as one, as he so prophetically speaks in John 17. This does not mean that we will be perfect here on earth but it means that the Great Commission will actually be accomplished in a very real sense.
Something is happening within this world! The Kingdom of God is consuming people through the Gospel initiative of Christ. This inward change that these people experience manifests itself to society and creation as a whole. Granted, the devil’s demonic power fights against this the entire time but as Christ proclaims in Matthew 16, the gates of Hades shall not prevail against the Church. In fact, St. Paul says that Christ will reign until he puts all his enemies under his feet (1 Corinthians 15:25) and that the Church will consummate Israel as a part of this salvation, in Romans 11; Not that the Jewish religion of today will have any part of our Covenant but that what has grown out of Israel will be harvested by God: the promise land, which has extended far beyond the literal boundaries of Jerusalem. At the end, this will be called “the New Jerusalem” (Revelation 21). The old Israel is becoming a new Israel (Hebrews 8). This new initiative began at the incarnation of Christ. The incarnation began to grow into Christ preaching to Israel that their promise from God would be as Abraham promised, a covenant to all people everywhere, and that the very kingdom would be taken from them and given to another people (Luke 20:16; Matthew 21:43). This is the true fulfillment of what God promised Abraham!
St. Paul says in Romans that the entire creation groans for its redemption and that the heavens themselves declare the majesty of God. You can also see this in the Psalms, that creation declares God’s glory. You and I are a part of this creation! We cannot separate ourselves from it. When we offer ourselves to God, we offer all that we have and all that we are a part of. This is demonstrated in the offering on Sunday morning.
Worship itself is when creation meets covenant! This is very important to remember because worship involves the very giving back to God what he has first given us: his love, demonstrated through his creation, which through he manifested His son to us! Not that Christ is created but that he was given to us through the creative order. This is why we understand Mary to be a Saint. She was created like all of us, under sin, but later chose the greater path to bore the Son of Man, Christ Jesus. The incarnation of Christ was through both heaven and through earth, thus the incarnation brings the creative order to the heavenly order, like the Lord’s Prayer instructs us to pray.
The very reason why Christ preaches the healing of the sick and the caring of the poor, etc., is not so we can mark up as many good deeds in order to get in to heaven. He preaches that to us because what it means to become a part of “the way” (what the early church called Christianity) was to become a part of this “evolving” kingdom. God’s kingdom begins as a mustard seed – as described in Matthew 13 – and grows in to the largest plant in the garden. This involves drawing the people of the world in to the Church in order to be transformed. This transformation has a very serious residual effect! People begin to grow in Christ and thus bring this growth back in to the culture at large. They begin to practice EVERYTHING they do in terms of redemption” from waking up in the morning to going to bed at night, everything the Christian comes in to contact with is to become a part of God’s redeeming work.
The Covenant of Abraham, the lineage of David that produced the election of Mary, and the incarnation of Christ were given to us through the creative order at Eden! God set this in motion from that time. It is a natural thing that has been occurring and it is a natural thing that it becomes what Christ has said it will become. God’s redeeming power is working with and not against the natural order! He is that good. And he will continue that work he once began.