GATEWAY THEOLOGICAL ROUNDTABLE 2019
The first annual GSI Theological Roundtable was a great success with 20 participants from seven states. There were great discussions around the topics of Gender Identity and Sexuality, Biblical Counseling in a Non-Biblical Word and Artificial Intelligence and the Moral/Ethical Implications.
The GSI Theological Roundtable is an annual gathering of leaders purposed to discuss and dialogue on current issues that affect the church snd the culture around us. Our goal is to not only understand the issues but to explore ways to help others in our areas of ministry to deal with things by thinking Biblically - it's all about having a Christian Worldview!
This years topics are:
The Rise of Critical Theory and the Pastoral and Cultural Implications
Critical theory is rapidly rising in our society and has taken center stage in academia and the culture. The highly chargedThe political climate has not helped to slow the tide. Rather, it has heightened and even propelled its influence into every social arena. It is prominent and even undergirds much of the social justice movement. It is making its way into Christianity. It is impacting the average person on the street to see life through its lens without understanding from whence this philosophy comes. For example, if you as a white person have ever been criticized or corrected for speaking out about racial oppression because you do not understand the lived experience of a black person, then you have encountered critical theory. If a man is told that he cannot speak to the morality of abortion because he is not a woman, then you have experienced critical theory.
Critical theory is a social theory oriented toward critiquing and changing society as a whole, in contrast to traditional theory oriented only to understanding or explaining it. Critical theory emerged out of the Marxist tradition and it was developed by a group of sociologists at the University of Frankfurt in Germany who referred to themselves as The Frankfurt School.
Critical theory is fundamentally flawed and is at odds with Christianity! Join us as we look into the practical ways we as pastors and church leaders can engage our culture with a Biblical Worldview and challenge the philosophies of this world. Some of the key sub-topics that could flow from our discussion on Critical Theory could be: Race Relations and a Gospel Approach to Freedom for All, The Politicization of Critical Theory and the Deconstruction Movement, Societal Pluralism and a Biblical Approach to Unify People Groups and Presuppositional Bias and a Christ-Centered Approach to Persuasion.
The Role of the Church in Culture Creation and Political Participation
The assertion that the church and the state are to be separated is, of course, a misnomer! There is also an alternative assertion that says that the church is important in the political system of a nation based upon its local activity in connecting and mobilizing people to engage the political process. Both of these assertions are in need of evaluation and discussion.
In considering the alternative assertion, we see two ways in which the local church does this. First, local church participation in the political process builds ‘social capital’ that enables people to act together more effectively in the pursuit of shared objectives. Second, local congregations frequently function as part of a broader institutional network or denomination which mobilize people into public life through the provision of political information and participatory resources. Alexis de Tocqueville noted that local associations were frequently part of trans-local networks that ‘connected people across places and linked localities to civic affairs in states and in the nation as a whole.’
The question is whether or not these are healthy ways for the church to function. Is political engagement an essential part of the purpose of the church or does this type of engagement take away from the church and its effectiveness? Do the religious institutions of our day have the potential to act as agents of political mobilization and as intermediaries between the individual and the state? Do these religious institutions have a responsibility to serve in this way with political responsibility due to its role as an arbiter of truth, law and morality in society? As a local entity connected to local communities, does it carry the weight of political empowerment that will eventually lead to cultural transformation? What limitations are there to these matters and how can the church engage without compromising the true nature of its existence and purpose?
These are important questions that matter and need to be considered and discussed to better position the church to reveal and release the Kingdom of God in the earth.
Religious Exclusivity, Political Pluralism and the Pursuit of Human Flourishing
Religious exclusivism, or exclusivity, is the doctrine or belief that only one particular religion or belief system is true. This is in contrast to religious pluralism, which believes that all religions provide valid responses to the existence of God. Political pluralism is a philosophy concerned with recognizing and affirming diversity of political views, which permits the peaceful coexistence of different interests, convictions, and lifestyles. The question is, ‘can these two approaches in the corporate life of a nation co-exist and succeed in an effort to see humans flourish?’
Increasingly people of diverse religious backgrounds live together under the same political roof. At the same time, many people embrace politically assertive and religiously exclusivist religions. One of the central questions of today is whether and to what extent it is possible for religious exclusivists to embrace pluralism as a political project. That is, can you believe that your religious tradition is the correct one and still affirm a form of political pluralism that allows others to hold different views?
Join us as we explore these ideas and discover what the Bible may say about such things.