Augustine for the Americans

Yesterday, Canon and Culture posted Bruce Ashford’s essay on Augustine’s relevance for 21st century American Christians, “Augustine for Americans: Lessons on Christianity & Public Life from a Fifth-Century North African Theologian.”

Here’s an excerpt:

Augustine worked hard to understand his cultural context, immersing himself in the historical, political, philosophical, and religious literature of his day. We, too, should work hard to understand the cultural context of our day. If, as Rieff argues, culture undergirds social order and if we live in a day when many of our culture-makers are producing deathworks, then our (American) service to God includes the necessity of exposing these deathworks for what they are. We dare not wait until Rome is burning to raise the alarm.

Read the full post here. It will be worth your time.

The World That Missionaries Made

Recently, Robert Woodberry created a stir when he published his findings on the impact that evangelical missionaries have had on developing countries. The current consensus among most anthropologists and sociologists is that missionaries have had an overall detrimental effect on the cultures in which they engaged. Woodberry, an assistant professor of sociology at the Univ. of Texas argues that, rather than exerting a negative influence, conversionist missionaries played a pivotal role in the rise of democracy in majority world nations. In fact, the evidence indicates that such missionaries were the key factor in those countries.Woodberry

The Southeastern community has an opportunity to hear Dr Woodberry make his case. The Bush Center for Faith and Culture and the Drummond Center for Great Commission Studies are hosting a lecture by Dr Woodberry this Thursday, at 7 pm, in the sanctuary of Wake Forest Baptist Church. The church is located on the campus of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. You can register for the event here.