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OCMS Consultation on Insider Jesus

On November 16, 2017, OCMS had the privilege of hosting William A. Dyrness, Professor Emeritus of Theology and Culture, Fuller Theological Seminary, for a half-day consultation on new Christian movements titled Insider Jesus echoing the title of Bill’s new book published by InterVarsity Press (2016). We had about 30 participants from CMS, Interserve, Radcliffe College, RZIM-OCCA, and of course from the OCMS community.

In the main presentation, Bill had three sections each trying to answer the questions:

(a) What is God doing in the world?

(b) What about Culture?

(c) How does religion fit into all this?

Bill argues that God is already working in all human cultures and the critical task of missions is to recognize and respond to God’s work of restoring, recreating and renewing revealed both in Scripture and God’s actions in culture. We are called to participate in God’s new order of creation and the gospel is a window into this project which Jesus came to announce and establish. For Bill, culture is always a human project – what humans make of God’s good creation. Based on Isaiah 28, Bill argues that God celebrates and takes credit for this project of human culture. Bill pointed out that while God is present in human culture, at the same time the gospel is never native in any specific context. It is always good news. Finally, religion expresses the heart and soul of all cultures in the human attempt to reach out to God. Religion is at the heart of belonging to a community and can be evaluated in light of the gospel: the Christ-event. Religion, including Christianity does not save, only God saves.

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