My favorite theologian, Stanley Hauerwas, once said, “Americans do not have to believe in God, because they believe that it is a good thing simply to believe: all they need is a general belief in belief.”
Hauerwas, here, calls into question the faith that most American Christians claim to possess, implying that most do not believe in the very particular God of Christianity but, instead, hold a very vague belief in belief.
I wonder if he is right.
Does the average American church goer really know what it is that he or she believes or are they satisfied with mere belief? Perhaps this vague belief in belief is what produces the type of person who says, “Jesus is Lord – but that’s just my personal opinion.”
This vague word “god” that we hear so much about and is inscribed on our money (In God We Trust) can be very misleading, especially to Christians who worship the particular God who raised Jesus from the dead having first raised Israel out of Egypt, as there is no indication that this is the God inscribed on the quarter in your pocket.
Do you know what you believe? Are your beliefs distinctly Christian?
Our new summer series “Surprised by Hope” seeks to clear away the fray and take a closer look at the distinctive nature of Christian belief.
— What is the great Christian hope? Is it just that we get to go to heaven when we die? Or is there something more?
— What exactly is heaven, anyway?
— What does it mean to be the church? What is the church’s relationship to the world?
— What is salvation? What are we saved from? Is it possible that we are also saved FOR something?
— Jesus died for us, so why does the resurrection matter? Was it just an epic magic trick to prove that Jesus was God or is it, perhaps, a sign of things to come?
Many of these questions are centered around words in the Christian vocabulary that can feel familiar, almost a bit worn. Words like heaven, resurrection, salvation, and church. Though these words often feel mundane, they are, in fact, words that should stir our imagination and cause our heart to race.
With author of “Surprised by Hope” N.T. Wright as our guide, via video, we will take a fresh look at these familiar landmarks with the hope that they will take on new meaning that will, in turn, transform your life.
So join us at Kingdom Culture on Sunday mornings during June & July as we begin our new study “Surprised by Hope.”