The Church in Exile: God's Counterculture in a Non-Christian World
Author: James W. Thompson
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Christians have become more and more a minority group inAmerican culture, and so now find themselves in a situation similarto the early Christians-facing the challenge of living as culturalexiles. THE CHURCH IN EXILE draws upon the epistle of 1 Peter,which was written to 'exiles,' to help us learn how to live faithfullywhen many around us do not share Christian values.
Because Christians in America now belong to a distinctly minority group, theirbehavior will increasingly be considered strange to the majority of the population.This new situation presents Christians with demanding tests-on the job, at school,and in our relationships with neighbors. We are now discovering the challenge ofbeing Christians when that is not a popular identity.
During the first four centuries, Christians met in small house churches surroundedby neighbors and even family members who scorned their beliefs and their morality.1 Peter was written to such believers. The 'alien' Christians who first read 1 Peter werenot strangers in their own lands because of their skin colors or their nationalities.Their obedience to the call of Christ had made them exiles.
According to 1 Peter, Christians are 'aliens and exiles' (2:11). The Christian life issimilar to the Israelites in Egypt or Babylon, who also did not assimilate into the largerpopulation. So today, how do we find the resources to live as exiles? The epistle of 1Peter is a sermon that was originally preached to offer such resources. THE CHURCH INEXILE applies this message to Christians in Dallas, Atlanta, Los Angeles, and Chicagoin the early twenty-first century, showing us how to live as a counterculture in a non-Christian world.
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