by Timothy Dalrymple –
Last night I had the occasion to share some thoughts on the theology of vocation. One of the greatest legacies of the Protestant Reformation, the doctrine of vocation has fallen on hard times. In the midst of economic crisis, in the midst of public pressures to private and compartmentalize our faith, and in the midst of a church-wide reexamination of the proper ways and means of cultural influence, the church must recover its theology of vocation. As I was preparing to offer my thoughts, I came across two passages I found inspiring. The first comes from Gene Edward Veith (from a special issue of the Journal of Markets and Morality), provost at Patrick Henry College (and a blogger). The emphases are mine:
Christians today urgently need to revive their commitment to whole-life discipleship. Millions of churchgoers are “Christians” for a few hours every week. Christianity is something they practice on Sunday morning rather than a way of life. The withering of discipleship is one of the gravest threats facing the church today.
One of the main causes of the problem is that churches and seminaries have disconnected discipleship from everyday life. Too often, pastors and professors talk about one’s “walk with God” and “stewardship” almost exclusively in terms of formally religious activities such as worship attendance, Bible study, evangelism, and giving. As important as these activities are for every Christian, they will never take up more than a tiny percentage of life for those who are not in full-time ministry. The largest portion of life—work in the home and in jobs—is excluded from the concepts of discipleship and stewardship. [Read more…]