I was required for class to read a chapter entitled “A Socio-Theological Typology.” That title is a microcosm of my main complaint about the book. Based on the title, what is the chapter about? I fear that couching clear, penetrating truth from God’s Word in technical jargon makes the reader unable to access the life-giving, soul-refreshing information about God found in the book! The author of this book has some good things to say. Unfortunately, it is so often obscured by intelligent-sounding language that the knife-edge of truth is dulled.
I confess it is tempting to write in academia-influenced languages for my papers as well. It’s easy to come across as godly by using big words or complex phrases. Use “noetic effects” instead of “sin nature” or “typological manifestation” instead of “example.” Here’s some quotes from the book and my reworkings in italics underneath:
“The church has an ontological foundation that is invisible. But it also has a sociological matrix that is visible.”
The church is not a building or a visible organization, but rather is composed of redeemed children of God. However, it is also marked by action as well as belief.”
“He is keenly aware of the way in which a church gives permanence and identity to a social ethos, but he is profoundly alert to the way in which a church is used by the ruling powers to justify their favored position in society and silence all dissent.”
The church influences the morality and stability of a culture for the better; however, it can also be controlled by governments for the sake of their own gain and injury of those they rule.
“I think it wiser to begin with the holy catholic church, the invisible fellowship of faith, and assess the social manifestations of religion in the light of this transcultural and transindividual criterion.”
It is wiser evaluate the effects of the universal church on culture, rather than on a culture-by-culture basis.
I’m not trying to diminish the value of this particular book or impugning the motives of the author. However, I hope that we as Christians write in a way which communicates the clarity of the gospel which has been implanted in our hearts.