Week 4 : How Churches Relate To Power
You can listen here: https://vermonthillsumc.org/podcast/4-ways-churches-relate-to-power/
Type 1: Adjust & Excel (Therapeutic Christianity)
Bible Verse you are likely to hear: Micah 6:8
He has told you, O mortal, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?
What they want for their kids: To be happy and to get into the right college
How they respond to crisis: Give
Type 2: Speak Truth To Power (Prophetic Christianity)
Bible Verse you are likely to hear: Amos 5: 23-24
Take away from me the noise of your songs;
I will not listen to the melody of your harps.
But let justice roll down like water
and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.
What they want for their kids: To be safe (a) and engaged (b)
How they respond to crisis: Protest / March / Organize
Type 3: Power From Beyond (Messianic Christianity)
Bible Verse you are likely to hear: John 3:16 and John 14:6
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way and the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me.”
What they want for their kids: To be saved
How they respond to crisis: Pray
Type 4: Culture Warriors (Dominion Christianity)
Bible Verse you are likely to hear: 2 Chronicles 7:14
if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, pray, seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
What they want for their kids: To be ready to give a defense (1 Peter 3:15)
How they respond to crisis: Vote
Each of these types of Christianity have a secondary emphasis and then a neglected element.
Type 1 (Adjust & Excel) usually has a prophetic element (Type 2) which manifests in political activism and a heart for issues of justice. It may lack a strong sense of ‘help from beyond’ (Type 3) and thus may not look to intercessory prayer as a resource.
Type 2 (Speak Truth to Power) usually has a messianic element (Type 3) which manifests in passionate worship and service. It may lack a therapeutic element (Type 1) and often results in participants feeling worn down and burned out.
Type 3 (Power from Beyond) usually has a strong therapeutic element (Type 1) to help them adjust to cultural challenges and personal difficulties. It may lack a prophetic element (Type 2) of intervening and advocating for societal change or political activity.
The hope for analyzing churches in this way is to encourage partnership and mutual learning for the betterment of the collective whole. We need each other as the Body of Christ and while the different members of the body have different roles and purposes, we can establish relationships that emphasize our strengths and compensate for our weaknesses.
This way of understanding the first 3 Types was developed as a model over the last 25 years but a fourth category has come to prominence in the past several years in N. America.
Type 4 (Dominion) is a little different than the first 3 in that it has a strong sense of all of these categories (well-rounded in that sense) but views itself as self-contained unit (in a sense) that is not dependent on ‘others’ for its needs and is not primarily concerned with the betterment of the whole in the same way that the first 3 Types are. Dominion theology, in this sense, wants to be in charge and to control the mechanism of power. They are not interested in making corrections to the existing system to make it more just and more equitable for all, but in taking the reigns and steering toward ‘the way it should be’ by imposing their will and converting those who are lost or gone astray. This can be done by force if necessary.