An interesting post for all the “For the City” Churches.
One thing worth observing is that while Paul is said by many to have an URBAN strategy, the pattern in Luke-Acts is a HOUSEHOLD (oikos) strategy that stands out as much or more than the urban side. Of course urban areas were much more likely to host the extended family/business relations envisioned by the concept of Household/Oikos.
(I suppose it begs the question as to whether a first century city is exactly equivalent to a modern city sociologically, but that’s another question as well!)
A technical study on the topic of the “Household Conversion” being the focus of St. Paul’s ministry is found in:Household Conversion Narratives in Acts: Pattern and Interpretation (JSOT Supplement)
A much more popular, affordable, and practical exposition written by an actual evangelism practitioner and critic of the “prosperity gospel” (it’s worth the cost just to read the zingers!) is: The Luke 10 manual
It demonstrates how the “oikos” model is considered a viable mission strategy even today for a variety of reasons but does not address the “city” per se.
It’s funny how trends change, and it’s even funnier how church trends change. There was once a time when Presbyterian intellectuals made the argument that agrarian living was better than city-living. John Murray said this went back to the city’s founding-father, Cain, and the Southern Presbyterians often argued that agrarian living allowed one to be most human, in touch with the soil and protecting a certain “slow” pace that left time for community, literature, and family. If you can believe it, there was even a time when GK Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc argued that the suburbs were closest to the Christian ideal, allowing modern man to retain his economic freedom while yet also giving him his own space for land and a family. Now of course, the city is all the rage.
We are told that the church is itself a city, a “polis,” that the Biblical vision of the…
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