Oliver O’Donovan on how to be Alert to the signs of our time

Posted by Kendall Harmon

We cannot choose not to wonder at the characteristics of our era. If there are those who do not do so, let us by all means not awaken them. But when philosophical wonder, unbidden, uninvited, sets before us the culture of our time, we can no more suppress it than blaspheme against the Holy Spirit. There is plenty to show that those who do not make an effort to read their times in a disciplined way read them all the same, but with narrow and parochial prejudice. . . . The disciplines we need are those that good modernity-critics display: to see the marks of our time as the products of our past; to notice the danger civilisation poses to itself, not only the danger of barbarian reaction; to attend especially not to those features which strike our contemporaries as controversial, but to those which would have astonished an onlooker from the past but which seem to us too obvious to question.

There is another reason, strictly theological. To be alert to the signs of the times is a gospel requirement, laid upon us as Jesus' first hearers.
--Oliver O'Donovan, The Desire of the Nations: Rediscovering the Roots of Political Theology (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), p. 273 (my emphasis)

(Mars Hill Audio)

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchHistory* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* Theology

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