The International Council for Evangelical Theological Education (ICETE), took place October 29 to November 2, 2018, in Panama City, where the theological issue to be addressed was the “Sacred-Secular Division”. The Academic Vice Rector of SENDAS, Dr. Marco A. Velasco Sosa and his wife, Professor Myrza Enríquez, represented the institution.
In the midst a the diversity of theological traditions, the topic of the “sacred-secular” division of life was presented. This topic has greatly influenced evangelical thought and affected the Christian faith e-specially in the West- leading to a crisis over our poor Christian influence in the Western world.
Dr. Velasco shared the following statement regarding the topic:
An ancient letter dating from the early centuries of the Christian church reads:
Christians in the world are not distinguished from other men neither by the place where they live, nor by their language, nor by their way of life. They do not really have their own cities, nor do they use unusual speech … They live in Greek and barbarian cities, according to whatever hand they were dealt in life, they follow the customs of the inhabitants of the country, both in dress and in all their lifestyle, yet they show an admirable way of life and, incredible in the opinion of all… They live in the flesh, but not according to the flesh. They live on earth, but their citizenship is in heaven … They love everyone, and all persecute them … To put it in other words: Christians are in the world what the soul is in the body … So important is the position that God he has assigned them, from which it is not lawful for them to defect (From the letter to Diognetus, Christians in the World).
In the same tone of this ancient letter, regarding the public Christian testimony the call of ICETE is that we may be able to say that the Lord is not only Lord of Sundays. God is also Lord of Mondays and Tuesdays, and of the whole week including our most ordinary activities such as work, study or home chores.
Regarding secularism, we can say that it is a mentality that we have acquired as part of contemporary culture. How can we change this culture with such a mentality? First, we must become aware of the existence of the sacred-secular division in the culture we live in and the fact that we have incorporated that way of thinking into the way we make decisions that we shape our lives and our own Christian faith. Second, we must “not be conformed to this age”, as the Apostle Paul says. He calls us to be transformed “through the renewing of our minds” (Romans 12: 1-2). The sacred-secular division is deceptive, it makes us myopic of God’s will for our lives.
It is time to live like the Christians of the first three centuries who transformed their world by serving the Lord, without the sacred-secular division, as the ¨Carta a Diogneto¨ testifies:
¨They live in the flesh, but not according to the flesh. They live on earth, but their citizenship is in heaven…¨
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