The Changing Face of Christian Responsibility Over Time -- By: Walter Hampel

Journal: Ashland Theological Journal
Volume: ATJ 36:0 (NA 2004)
Article: The Changing Face of Christian Responsibility Over Time
Author: Walter Hampel


The Changing Face of Christian Responsibility Over Time

Walter Hampel

Walter Hampel (MA, Ashland Theological Seminary) is an instructor in Christian Studies at William Tyndale College in Farmington Hills, Michigan.

Introduction

The site of Westminster Abbey in London, England has served as a place of Christian worship for over a thousand years. Originally founded in the 10th century as a Benedictine monastery on the Fleet River’s Thorney Island, the Abbey has seen the coronation of every English monarch (except for Edward V and Edward VIII) since the year 1066. God has been praised in chanted Psalms from the Abbey’s beginnings, up to the present time.

Consider how those Christians participating in worship a millennium ago have much in common with us. We each would look to Christ’s atoning death on the cross for our redemption. We each would find the very definition of our Christianity in our common belief in the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.1 We each would praise God and pray to Him for our needs. We each would hear the words of Scripture and be moved by the same Holy Spirit to confess ‘one Lord, one faith, one baptism.’2

While we have very much in common with the Christians, who over the centuries have worshipped in Westminster Abbey, there are significant differences. Some of these differences are denominational or theological in nature. Yet, there are differences which exist independent of whether the worshipper in the Abbey was a 13th century Catholic, a 16th century Anglican or a 21st century Evangelical.

There would be differences of language, of literacy and countless other factors. These differences are dependent on things such as the economy, history and nuances of culture. What is difficult in one time and circumstance may be very easy in another. For example, an 11th century Christian worshipping at the Abbey would have had to spend a fortune in his era to obtain a copy of the Bible in his own language. His 21st century counterpart would have to spend no more than an hour’s worth of his wages to obtain the same goal.

The responsibilities and privileges of a Christian can and do change with the passage of time. Our responsibilities and privileges as Christians have a constant factor across the years of church history by our belief in the core

essentials of the faith, our freedom in Christ and being obedient to God’s unchanging commands. Yet, much of our responsibility and privilege is found in a Christianity which h...

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