What is ChurchETHOS?

Posted in christian thought, cultural relevance by Nathan Creitz on October 21, 2008

Ethos is a term from classical Greek that Aristotle used to identify the character or quality of an orator. When a person got up to speak but had spent no time establishing a connection with the audience, the audience was less likely to hear him out.

The word ethos also means the fundamental character, habits, or values of a community or person. Together, these meanings have to do with how we live and whether or not the culture around us will take us seriously. ChurchETHOS seeks to apply the term ethos to the way the Church behaves. What are it’s fundamental habits and character? What does a church do or not do? What habits do we need to form? What habits do we need to break? Ultimately, do these habits, that is, our ethos, help to transform culture? What are we saying? How are we acting? Is anyone listening and looking?

These are the questions ChurchETHOS will attempt to address. They are my thoughts on what it means to be a part of the family of God. The global Church is fractured into thousands of shards because of false doctrines and bad habits. It is important to think critically but lovingly about the doctrines and habits of the Church in order to have right belief (orthodoxy) and right practice (orthopraxy). Understanding the Body of Christ from a Biblical perspective under the guidance of the Spirit of God will help us to develop an ethos that will be faithful to God’s will and relevant to the culture around us. Jesus told His disciples that “[the world] will know that you are my followers because of your love for one another.” As one person put it: the Church is the best apologetic for the gospel the world will ever see. So what is the truth about the way we live?

One Response

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  1. rob culhane said, on December 10, 2009 at 8.23 pm

    There is certainly quite a lot of dissatisfaction with the culture in our churches. The reasons are fairly easy to identify and many have done this already. Few though are able to propose alternatives, apart from leaving the Church. I think one reason is few have a welll developed understanding of ecclesiology esp its historical development. Most Evangelicals have little historical understanding of the Church and seek to reconstruct an idealised one to replace what they have, or a simple reapplication of ‘the early church’ principles to subvert the institutional Church. I don’t blame them.

    However, I prefer to look at what has worked and why, and the theological and historical background to these churches and seek to listen to what they have to offer us today. I notice that these churches are liturgical in their focus, integrate word and sacrament, have a rich history which gives them stablilty and do not have the same degree of dualism of the secular/sacred divide which plagues the Protestant Church. But they are not perfect either, but they are helpful. My blog gives you an idea of how this worked out in the context of living in the suburbs with wife and kids.
    Yours in Christ,

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