Social change is a fact of life that we must have a proper understanding of if we are to maintain a Kingdom mindset in line with God’s plan for our lives. Bishop and Hines (2012) propose 10 different theories of social change and depending on our culture of origin, or the culture we identify with, we naturally become proponents of certain theories (Heddendorf & Vos, 2010). The challenge comes for Christians when there is a lack of alignment between the social theory one either knowingly of unknowingly endorses, but is in contrast with the teachings of scripture and the heart of God.
For instance, the progress theory of social change assumes that change is forward motion and the future version of our world, country, or society will be better than the current version (Bishop and Hines, 2012). In order for this to be the case, there would need to be strategy involved with a degree of consensus on what is to be considered better. Do human beings living a longer life constitute a better overall existence of mankind? What about the poverty, homelessness, and resource deficits that are created as a result of overpopulation? Do these change progressions sound like positive steps forward?
Putting it back into a Christian context, what is the relationship of the progress theory with the advancement of the Kingdom of God? On one hand, one could argue that a growing global population makes it increasingly difficult to evangelize with the Gospel, and if bringing others into a right relationship with God a high priority, then the progress theory would appear to be negative rather than positive. Alternatively, though, the technology theory may be seen as positive because it provides more powerful tools for evangelization.
From a Christian perspective, what theory seems to align with God’s plan, or do any of them?
Bishop, P., & Hines, A. (2012). Social change. In Teaching about the future. New York, N.Y: Palgrave Macmillan.
Heddendorf, R., & Vos, M. (2010). Hidden threads: a Christian critique of sociological theory (2nd ed.). Lanham, Md: University Press of America.