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Acts, Paul, Urbanization

Sunia here. I was just reading some material for next Sunday's teaching and discussion time. I came across this passage in a commentary, "The Message of Acts", by John R.W. Stott published in 1990:

"In 1850 there were only four "world class cities" of more than a million inhabitants; in 1980 there were 225, and by the year 2000 there may be 500. Or consider the so-called 'megapolis' or 'megacity' of more than ten million people. In 1950 only London and New York qualified. But by AD 2000 it is calculated that there will be twenty-three cities of this size, with Mexico City taking the lead at nearly thirty-million inhabitants, and Sao Paulo and Tokyo following at nearly twenty-five million. Most of these mega cities will be in the Third World; only four will be in Europe and the United States. Already two-fifths of the world's population are city-dwellers; by the end of the century the ratio will be more like one-half. [For a more recent article and info on urban growth click here.]

This process of urbanization, as a significant new fact of this century, constitutes a great challenge to the Christian church. On the one hand, there is an urgent need for Christian planners and architects, local government politicians, urban specialists, developers and community social workers, who will work for justice, peace, freedom and beauty in the city. On the other, Christians need to move into the cities, and experience the pains and pressures of living there, in order to win city-dwellers for Christ. Commuter Christianity (living in salubrious suburbia and commuting to an urban church) is no substitute for incarnational involvement."

Stott wrote this in exploring Paul's strategic travels and time spent in the major cities of his time (Athens, Corinth, and Ephesus). In being a church intentionally planted in the city I thought this was particularly interesting.

Talk to me. First thoughts? Second thoughts?