Sunday, 30 September 2012

Modern thought clothed in Christian terms

"Our business is to present the Christian faith clothed in modern terms, not to propagate modern thought clothed in Christian terms. Confusion here is fatal".  Rev J I Packer, Church of England theologian.

There has been a subtle, but clear shift over the last few years throughout mainstream Christianity away from teaching a proper Christian world view towards a faith based on a worldview which is scientific secularism and atheism.  

This shift is happening due to people not properly growing up from the foundation of Scripture. It is also due to: 

a) post-modernity seeing all suffering as "evil" and "without purpose" (e.g. promoting euthanasia etc) 
b) superficial church courses claiming to teach a "Christianity" which is not Scriptural Christianity.

This result in believers holding impossible, contradictory positions i.e.holding a non-Christian "deist" worldview while professing to be a Christian believer. 

The secular (atheist) worldview equates everything that happens with accident or probability, coincidence or natural laws.  It separates God from Nature (when in fact God created and works through Nature and its "natural" laws).  

Fully Christian believers hold unequivocally that God is in control of every detail of their lives They realise they are not self-existent beings, but totally reliant on Him. They hold that suffering (in the lives of believers) is neither a punishment or an accident. This reflects the Cross without which there is no final glory. "No Cross, no glory, no pain no gain". (See Romans 8.28 regarding Providence)

I explained this to a friend this week as follows: 

"In suggesting that your illness is not in the control of and permission of God, but merely a result of natural laws, evil forces, stresses, strains, accidents, you are holding to a deist worldview.  If God is not in control, He cannot use your illness for His glory and He is not ultimately responsible for ending it. 

The Deist God
This god set the world going and then retreated to a celestial armchair, to watch what unrolled. He was utterly shocked at what he saw saw unfolding - like we are when watching wars and famines on TV. Either he could not, or would not intervene when those who trusted in him were suffering.  He could bring no purpose or meaning out of all this evil and pain. is this god good?

The Christian God
He allowed free will to Man so that Man would not be a robot. 

Free will resulted in rebellion which resulted in sin, sickness, pain and death.  

He saw the pain in the lives of believers, which He was still in control of permitting and even using for higher purposes.  

He saw the suffering of unbelievers and used it as "a megaphone" (C S Lewis) to speak to them about Himself - if they were willing to open their ears. 

He was unwilling to afflict his own (believers) but He saw it was necessary for their greater good (Romans 8.28) and to bring meaning out of evil forces (confound them). 

Then sent His Son to die for man's selfishness and sins, to preach forgiveness to those who believe in Him and give a promise of a Place where there is freedom from all sickness and pain. This Son died in the most painful way possible.

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