In 1966, the World Council of Churches...adopted the bizarre dictum, "The world must set the agenda for the church."
Theology, former Queen of the Sciences, has lost her throne and is now earning her living as a runway model in the fashion houses of today's thought.
Is the culture decisive and the audience sovereign for the Christian church? Not for one moment. God forbid. The client and the consumer may be king for free-enterprise. Serving the shareholders may be obligatory for the directors of corporations. But the church of Christ is not under the sway of market totalitarianism--even in America where capitalism is king, pope, and emperor all rolled into one. From the prophets' "This is the word of the Lord" to the reformer's Here I stand; so help me, God, I can do no other," the message, not the audience, is always sovereign, and the culture is always potentially the world set over against Christ and His kingdom. To think and live otherwise is to recycle the classic error
of liberalism and to court the worldliness, irrelevance, and spiritual adultery that it represents.
It is not too much to say that the combined efforts of...Protestant liberal renegades and revisionists are a key part of the story of the loss of the West by the Christian church. More importantly, such ex-believers, who put other Gods before God, and weakly believing re-interpreters, who put other gods beside God, are the main reason for the loss of the Christian gospel in much of the Christian church in the West today.
With rare pockets of exception, the European church has capitulated to the triumph of the modern world much as the French did to the Nazis, and with the same resulting demoralization and divisions.
The crying need of the Western church today is for reformation and revival, and for a decisive liberation from the Babylonian captivity of modernity.
Hypocrisy is the homage that vice pays to virtue. -La Rochefoucauld
It is sad to note that today many evangelicals are the most superficial of religious believers--lightweight in thinking, gossamer-thin in theology, and avid proponents of spirituality-light in terms of preaching and responses to life.
He who marries the spirit of the age soon becomes a widower. -Dean Inge, St. Paul's Cathedral
Needless to say, Jesus' appeal in the gospels is as strong as his authority. No one in history has ever been more truly friendly to seekers. His hard sayings are no more the whole gospel than are his comforting sayings. The good news appeals far more than it repels, and it repels only to appeal at a far deeper level.
One...seed of Christian renewal has been the notion of sin, the church's "doctrine of its own failure." If all of us always go wrong, then corruption is no surprise and correction should be an automatic and needed response. The other seed of correction and renewal has been the church's belief in the word of God, which means that the church always has "a judgement that transcends history." The church may fall captive to this culture or that ideology, to this philosophy or that fashion. But when the Word of the Lord speaks and is listened to, the church wakes up to herself and the captivity can be thrown off.
God is always bigger than our misunderstandings of him.
At least five times the Faith has to all appearances gone to the dogs. In each of these five cases, it was the dog that died. -GK Chesterton
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Some quotes from Prophetic Untimeliness by Os Guinness.