Archive for August 14th, 2008

Friends,

Since no one else is posting today, I thought perhaps I would share a quote with you that is most interesting. Jacques Ellul’s book The Subversion of Christianity is making a strong case for how the church has not properly engaged culture but has, rather, baptized pagan practices, called them Sacred, and continued on without nary another word. In other words, the church has really failed to engage the real heart of the matter which is spiritual. This quote is from his chapter titled Moralism. In this chapter he is arguing that Christians have substituted a bland moralism for the Gospel revelation of Christ (”The perversion, then, was that of making the gospel into law in order to respond to the challenge offered to revelation by the successive outbursts of immorality and ethical disorder.”, 89) I cannot tell you how important this chapter is, and I wish I could type the entire chapter in for you to read. I can’t say I’m on board with all he says, but I am on board with this quote. Here he is, using the example of ‘anti-feminism’ in the church, to make his case that the church has used poor substitutes in its syncretism of the culture. Consider:

I do not deny that government must make laws or that we need police and the courts. I am simply saying that this is a makeshift that enables us to dam up the evil but that never solves anything. What happened was that Christians and the church adopted this attitude and took this course. All evangelical teaching is against it. What one might have expected of Christians and the church is that they would have replaced false love with the true love that comes from God, that they would have substituted the agape that serves for the eros of the Greeks, that they would have put the spirit of service in place of the spirit of domination, that they would have rejected punctilious legalism in favor of an open and supple human relationship, that they would have boosted the personal in place of the social, that they would have exalted personal appreciation in place of valid rules, that they would have looked on the heart rather than external conduct, that they would have checked sexual disorder by the triumph of true love between men and women, that they would have maintained everywhere a living flexibility in place of the rigidity of order; in short, that even at the cost of unavoidable sacrifices and sufferings they would have embodied and maintained feminine values in the bosom of this kind of society…In itself the gospel is good news; it is grace, joy, freedom, and love; in human relationships it means flexibility, finesse, concern for the little, the protection of the weak, and openness. Its transformation into a morality of duty and judgment, provoked by the immorality of surrounding society, and regarded as the only possible result and response–this is what led to the exclusion of women from their place and vocation, their rejection from circles of responsibility. Men were the ones who carried out this operation, who tried to protect the group in this way, as though they were threatened by violent military aggression.” (92-93)

There’s more to it than meets the eye and, to be sure, some terminology should be better defined. Still, at face value I think we can see that from Ellul’s point of view, we have made a poor substitution. So I ask you this question: Is he right? Should more, as in better, have been expected of the church? How have we failed? How can this problem be fixed? Are we the ones to do it?

Soli Deo Gloria!

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Friends,

Some recent comments on one of the threads got me to thinking about…oh…life…faith…what Christ thinks of us…and why His opinion matters far more than, perhaps to the exclusion of, anyone else. This morning I heard this song again for the first time and the lyrics really spoke to me. Enjoy.

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Soli Deo Gloria!

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