Ever since I found myself apart of the confessional reformed church, I have always been struck by the reversal of roles that often occurs in the “liturgies” of contemporary evangelicalism, more so that I have been removed from the Sabbath practices of American Evangelicalism, specifically. Dr. Horton, more succinctly than I, identifies the unintentional estrangement from the historic worshipping church that results from the reorientation of biblical anthropology and ecclesiology. Continue reading “The Dumbing Down Of Reverance and Awe”
The social gospel, the belief that Church has the skills and obligation to ameliorate the moral deficiencies society, both real and imaginary, is not only a disorder of the liberal church today but of those that ostensibly identify as conservative evangelicals. But the real differences are largely circumstantial, rather than largely substantial. Both seem to be more concerned with a socio/political vision of the perfect society than with the person and work of Jesus; the great society rather than the great commission. This is where we’ve come to, where the differences between the liberals and conservatives in the church are ones of moral persuasion rather a commitment to a transcendent message.
As a result, the politics and the ideologies that develop with the subsumption of theology to social activism contribute to the privation of sanctuary that the church is supposed to provide for the body of Christ. There is no escaping the travails of society in the Church when to it has been co-opted by politicians and those they manifest from as a wing of their political party and a means of legislative dominance. And Evangelicalism has embraced the message and vociferously dispensed with the spirituality of the Church. And without the spirituality of the Church, one may argue that the institutional Church vanishes, along with any true and lasting influence, namely the gospel.
Almost a hundred years ago J. Gresham Machen, seeing something similar in his own day, and foreshadowing our current predicament, closed Christianity and Liberalism with this.
Is there no refuge from strife? Is there no place of refreshing where a man can prepare for the battle of life? Is there no place where two or three can gather in Jesus name, to forget the moment all those things that divide nation from nation and race from race, to forget human pride, to forget the passions of war, to forget the puzzling problems of industrial strife, and to unite in overflowing gratitude at the foot of the cross? If there be such a place, then that is the house of God and that the gate of heaven. And from under the threshold of that house will go forth a river that will revive the weary world.J. Gresham Machen
As I’m reading through How (Not) To Be Secular by James K. A. Smith, some things just stick out as being both relevant and radical, yet comfortingly orthodox and in need of remembrance. What he says here is simple but being forgotten by wide swaths of Evangelicalism, if they even knew it. Highly reminiscent of Michael Horton, he says,
But to reject God’s personhood and agency entailed rejecting an entire fabric of Christianity that revolved around religion as communion…To depersonalize God is to deny the importance of communion and the community of communion that is the church, home to that meal that is called “Communion.”
D.G. Hart hits it spot on regarding the relative confusion and pathos that is the presence of the evangelicalism on the right and especially in the Republican party. Theocratic tendencies will always attempt to assert themselves in a vacuum of political sensibility and absence of a true, formal and active distinction between that which is Sacred and that which is Secular. Continue reading “A Collusion of Confusion”