Lukewarm Christianity and Cul-de-Sacs

Return of the prodigal son

Return of the prodigal son (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is from an old article,  The London Times of August 2003, and Matthew Parris is an atheist but, he diagnoses exactly what is wrong with modern Christianity, and I would venture to say why so many churches (including mine) are losing membership. See what you think:

Anglican evangelicals are right. Knowingly to appoint gay bishops robs Christianity of meaning. It is time that convinced Christians stopped trying to reconcile their spiritual beliefs with the modern age and understood that if one thing comes clearly through every account we have of Jesus’s teaching, it is that His followers are not urged to accommodate themselves to their age, but to the mind of God. Christianity is not supposed to be comfortable or feel “natural”. The mind of God, contemplating the behaviour of man, is not expected to be suffused with a spirit of “whatever”. As it happens I do not believe in the mind of God. But Christians do and must strive to know more of it.Nothing they read in the Old and New Testaments gives a scintilla ofsupport to the view that the God of Israel was an inclusive God, orinclined to go with the grain of human nature; much they read suggests a righteous going against the grain.

Certainly it is true that Jesus departed from conventional Judaic teaching in the emphasis He put on forgiveness, but neither the story (for example) of the woman taken in adultery, nor the parable of the prodigal son suggest that He countenanced a continuation of the sins of either. What these stories teach is that repentance is acceptable to God however late it comes, and that the virtuous should not behave in a vindictive manner towards sinners. That is a very different thing from a shoulder-shrugging chuckle of “different strokes for different folks”.

It’s true you know, any other reading of the Bible is simply misleading at best, and it would more accurate to say false.

“Inclusive”, “moderate” or “sensible” Christianity is inching its way up a philosophical cul-de-sac. The Church stands for revealed truth and divine inspiration or it stands for nothing.Belief grounded in everyday experience alone is not belief. The attempt, sustained since the Reformation, to establish the truth of Christianity on the rock of human observation of our own natures and of the world around us runs right against what the Bible teaches from the moment Moses beheld a burning bush in the Egyptian desert to the point when Jesus rises from the dead in His sepulchre. Stripped of the supernatural, the Church is
on a losing wicket.

Even as a ten-year-old boy in Miss Silk’s Scripture class, when I heard the account of how the parting of the Red Sea could actually be explained by freak tides, and that the story of the loaves and fishes really taught us how Jesus set an example by sharing His disciples’ picnic (so everybody else shared theirs), I thought: “Don’t be silly Miss Silk! If Jesus couldn’t do miracles, why should we listen? If the bush was just burning naturally, then Moses was fooled.”

Matthew Parris – An Atheist Homosexual with a Better Understanding of Christianity than many Church leaders! | The Wee Flea.

He’s right, Christianity without God is pretty much meaningless, In a comment long ago on Jess’ Watchtower, I referred to many of our churches as “A coffee shop full of do gooders”. Now mind you, there is nothing wrong with doing good works, we are called by Christ to do so, and He gives us the grace to do so, out of our own assets, not by getting the government to steal our neighbors stuff to give to our other neighbors, minus a handling fee. But we are also called to be God-botherers and partakers in the mission.

But Christianity has always believed that “we are not of the world, although we are in the world”. I think we have had it so good for so long in the west that we have forgotten that. We think Christianity is supposed to be easy and comfortable. if it is, well, you’re not doing it right.

Something else I’ve learned on Jess’ blog is that most of us there are on our second or third church before we found one with what we were looking for. There’s another commonality amongst us: that have been there for a considerable period, we’re either hot or cold, , quite liberal or very conservative (that’s most of us). None is lukewarm.

Maybe we all read Revelations 3

15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.

16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:

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9 Responses to Lukewarm Christianity and Cul-de-Sacs

  1. Ike Jakson says:

    Nebraska

    I find it difficult to be as open [it’s such a good word and I can’t think of any other fancy word in this instance] about your faith; you put it so well too that one can hardly add to it.

    But I must try it once because I always feel guilty for not responding to your work on this line often enough. It has now grabbed me by the innards and I shall try.

    We [though certainly not including I, [but him, or that I], guilty for not speaking out] have adjusted Christianity, amended and adapted it so much already that what we practice has little of God left in it. It is time that we submit to the Almighty Him our Creator and of all that is in the Universe, and say: that’s it Period.

    IkeJ

    Liked by 1 person

    • NEO says:

      That’s pretty much my point, Ike. i have friends that think vatican II will likely kill the Church (mostly catholic, of course). i find that too extreme but we need to remember that there are consequences for our actions both in this world and the next. As for the openness, well i also write for Jess’ All Along the Watchtower, which is specifically a christian blog, and so I’ve learned to, it took a while.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Vatican II, should only afford to “Roman Catholic” Christianity! Why should it speak to us Reformational and Reformed? I have been there and done that! Vatican II has shown for me at least, that Catholicism has proved to be anything but ancient, and from the true Western Roman Empire! I would bring so many against here, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Athanasius, and even Augustine!

        Note, I am NOT seeking a fight here with my Catholic friends, but one must and can but speak “His own” truth! And I was born, raised and early educated Irish Roman Catholic. But, I could never submit myself there again!

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        • NEO says:

          Because it speaks with the same voice as Lambeth which first showed the trend in print, and so it becomes a problem across the churches. Many agree with you but, i find that view too extreme, not all novelty is bad. A church that speaks to no-one is of no use either, which is not saying that beliefs should be compromised, but they should be made understandable.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Sadly too Anglicanism has gone south also, any right Reformational minded Christian can see this today also! There is simply an intrinsic difference between Protestant classic Anglicanism and Roman Catholicism! And those of us that have been somewhat on the inside of Catholicism quite know the difference! The whole difference of scripture and authority between the two can be noted here also. But biblically Reformational Christians surely know this, or should! The lives of men like Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, Knox, etc. easily press this! (Not to mention men like Beza and Turretin, the cream of Calvin’s academy!) And not to mention too many of our own men since! One of my favorite men here today is one of our evangelical Anglicans, Peter Toon! (Died however way too early, RIP! 1939-2009, Just ten years my senior. I miss him!)

          Btw, speaking of Lambeth, note the Lambeth Articles, 1595, surely pronounced Calvinism here! And then later the Irish Articles 1615, Archbishop Ussher. And yes, Reformed theology and divinity is still alive and well with many today also!

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        • Btw, one last note, but “novelty” was and is still one of the arguments by Catholicism against Protestantism, when in reality it was reform and back to the sources that the Reformation Fathers sought! And this was the idea of Vatican II itself towards modernity, but its history has little helped the historical Catholic Church understand it’s own pastoral dogma! When one looks at Vatican II, as with “Francis”, one gets cafeteria style definitions, and from all kinds of Catholics! And now simply, again with “Francis” Catholicism is hit and miss. Indeed, just what is Roman Catholicism? Certainly no longer Traditional! I have quoted the Catechism (Second Edition, 1994, 1997) often, but I get blank like replies?

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  2. Also one thing that this article should tell us, and loudly! Is that one cannot argue a person into Christianity or the Kingdom of God! This “atheist” writer should show us this, he knows something of the true aspect of Christianity, but NOT its essence, which is of course “regeneration” In Christ! Without true life in and from Jesus who is the Christ and Messiah, i.e. the Lord of Life and Death, we know nothing lasting or real! (Romans 14: 7-8-9)… Note too, it is here where we will give any true “account of himself (ourselves) to God.” (See also, Romans 14: 10-12).

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    • Thus in my theological belief, your not In Christ one day, and then “out” the next, but one must know and truly hear “My voice” and open the door to Him! (Rev. 3: 20): “The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God.” (Verse 14) The essence is really always Christ Himself, and knowing and following HIM! “Those whom I love, I reprove, and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent.” (Verse 19) And only those in true relationship can respond in such a true living manner! The great question here, is am I ‘In Christ’? And “lukewarm” is not the sign of one who has simply grown weary, but one who has the “form” of godliness, but not the power and reality thereof! (2 Tim. 3: 5)

      THIS is a huge question for the church of our day! Btw, the whole Texts and Letters of the Seven Churches, (Rev. 2-3) of Asia Minor (Modern Turkey) is so profound! We might call them “spiritually” prophetic, noting Rev. 1: 1-3… “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it, for the time is near.” (Verse 3)

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  3. Pingback: My Article Read (3-22-2015) | My Daily Musing

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