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: