Sunday, April 13, 2008
Christianity – The Church of Christ or Compassion and Kindness, the Church of Oprah
Many today profess Christianity as their religion, more so than at any time in the past in terms of simple numbers. Yet what do they profess to confess?
Kindness, consideration for others, love of family, many things. So, to be a Christian, is it these things we must believe?
Is it kindness?
Be kind to your web-footed friends
For a duck may be somebody's mother
Be kind to your friends in the swamp
Where the weather is very, very damp
Is it, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”?
No, that is the Golden Rule.
Well, enough of that, what is it that must be believed?
Simply put, to be a Christian one must believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, He came into this world and gave His mortal life here that we might have eternal salvation.
If you do not believe that Jesus was the Son of God, think what that means, listen to CS Lewis, "I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: 'I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept His claim to be God.' That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic - on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg - or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronising nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to." (C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, The MacMillan Company, 1960, pp. 40-41.)
We know that when we die our bodies cease to hold our soul. To what end, what now?
Jesus tells us that through His death on the Cross, we gain the grace of God and eternal salvation.
Frankly, that was not explained by Him. Why not? Who knows, it is certainly above my pay grade. CS Lewis, the greatest Christian writer of all time explains it like this in Mere Christianity, “We are told that Christ was killed for us, that His death has washed out our sins, and that by dying He disabled death itself. That is the formula. That is Christianity. That is what has to be believed. Any theories we build up as to how Christ's death did all this are, in my view, quite secondary: mere plans or diagrams to be left alone if they do not help us, and, even if they do help us, not to be confused with the thing itself.
The Church of Oprah would have you believe that Jesus was a nice guy, a great teacher, but certainly not the only key to heaven. What did Jesus say about that?
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. John 14.6
The Church of Oprah and all their counterparts are picking and choosing what they want, the veritable smorgasbord of church theology. They pick what they want taking a few concepts from their poached egg, a few from Aphrodite, a few from Inanna, a few from Lara, a few from Baal and a bit of Molech and there you are. What is right for you may not be right for me.
Those churches are of this world. They do not worship the one true God, they worship Goodness. Goodness which they define and changes daily.
Our actions in this world are in anticipation of the world to come. We follow the lodestar of our God. There is right and there is wrong. It does not change. As Christians, we need to let Christ in to our lives, to let His Word be our guide. There is a tendency these days for people to believe that within each of us is God; a desire to believe that each of us has within themselves the necessary moral compass from which we can navigate our lives. Many “churches” advocate looking to within.
In the words of the song, “Christ within us.” A nice concept, but wrong. The words of the song, “Christ within us,” refers to the letting Christ into our lives to guide us. The Bible gives no credence to the thought that Christ is somehow buried in us and merely needs to be found.
We need to let Christ in to our lives as a point of reference, a polestar by whom we can navigate our lives towards that heavenly shore.
Spreading the Gospel requires each of us to plainly live as Christians and testify to others the value of such a lodestar in our lives. To be the New Man of Saint Paul’s letters, putting off the old. Not looking for God within our old, but rather putting on the new and following the new map with the new compass.