Thursday, June 12, 2014
No longer can religion be said to derive from the virtue of pietas, that is, what man owes to God. Faith now centers on “who I am” rather than what is. If a traditional or orthodox practice or belief has any value, it is only in how much emotional comfort and stability it can offer. As soon as one feels that such practice or dogma no longer suits him, he is encouraged to dispense with it so as to explore new, self-created “faith-identities.” At no point does religion require one to submit to a reality that is not created but received (cf. 1 Cor 15:3). As such, instead of being drawn out of himself toward a transcendent reality, one becomes trapped within the self-created illusions of his own sentimentality.He is so right here! But I am less concerned that this is a description of theological liberalism than I am that this applies to a lesser extent to how even political conservative churches do outreach and evangelism. We do programs to fill the community needs. We change music and other aspects of the Sunday morning service to suit the desire of the community. We avoid discussing "sin" too much because it turns people off. In so many ways, while we never stray in what we preach, we say to those coming that their "emotional comfort" is paramount in how we operate the church. Practically, if not in our "message," do indeed lower the sights to "this-worldly concerns."
It is this neglect of man’s transcendent end – his salvation – that is perhaps the most dangerous feature of modern collegiate theological liberalism. The religious sights have been lowered to this-worldly concerns.
The concept of message goes so far beyond reading preaching and media. Anybody can do those things. What makes them "authentic?" It is the lives of those who produce and distribute such messaging. When we give the right message, but how we conduct church sends a competing message, which message is going to "win?" What's more, how many people are going to write us off as liars?