Thursday, April 14, 2005

Comfy religion


If Jesus were here, I think He would take a whip to the multimillion-dollar Christian publishing & entertainment industry (subsidiaries of Sony, NewsCorp, etc.) and proceed from there to a lot of our churches.

Joe at the Evangelical Outpost says Jesus Ain't My Homeboy:

"As a religious movement we [evangelicals] have almost completely abandoned the concept of a transcendent creator in favor of a God who is our “best friend.” ...The idea of Jesus is mainly our “friend” is deeply rooted in our particular religious culture. Our lack of reverence expresses itself in everything from our worship to our evangelism."

Spot-on. When a Catholic friend of mine said that evangelicals are relativistic, I thought she was way off; it's not like we don't believe in objective, propositional truth. Now, I think she was right to an extent. There are exceptions, but too much of evangelicalism is personal, subjective, experiential, and light on propositional truth. Commonly-held evangelical theology amounts to a handful of "essentials" that would fit easily on a 5x7" page of a church bulletin. Even then, it's probably fair to say that the average evangelical is much more knowledgeable about the latest Hollywood fare than about the biblical basis for what we could put on that 5x7" piece of paper.

It's been said that heresy arises in the church when one truth is emphasized to such an extent that other truths are denied. We've done a great job of emphasizing a personal relationship with Jesus but we've forgotten that "the fear of the Lord" is a New Testament concept also; we've at least assumed to some extent that it's a legalistic heresy. Where does the idea of God as a possession or plaything arise among a people whose only ostensible authority is the Bible?