Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Let's Call a Spade, a Spade

I am in the process of digesting the Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin. Last night, during the class on this subject, we were discussing natural and special revelation. Calvin begins by arguing through Romans 1. Basically affirming that God has revealed Himself to us through 1. the very idea of God/the Creator implanted in our minds and 2. through creation declaring His glory. Calvin gets up in people's faces, basically saying that we cannot do anything but sin with this knowledge. We take this innate discovery in ourselves that there is a God and use that to create idols transforming Him unto our own whim. He asserts that, and for all of our p.c. friends out there - I do not apologize, "no religion is genuine unless it be joined with truth" (Institutes, 1.4.3. page 50).

Our professor, playing the devil's advocate, asked us if this was something that we could agree to. How is it possible that Christianity is the only way to know God? This is radical thinking, right? It is my understanding that we should put Calvin into his context. I would say that this is not a radical statement in Calvin's time. The refreshing thing about pre-modernity is that they called heretics, heretics. They called pagans, pagans. The ungodly were the ungodly. They were not concerned about the hurt feelings, the incorrectness of the cultural or political statements, or if there was possibly a way that God would reach into the other's religion and work grace through its constructs. NO! There was no genuine religion unless it was joined with truth! There was an idea out there that what God the Father, the Creator and Redeemer said to be true through His revealed Word was actually truth, the only truth, and there was no other way but that. Not on some holier than thou sentiment, but on the pure basis that God was/is in control over everything as Creator and Sustainer of life.

What has become of this? Humanism has gone so far that our world is reaching in oneself to the point that we can now declare what is ultimately good or bad for ourselves because that is the chief end - discovering what my needs, wants are and how I am able to fulfill them. So, it does not matter if the revealed Word says that my desires are sinful, because I can pick out what is good for me from the text and the rest will be only useful for the past. We have evolved and moved on from the past. You know, there was a guy named Marcion in the early 2nd Century that tried to take out specific portions from Scripture too and have the Word of God be Jew-free. What happened to him? Oh yeah, they had the balls to call him what he was, a heretic.

Now, what becomes of all of this? We, as the Church, have entered into a world that deems judgment, whether authored by the Creator of the world or not, as a taboo. We are coming dangerously close to having our view of loving thy neighbor, despite their sin, be tolerance of their sin and acceptance of who they are. I am starting to believe that there should be a Reform to become more Reformed again. Maybe my offensiveness to the world would cause such a stir that they would finally declare a judgment against me, declare me a heretic against society and crisp me up on a stake. Could this be the start of an exit out of post-modernity? If so, bring on the marshmallows and weenies!

1 comment:

  1. Love this one. Love this especially: "There was an idea out there that what God the Father, the Creator and Redeemer said to be true through His revealed Word was actually truth, the only truth, and there was no other way but that."