Getting down to basics…
Without external revelation on what is truly true, really real and rightly right – by one with the authority to define all because He created all – you are trapped in the meaningless absurdity of circular logic and self-referential perception.
We either seek to redefine Jesus, or we let Him redefine us and our world – on His terms, in His way, through His Word.
Really, this is the major fork in the road.
In America, we’ve lost the right to be born, the right to practice our faith without government dictate or penalty, the right to proclaim moral sanity in the public square, and now the right to due process of law against a president who thinks he literally can pull the trigger and execute fellow citizens at his whim.
In a bizarre “legal memo”, President Obama has asserted that he can target and assassinate Americans – at will – simply on his belief that they are subversives.
The memo’s specific focus is Americans who President Obama has unilaterally concluded are affiliated with al-Qaida (not that this makes it right), but its rationale and justification can now be applied to anyone else who he likewise concludes is a non-combatant subversive.
America was once a great nation, ruled by law under a Constitution that was consciously written to embody a Judeo-Christian worldview.
The bedrock of our constitutional republic – rooted in Biblical principles articulated by men like James Madison and his mentor John Witherspoon – was the liberty to pursue virtue by imposing checks and balances against the evil of unrestrained government power.
What is meant by the “plenary authority of scripture”?
It means that we must submit everything we think, perceive or feel – even about Christ Himself – to His external, written Word of scripture.
Here, in a single simple quote, is the best explanation I’ve found.
In our fellowships, grace is real, raw and unmerited.
But we also understand that although grace is freely given, it costs everything to accept – because when it is authentically received, we then take up our cross as we die to self and follow Him.
Jesus Loves Me
(An existential version of that favorite childhood song.
I encourage you to have some fun by singing along as you read it.)
Jesus loves me, this I know,
Postmodern grace has made it so.
With His Spirit in my heart,
External truth now has no part.
Did Jesus tell me?
Oh, how can I know?
I feel Jesus told me,
I hope that makes it so.
The Bible says that I must go,
Proclaim His Word – oh no no no!
Now existential I’ve become,
‘Cause His commands just leave me numb
My sense of Jesus is true light,
I do not worry what is right.
With my sensibilities,
I do not need moralities.
The Bible’s NOT the Word of God.
My own perceptions earn my nod!
The Jesus I have come to see,
Surprisingly looks just like me.
I only want the Living Word,
The Bible seems just too absurd.
Now I perceive reality,
The way I want it all to be.
A cry of confession…
A plea for forgiveness…
A call to repentance…
History Repeats Itself
History demonstrates that a mainly subjective faith is a largely anemic faith, which increasingly becomes insular and irrelevant.
In the 19th century, an overly subjective focus within the Christian community in the West produced an existential form of pietism, which said that everything about anything came down to one thing: a personal relationship with Jesus.
In the 20th century, this came to a more extreme fruition in the existential theology of Karl Barth. Barth concluded that the Bible is not the Word of God, but rather only leads us to the person of Jesus. Furthermore, our subjective experience of Jesus is the only valid authoritative revelation of God’s word. As such, Barth rejected the plenary authority of Scripture as the written Word of God, and it’s role in providing external standards for judging the authenticity of our experience of Jesus.
The spirit of this age – at least in the West – is post-modernity, which views reality as subjective and truth (if it even exists) as individual and relative.
It is not all bad, but neither is it Christ!
Steeped in a post-modern culture, Western Christians are increasingly re-defining Jesus through post-modern sensibilities that we’ve uncritically inherited from the world.
As a result, we focus on a personal, highly individualistic relationship with Him – which is often driven more by our own needs, our own hurts, and our own insecurities than by Jesus Himself.
What is true, what is beautiful, and what is moral?
The great divide in Western culture today is between the absurdity of post-modernity and the transcendent truths of Biblical Christianity.
Whether or not you believe in the “Big Bang”, it is worth noting that it requires belief in an initial “singularity” of zero volume with infinite density and infinite energy. The dictates of the Big Bang theory, therefore, mandate faith in nothing which nonetheless contained everything.
Why is belief in something so impossible under current scientific laws acceptable, but belief in a God who is eternal and transcendent not acceptable to the neo-atheists – many of whom seemingly accept the Big Bang uncritically?
Such neo-atheists must rely on faith, having chosen to believe that:
No one plus nothing times blind chance = everything.
That requires more faith, it seems to me, than belief in an eternal God who created the universe.
Given the leap of faith required to accept the Big Bang theory, there is raging debate in the scientific world on whether our universe instead is simply the newest incarnation (or possibly an extension) of an eternal “multi-verse”. Some neo-atheists are now jumping on that bandwagon, as though it allows them to avoid the need for faith.
A friend posted this short video on Facebook and it’s too precious, timely and relevant to pass up. As you listen, may God mercifully and lovingly wound you in order to heal you.
It’s by Paul Washer, who I first mentioned in a blog back in March (see God Is Not Passive). His burden for the Church touched my heart then, and continues to do so now.