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.
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.
Be wary of modern day pied pipers of existential theology, who say things like “Christ is All” but deny all of Christ in order to promote their own limited view of Christ.
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.
It hasn’t taken long for the Christian postmodernists among us to start accusing their brothers and sisters in the Lord of bigotry, intolerance and hate simply for eating yesterday at Chick-fil-A.
In the last 24 hours, I’ve seen several blogs and related Facebook comments along those lines.
Really? Bigotry, intolerance and hate? I saw no evidence of that yesterday.
Have some become so trapped in their postmodern sensibilities that it now is wrong to stand up in a civil, respectful manner against those who want to use the power of government to silence a man of faith – and block his businesses?
And his “sin”?
Simply this: Affirming his personal support of marriage as God has ordained it in His written Word, while nonetheless being open and embracing of all who patronize his establishments regardless of their sexual orientation or differing views.
Let’s get a grip, folks.
A strange new doctrine has emerged over the last decade to support the old dualism of everything being about my personal, subjective relationship with Jesus – to the exclusion of any transcendent, objective moral code or (in some extreme cases) even Scripture itself.
The new doctrine goes like this:
God wanted us to eat of the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve, however, rebelled and chose instead to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The Tree of Life, they say, is Jesus (which I think is questionable, given that Jesus walked with Adam in the cool of the day and obviously was not a tree, but that’s not my point).
This new doctrine goes on to say that we should only want the subjective, relational attributes of Jesus and not let any objective concept of what is true, real and right get in the way. This is because, they say, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil represents things like morality, objective standards, Scripture, commandments (again, this is of dubious exegesis, but again, that’s not my point), and anything else that may contradict their feeling-driven experience of Jesus .
Like all great errors in Church history, this one has enough truth to be tempting. But truth out of context is deadly.
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.