Posted by Whiskeyjack on August 17, 2010
It is my conviction that those who so place zeal instead of gratitude at the heart of sanctification fundamentally misunderstand the nature of worship and are in danger of falling into a gradated notion of piety and holiness within the Church. The passion overshadows the the message and finds purchase in the hearts of the people by way of charisma and an emotional connection with the addressed. Thus it is he who addresses that becomes in fact the proof for the assertion. The attempt is made by way of exciting those who are addressed(the congregation) and in doing so elevating them to levels of zeal on par with the addresser(minister) in order to provide a uniformly understood proof for the assertion of passion/zeal as the wellspring of a godly life.
One might say that the pursuit of passion as the foundation of the productive(see victorious) Christian life is also a backhanded attempt at relevance and a quasi social Gospel. What I mean is that when passion is laid as the foundation of the victorious Christian life, it is simply a backdoor into getting your best life now. This may seem a stretch but I think that it is accurate. For if the fulfilled Christian life is located in the midst of a passion/zeal- which must ultimately be maintained internally- it becomes what we do in service to God which grants us a fulfilled or “best life now.” Zeal, in effect becomes a stairway to a plane on which sanctification becomes attainable.
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Posted by Whiskeyjack on April 29, 2009
Some cut themselves to make certain that they feel. Pain becomes an assurance of reality, of existence. In relation, many Christians take up causes; sometimes social, sometimes political. Yet it becomes readily apparent that their instigation of and participation in such activities is a fearful and faithless act. The need to constantly remind themselves that they merit what they claim and the fear that they do not are the catalysts, implicit or otherwise, of this form of activism within evangelicalism today. Modern evangelicalism has become very medieval and monastic in this regard. Emphasis is constantly placed upon relevance, response and results. Programs come to mean more than substance and utilitarianism becomes the regulative principle for worship. But the modern version of asceticism is not a retreat from the world but is rather the renovation of the world with a Christian veneer and theocratic elements. Many Christian today seem to feel that even the mundane and the common must be harnessed for holy and sacred use if they are to be of use the Christian, be enjoyed by him, or justifiably exist at all. This facade is what I would call the second blessing of cultural transformationalism; the church triumphant is not the church which in Christ is victorious but is the church which has come to power as Constantine; remaking the city of man in their own image.
As evangelicalism has cast off the confessional structure of the church and renounced biblically regulated worship they have found themselves increasingly dissatisfied with the biblical doctrine of Justification by faith through grace alone. And, as the realization of this dissatisfaction has become more precise, the pursuit to satiate the need for assurance has become more desperate. It has come to the point of epicurean deconstruction; biblical worship has become replaced by “Spirituality”, evocation has replaced invocation, feeling now trumps promise as the theology of the cross is displaced by many shades of the theology of glory.
And ultimately, they are left with mysticism.
More to follow….
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Posted by Whiskeyjack on April 28, 2009
A society which denies the existence of God implicitly disavows any universal moral commonality and framework by which mans conscience is empowered to convict based upon actions. Lacking any morals constants, prior restraint is not a justifiably actionable sociological function. A pragmatic consensus replaces the conscience; laws exist to structure mans pursuit of self-exaltation and possession. This leads to a society which is governed by that selfsame consensus, replacing justice with pleasure, desire, and hunger. Reducing mankind to aimless drifters; travelers toward a hope that cannot be found, a hunger which cannot be satisfied and a thirst that can never be quenched. And with the loss of restitution as the natural consequence of the violation of your neighbors sanctity, a moral downgrade and the rise of deliberate lawlessness is inevitable. Mankind becomes stranded on a ferry that never crosses the river of moral indecision and so is carried along by strong, deep currents of idolatry to later be spit out onto a sea of unintended nihilism. Without justice there is no rudder, no ferryman to see us to the other side.
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Posted by Whiskeyjack on March 18, 2009
In that I work for a large warehouse style retailer, this struck a chord with me.
“Gone are the days when we knew the wheelwrights and cobblers who worked for us. The anonymity of our world makes accountability a vague and abstract virtue. The cord has been broken by the distance that has cropped up between the worker and the consumer, a distance imposed by the complexities of modern factory production and the many layers of people who are, in one way or another, involved in the sale and distribution of the product. In the whole process, the worker is disengaged from any sense of responsibility for the quality of the product, any sense of accountability to the person who eventually purchases the product.”
NO PLACE FOR TRUTH, By David Wells
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Posted by Whiskeyjack on March 5, 2009
Social activism as a response to the pricking of ones conscience highlights the absence of a true gospel ministry and can only ever be a temporal suture, which, though effective, provides no lasting method of treatment. It can only ameliorate the accusations of the conscience, the law written on the heart of man; a topical analgesic of the soul. Nothing is altered in the end, that good works in the face of moral culpability is flight rather than fight.
Consequently, when it is found blossoming in the Church, the Gospel is soon found to be lacking in it’s message of salvation to the damned, because it requires no work on the part of the redeemed and casts aspersions upon there moral goodness. And that results in the politicizing of the institutional Church in search of applicable and immediate meaning, in other words, a “what have you done for me lately” approach to word and sacrament. This effectively self-destructs the church community into splinter groups vying for their own agenda using Christianity and its vernacular. The language of the Church becomes the language of the collective pursuit of humanity for equality. Thus, the laity as constituents demand the satisfaction of their felt needs and social ailments to be rectified by their leaders( pastors and elders). And so joining a particular church body has more in common with choosing Italian over Chinese rather than salvation by grace alone, through faith alone. It becomes a question of who can offer the most amenities rather than who faithfully delivers word and sacrament.
And so, with the obfuscation of the Gospel, the Church becomes an elaborate social club, albeit one which is possessed of more seriousness, yet a social club nonetheless. Civic action becomes the sacrament of the Christless Church wherein Christ has become simply a progenitor rather than a savior. And in the midst of the people the cross is thrown down and the Gospel cast aside, because man is not really all that bad, he just needs to learn some manners.
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