Monday, 31 March 2014

CHURCH AT HER BEST WHEN SHE'S TELLING THE APOSTOLIC TRUTH

At least the vicar in the last episode of the BBC's Johnny Worricker spy trilogy, written and directed by Sir David Hare, is not mendacious and foul-mouthed like the one in Rev. But he is a passive rather than an active character, and thus is fitted to serve at the altar of the morally slippery god of urbane postmodernism.

Benignly, he lets his vicarage be used as a safe house for his old Cambridge friend, disillusioned MI5 agent Worricker, 'a great loss to theology', who is on the run with his girlfriend from the torture-condoning British Prime Minister whom he has set out to expose. As the cleric explains to the character played by Helena Bonham Carter:
It's the Church's traditional function. The thing we've done best for two thousand years - provide sanctuary. 
Actually, the best thing the Church can do is actively to tell the eternally saving truth of the Lord Jesus Christ in all its counter-cultural glory. She is at her best when she is courageously obedient to the ethos of the Apostle to the Gentiles, Paul:
For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel! (1 Corinthians 9v16 - King James Version).
Proclaiming and living by the biblical gospel of Christ is the way to transform postmodern society, portrayed in all its ugly moral uncertainty in Sir David's film. As David F. Wells put it in his brilliant book, The Courage to be Protestant - Truth-lovers, marketers and emergents in the postmodern world (IVP, 2008):
Christian truth is simply not amenable to adaptation. It requires application, but that is an entirely different matter. Apostolic Christianity was doctrinally shaped. The churches were instructed to guard and preserve that teaching.

This apostolic framework of belief is not something that many in the contemporary church want out in the open. So they hide it. The first Christians guarded it. We venture far beyond it. They treasured it and lived within it. We think it will get in the way of our church's success. They thought that without it, front and center, there could be no church. They were right and we are wrong (p94-95).
Cranmer's Curate is blogging off until after Easter. He leaves the youth group with the Collect for the Fourth Sunday of Lent:
Grant, we beseech thee, Almighty God, that we, who for our evil deeds do worthily deserve to be punished, by the comfort of thy grace may mercifully be relieved; through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Why 'move on' won't wash over same-sex marriage appeared on Christian Today.

Am I a consumer Christian? by Richard Lacey on his pastor@woodgreen blog, reproduced in April's Evangelicals Now, is highly commended.

1 comment:

  1. Yet this is of course ideological - ie a solution in consciousness to that which is insoluble in reality.

    History (and the present day, if we look elsewhere in the world) tells us that religious societies actually have far more of the social evils which you wrongly lay at the feet of modernity.

    See: http://bornagainagnostoc.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/exceptionalism.html and http://bornagainagnostoc.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/religious-societies-are-more-wholesome.html for a fuller discussion on these topics.

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