Apr 23, 2009

Don't Worry, Be Happy!: the Death of Christianity?

Beginning in the 1960's, religious scholars note many so called experts who proclaimed the "death of god," or at least the deconstruction of the Enlightenment construction of the divinity as we knew him. Today, a new group of experts are cheering on the death of the evangelical wing of the American church.

Al Mohler

Michael Spencer

Jon Meacham


(btw: does death have to be the prevailing metaphor when it comes to the reform of religious institution? does that mean that Americans suffer from a narcissism grounded in a fear of death, the unknown, non-being?) It is funny that we used to see the church/synagogue/mosque/religious institution as the lone moral authority to direct public policy and social norms. Now, we have gossip columnists telling us how we should debate states' rights and how we should practice religious and civil rites.

If we could perhaps try to escape this metaphor of "reform/revolution as death" and think in particularly Christian terms of resurrection and new life. In a sermon I gave for Brite's Black and Womanist Theologies course a couple of years ago, I said that "Human tradition may die with humanity,but the Resurrected Messiah and his tradition are forever." What exactly did I mean by this? It means that our human construction of what religious institutions may look like or function in society may be subject to change at any given moment in history, but that Jesus of Nazareth, the Firstborn of the New Creation (Colossians 1), remains Master of the Universe in every instant, both now and in eternity.

The apostle Paul encountered our LORD on the road to Damascus. And as he confesses to the assembly in Galatia (Gal 1:11-16), he loved his religious tradition more than people, or even the God who created them. We all have seen the type. Those religious people, like I once was, who closed themselves off to those who think differently than they do. Yet, Paul was transformed by seeing the Resurrected Messiah with his own two eyes; this encounter was life-changing. Paul had seen the new life God was making available for all people groups. No longer is there an us versus them, but a royal WE (Galatians 3:28; Colossians 3:11)! We should rejoice and celebrate that Christianity may be changing because the Empire of God is invading our human space once more that we may experience the life-giving power of the Triune God.

For further reading on why we should not mourn but rejoice, see my friend T.C. Moore's post on Gregory Boyd's assessment of the current "crisis."

4 comments:

hebrewandgreekreader said...

Rod,

We've included you in our list of Student Biblioblogs. Could you please tell us where you are studying for the list?

Thanks,
D&T

hebrewandgreekreader said...

Though by your posts, we're guessing you're at Brite.

Rod said...

Sure,

I just finished my Masters of Divinity degree this week at Brite Divinity school. Now, starting in the summer I will be trying to earn my Masters of Theology at Brite Divinity School as well.

Thank you for the add.

hebrewandgreekreader said...

Congrats on the MDiv and good luck with new degree.