May each of you have the heart to conceive, the understanding to direct, and the hand to execute works that will leave the world a little better for your having been here. -- Ronald Reagan

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Diffusion of Christianity or How Christians Are Rejecting the Core of the Faith

Apostle Paul
Christianity in America has been moving down the path away from the Faith for decades now. The most noted preachers and mega churches got that way by prosperity preaching, making material gain what Christianity is about. The idea that God wants you to be rich, having money and real estate is primary; not the Cross, Crucifixion, Resurrection, Redemption, Salvation, Hope, Love and Charity, and the other elements of orthodox Christianity. Add to this the infusion of New Age mysticism, God is within you and the pantheistic notions which flies in the face of Christian thought. I actually have people in my church say all religions have something to teach and are equal.

I shudder when I hear this. It demeans and possibly rejects who Christ is and what Christianity is. There are commonalities to be sure, but judging Christianity to be the same as other religions is, to coin an old term, heretical. Which brings us to an article in The Washington Post's "On Faith" page. This is a liberal page to be sure, and usually gets things about Christianity wrong, but I read because we must always be knowledgeable of who, is weakening the Faith, and how.

Kathleen Duff has written a piece praising Islam and saying Christians can learn from the Koran. Really and truly. The Koran that teaches killing people that aren't Muslim, or apostates, is beyond just okay, it's mandated; or that the Holy Trinity is polytheism.  Her take is the Koran teaches something we won't find in Christianity, or apparently, in the Bible. She wrote: “The Quran encouraged me to continuously be aware of a gracious and merciful God who cherishes humanity and cherishes all of creation. I came to believe more firmly during my humble Ramadan experience that being cherished by God is an example of divine love beyond the limitations of any one language, symbol and imagination.” ... “This insight into sacred polarity is a perfect teaching paradigm for respectful interreligious dialogue, which is never about win/lose, right/wrong profiling and divisiveness.”

Sacred polarity? Gobbledygook.

I can't think of a more profiling and divisive religion than Islam. What's she talking about? It's what happens when the core of Christianity is diminished by incorporating political correctness and liberal thinking into the Faith. Could Duff have written an article about what Islam can learn from the Christian New Testament?

All the New Age preachers and followers, prosperity preachers and followers I'm concerned about; they are rejecting Christ and who He is. They are rejecting the Faith. They are teaching a watered down Christianity, turning the Word, the Good News, and Christ into something that comfortably fits their needs, not God's. This new Christianity asks what we can get out of God, but not what God can get out of us. (I'm paraphrasing what our Pastor John Adams said in his sermon last Sunday; credit due.) 

These two creeds are our core, and Christianity is moving away, and toward disaster. In 1949 Dorothy Sayers wrote what may be turning into a prophetic book, Creed or Chaos? Why Christians Must Choose Either Dogma or Disaster (or, why it really matters what you believe.)

Apostles' Creed
I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.

Nicene Creed
We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, light from light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven,
was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary
and became truly human.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father [and the Son],
who with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. Amen.

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