The shallowness of our thinking

We don’t hear modern versions of this too often:

Then go, plunge yourself in the Godhead’s deepest sea; be lost in his immensity; and you shall come forth as from a couch of rest, refreshed and invigorated. I know nothing which can so comfort the soul; so calm the swelling billows of sorrow and grief; so speak peace to the winds of trial, as a devout musing upon the subject of the Godhead. (J.I. Packer, Knowing God)

This was Charles Spurgeon… at age 20. A pastor. Not an academic. And his church actually grew.

Go figure.

We need a thirst to KNOW God

There are those places, those authors, that continually take my breath away. I can’t hustle through their work. I am beginning the slow journey through the classic Knowing God by J.I. Packer.

Third page in:

Disregard the study of God, and you sentence yourself to stumble and blunder through life blindfold, as it were, with no sense of direction and no understanding of what surrounds you. This way you can waste your life and lose your soul.

Three pages and I’m already repenting!

Is Jesus THE Way?

A recent post over at ScriptureZealot stirred my thinking. Some of the more incendiary comments have since been edited out, but it stirs me nonetheless.

It raised the specter of hard-line Calvinism simply saying, “If you don’t believe in TULIP (and some very specific tenets of Calvinism) then you are preaching another gospel.” That’s the subtle undertone of the piece by Horton. I do not accuse Jeff on his blog of raising such a division!

But when I read of our postmodern “emergent” (or whatever they’re calling it these days) struggles with the uniqueness of Christ, I think, “Why do we have to split hairs between Calvinism and Arminianism? We have bigger problems!”

A recent posting on Christianity Today demonstrates this issue. This new working out of theology and evangelism is scary. When the author of the article tried to bring the leaders of the seminar to a point of demonstrating the uniqueness of Christ and the proposition of Christ, they just wouldn’t declare what Jesus himself declared: He IS the way, the truth and the life!

Consider this disturbing passage:

On the last day, the discussion focused on Christian engagement with other religions. I resonated with much of what was said: the need for respectful dialogue, the willingness to listen and learn, and the intent to promote peace and understanding. But I also experienced a growing sense of unease. As my concern crystallized, I asked our distinguished guests: As those who self-identified with the Christian tradition, how did they understand the uniqueness of Jesus Christ?

Their response was that of course Jesus is unique. But, they continued, so are the leaders of the other world religions. While it was certainly true that Jesus is unique and different from other religious leaders, they said, it is also true that they are unique in relation to him. The uniqueness of Jesus was no different from that of any other important religious figure. Only in this way, they suggested, is equality among religions established as a basis for interreligious dialogue.

Those last two sentences should raise flags, set off alarms, and cause us to fall to our knees in repentance. To me, this isn’t laid at the feet of Calvin or Arminius. And it’s far beyond the problem of holding to some TULIP formula.

We have problems, friends. And it goes FAR beyond some debate between J.I. Packer and N.T. Wright. Neither of those men is preaching another gospel. (Horton, it seems, or maybe Packer, or both, seem to think Wright is proclaiming another gospel.) My contention is Wright is down-right ORTHODOX compared to the horrible theology presented in the last two lines of the quoted passage above.

Jesus is the Savior. Not just MY Savior. He is THE Savior. THE way. THE truth. THE life. No one… NO ONE… comes to the Father except by him.