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How ‘Social Justice’ Becomes Idolatry in a Post-Christian Culture and in Progressive ‘Christianity’

  ‘Idolatry’ can be understood both literally and metaphorically, but with the same effect.   Literally, it is the worship of human-made deities—crafted idols.   From the perspective of religions that state that there is only One God, Creator of heaven and earth, things visible and invisible, idolatry involves not only turning to other deities but also inventing religion to suit cultural tastes and human needs.   Metaphorically, idolatry involves placing anything above God—or replacing God with something else. The history of Christianity in many parts of the world has involved a Christian challenge to other religions over the centuries.   In the 8 th century, St. Boniface chopped down the sacred oak of the god Donar of Germanic tribes in the Frankish Empire.   As the story goes, a wind came up and helped to topple the tree.   With no challenge from Donar, the tribes turned to Jesus Christ instead.   Such encounters with pagan religions have often been repeated.   Christians do not b
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Evangelistic, Worldwide Mission in His Own Words: St. Patrick of Ireland

From St. Patrick's  Confessio  (or  Declaration ), the following words describe his understanding of evangelistic mission.  Patrick, an Englishman, lived sometime between the mid 4th-mid 5th c. AD.  He was captured and enslaved in Ireland for six years.  Having returned to England, he was called by God back to Ireland as a missionary.  Through his work, thousands of Irish came to faith.  Here is his understanding of the Biblical basis for missions.  The understandings that Scripture calls for a mission to foreign lands and all people, that the essence of missions is evangelistic, that the mission is first and foremost God's mission, and Christian mission is a call to unbelievers to leave behind their 'cherished idols and unclean things' all need to challenge the Church again and again, including in our day. ... so that I might come to the Irish people to preach the Gospel and endure insults from unbelievers; that I might hear scandal of my travels, and endure many perse

Not 'Multicultural Diversity' but 'Cultural Transformation': A Christian Reflection on Culture

  As the Western world shifts from slouching to embracing a post-Christian culture, we might pause to remember from what we were delivered when Christian faith first took hold of pagan antiquity.   For this, we might quote someone at the beginning of Christian witness in the Roman Empire—the apostle Paul—and someone writing at the end of pagan rule in the early 4 th century—Eusebius.   If we wanted to play with the language of today, we might say that Christianity ‘cancelled’ the cultures of the Graeco-Roman world; but that would not be quite accurate.   Christians were persecuted and murdered during those first 300 years, but the Church steadily grew.   They witnessed to the culture and could not have cancelled it even if they wanted to do so.   Only once the first Christian emperor, Constantine, began to pass laws and favour the Church did any power come into play against pagan culture.   By that time, many, many people had embraced Christianity.   Today’s cancel culture, on the oth

The Boldness of Christian Prayer

  The boldness of Christian prayer lies not in any merits of our own or in that of others but wholly in Jesus Christ our Lord.   Nor does it lie in some working up of faith on our part where God is held to the mat and forced to honour our requests because we have garnered such faith.   Indeed, such a false understanding of faith involves a ‘work of faith’ that therefore falls to our own merit and has its object on our request rather than a faith in God that acknowledges Him as the author of every good and perfect gift (James 1.17).   Our confidence is not in ourselves but in God.   We know that God is our Heavenly Father.   He wants us to come to Him, to make our requests before Him known (Philippians 4.6).   James encourages us to ask God for what we need, though with right motives (4.2-3). Our access is not through human merit but through Christ Jesus. For this reason, we traditionally pray in His name. Where did the idea of praying to dead saints come from in early Christianity?  

The Church is Not a Zoo: Unity, Not Diversity, is the Church’s Communal Value

  The Church is not a zoo ... and that is why unity, not diversity, is its communal value.   As Aristotle rightly noted, ethics develop from clarity about what is our end or goal ( Nicomachean Ethics 1094a).   To make diversity our end rather than unity will produce an entirely different ethic for the Church.   The present essay will, positively, explore the significance of unity—and a particular unity in Christ—as the Church’s moral end by considering Paul’s words on the matter in 1 Corinthians 12, Romans 12.4-7, and Ephesians 4.1-6.18.   It will also address, negatively, the errors that result when diversity replaces unity as the Church’s community value—including when unity is regarded as a product of diversity seen as a value in itself (e.g., ecclesial multiculturalism).   The essay functions as a plea for a Biblical understanding of the Church at a time when our Christian ecclesiology is in tatters and many are advocating an error stemming directly from the culture rather than Scr

What Is Progressive Theology? Part Four of Four

[This series of essays seeks to define Progressive Theology and offer a critique of it.] Progressive Theology,  Ethic of Diversity, and Revelation 7.9 Rudolf Bultmann famously asserted that ‘‘Every assertion about man is simultaneously an assertion about God and vice versa .’ [1]   His actual understanding of this necessary relationship emphasized the anthropological far more than the theological, since his concern to demythologize Scripture leaned heavily into a scientific rather than theological understanding, and his existentialism meant that theology was meant to answer the question of human existence.  While Bultmann’s anthropocentric existentialism focussed more on the individual in light of the human condition, Progressive Theology, also anthropocentric, is focussed more on the social condition in light of power dynamics.  The language often used for this is ‘social justice’, which is understood in reference to group identities and their relationships. One trajectory for Progr