A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life

A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life
I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.-- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Rethinking Christ and Culture: Excerpt #3

From Craig Carter, Rethinking Christ and Culture: A Post-Christendom Perspective (Brazos Press, 2006).

The United Church of Canada has clearly chosen the post-Christian West over Jesus. For all its talk of being radical and its self-image of being in opposition to culture, the reality is that the United Church has given up on the Christian sexual ethic of chastity and embraced the promiscuity ethic that says that personal fulfillment trumps social and family duties. It has embraced Western liberal individualism and rejected biblical discipleship. It has removed God's self-revelation in Jesus Christ from the center of church proclamation and inserted a vague spirituality and natural theology in its place. Instead of calling people to repentance and faith, the United Church calls them to therapy and self-actualization. Instead of preaching salvation from sin through repentance and faith, it preaches acceptance of every lifestyle. Wherever the secular Canadian culture culture goes, the United Church will not be far behind; it fact; it will try to be there a bit ahead of the majority culture if at all possible (thus enhancing its progressive self-image). Getting there ten years before the rest of the culture (as on the homosexuality issue) is what passes for being prophetic and progressive in the United Church of Canada today. A constant scramble to find the head of the parade is what mission means in liberal Protestantism today.

The contemporary Roman Catholic Church, by contrast, appears to be heading in the exact opposite direction. Under Pope John Paul II, and now under Benedict XVI, the Roman Catholic Church appears to be prepared to challenge Western culture, particularly its promiscuity, materialism, and moral relativism. Pope Benedict XVI appears (like the first Benedict) to favor a smaller church with a more distinctive witness, rather than a culturally accommodated one. By opposing abortion, unjust war, capital punishment, and euthanasia, the Roman Catholic Church witnesses to a consistent respect for human-life ethic. By rejecting sexual promiscuity, same-sex marriage, and permissiveness, it witnesses to a Christian ethic of chastity. By opposing materialism, unrestrained capitalism, and consumerism, it witnesses to the spiritual nature of humanity and the responsibility of society to care for the poor and needy. The Roman Catholic Church is also displaying a strong tendency to uphold historic Christian orthodoxy on the doctrines of the Trinity and the incarnation in the face of pressures to water down the uniqueness of Jesus Christ. These tendencies bring the Roman Catholic Church into direct opposition to Western culture at many points (pp. 23-24).

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Cross-Posted at RedBlueChristian.


Anonymous said...

Hurrah for the Roman Catholics!! Sure wish we UM's could learn from them.

Ted M. Gossard said...

If we're not counter-cultural in our witness for Christ, than I would have to question that witness. It is at variance with the world and its values, at nearly every turn. Those values which may do the same things for opposite reasons. Or do things that are against creation and God's will.

Sad about the UC of Canada.

Thanks for sharing that, Allan.