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 22, 2007

Rethinking Christ and Culture: Excerpt #5 (Final Post)

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

The religious right blanks out Jesus' teaching in much the same way as the religious left blanks out Jesus' death and resurrection as decisive for the salvation of the world. One ends up with a human Jesus who seconds our motions, and the other ends up with a divine Jesus who seems to have no concern for the poor and oppressed. The most charitable way to look at this is to see each as right in what it affirms and wrong in what it ignores. But that is not really an adequate way to conceptualize the problem. The deeper problem is that both the right and the left have a false Jesus, a Jesus created in their own image and not the Jesus of the New Testament. How can we preach the true gospel when these two deformations of the gospel are so dominant in the culture? How do we break through the incredible power of these human-centered gospels and speak clearly about the Jesus-centered one? The answer is not for conservatives to become more left-wing, any more than it is for liberals to become more right wing. The answer is for everyone to cease being left or right, either liberal or conservative, and to embrace the radical Jesus of the Bible.

I do not see any hope for getting beyond this impasse until we as Christians repent of the whole Christendom project. In our situation today, the way to affirm the lordship of Jesus Christ is to disavow Christendom. This is the contemporary equivalent of declining to burn the pinch of incense to Caesar in the early church. Only when we do this will it become clear that we really have something new and different to say that the world does not already know. We need to serve notice that Jesus is no longer available as a prop to the cultural projects that various people are promoting. Jesus is not backing any candidates this year, and he is dead serious about already having replaced the rulers of this world as king of the world. This is our message (p. 201).

+ + + + + + +

Cross-Posted at RedBlueChristian.

1 comment:

Ted M. Gossard said...

I like this, Allan. The real Jesus puts all of us on notice that his way is different.

I'm certainly not fond of the religious left or right.

But I don't think Christians should not be engaged in some way, to be salt and light, bringing the kingdom of God come in Jesus, to bear, on all issues. That Jesus is Lord and the world's governments are not (like Wilberforce did).

At the same time, I am sad that too often evangelicals are identified as those Republicans who hate gays and are against abortion, period. This is a caricature on the gay issue, but we too often really come across that way.

And the religious left makes me just as sick as well. Though I've had little firsthand contact with it.

We need to be know as those following another lord with an entirely different agenda, for sure.

Thanks for sharing this.