Which Christianity? continued
0 comment Friday, November 28, 2014 |
After reading a blog entry over at VFR, 'What Christianity requires in order not to be destructive of society'
I think I have a glimmer of understanding that had not occurred to me before. If anyone else has thoughts or comments, please feel free to add your thoughts.
Auster says
The key to Christian this-worldly confidence is not that an individual Christian be Jewish (an absurd and offensive idea); it is that Christian society--any Christian society--must include non-Christian cultural and political sources.
This is an absolutely fundamental point that Christians must understand. The original teaching of Christianity as presented in the New Testament is about how to live in what Jesus called the kingdom of heaven. It is about the individual soul's relation with God through Christ. It is not about the political organization of society. The New Testament simply assumes the existence of political society and goes on from there. Because Christianity is not, like orthodox Judaism and Islam, a complete recipe for this-worldly existence, Christian society is necessarily more complex--more differentiated, to use Eric Voegelin's term--than any other. It is multileveled, mediating between the pole of the Christian, spiritual realm and the pole of political and cultural existence in this world, which does not come from Christianity itself. If the society loses its this-worldly pole it will go out of existence. ''
Yes, this makes sense. Much of the New Testament is concerned with Kingdom living, which fact was touched on in a recent thread in which a reader mentioned the Sermon on the Mount and the ethos prescribed there.
Lawrence Auster in his blog entry makes this point which seems important:
Historical Christianity included the Old Testament as part of its scripture. This was a non-Christian source that provided the sense of living in this world as a community of people under God, a sense that is not provided by the New Testament. Thus Protestants, including the people who created America, were able to build strong national societies because they based themselves heavily on the Old Testament with its powerful sense of a people under God.''
Yes, I think the Old Testament religion is often described as 'this-worldly', while the New Testament is not concerned as much with this world. We are told to think of ourselves as 'pilgrims and strangers' in this world, and to consider ourselves as seeking a heavenly country. But for now we do have to live in this world, and it does seem that we need the anchoring in the Old Testament to keep us grounded.
I do think that Christianity is sufficient, just as I believe that the Bible is sufficient, but we have to take the 'whole counsel of God', both Old and New Testaments. It does seem to be true that the very liberal pacifist Christian concentrates solely on the New Testament, and tends to eliminate all but the Gospels or the words of Jesus. That does give one a very otherworldly orientation.
It definitely seemed to me that the turning point came with the liberalizing trend in Christianity, the point at which Christianity became a stunted form of the faith of our fathers. And that trend coincided with the downplaying or outright rejection of much of the Old Testament. Something important was lost there.
There is a saying that some Christians are 'too heavenly-minded to be any earthly good.' I think there is truth in that description, and it sums up the divide between the liberals and the conservative Christians pretty well.
I am still mulling all this over, and it's late, so these are just some quick random thoughts about what I have just read.
I hope my readers will offer their perspectives, and of course if you haven't already, read the post at VFR.
Thanks to Lawrence Auster for giving me some real food for thought here.

Labels: , , ,