Thursday, June 14, 2012

Christianity as Objective Truth

And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. (1 Cor. 15:17-19)

...If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” (1 Cor. 15:32b)

A large segment of modern Evangelicalism is not only pietistic, but hyper-pietistic. Believes are not only interested in issues of practical living, and how to be "better Christians," but also engage in seeking after experiences from God. Christianity is reduced to feelings and morality and spiritual experiences, and the one over-arching value has become not truth but "love," whatever that means.

Recently, I was emailed by an Evangelical who was into the teachings of Emergent House Church mystic Frank Viola, on how to be "nicer" and "more graceful" in my interactions with others. Now, I would be the first to admit that I am not perfect; I sin daily. But the issue is not so much about my sin, but this well-meaning Evangelical has bought into the contemporary Zeitgeist and in the process distorts the meaning of "love." True to the pietistic streak, he refuses to interact with what Scripture teaches and instead views everything through the lens of what he thinks "love" is.

It is extremely frustrating interacting with such people. In fact, after this particular interaction, I am moving towards the opinion that contemporary Evangelicalism with its hyper-Pietistic streak has mutated into a form of religion that is antithetical to true Christianity. How can one claim to be a Christian and yet refuses to deal with the teachings of Scripture is totally beyond me.

In 1 Cor. 15, we see how Paul argues for the resurrection of the dead. In the process, Paul states the available options starkly. Christianity is an objective religion based upon truth. Christianity is not a mystical subjective religion. Christianity occupies the same realm of truth-orientation as all theories of ultimate reality do, and competes with these theories (scientism, materialism etc) as their superior. Christianity is a total system, not something that one adopts for its practical benefits. In fact, if Christianity is not truth (e,g,. if Christ is not raised), then we have hope for this life only (e.g. Christianity as being helpful for you in this life), and therefore we are of all peoples to be pitied (1 Cor. 15:19)

If Christianity is a mere subjective religion, then there is no reason to be a Christian. Let us eat, drink and merry, for tomorrow we die (1 Cor. 15:23b cf Is. 22:13). If Christianity is the type of religion which one adopts because it is spiritual, because it aids morality, because it allows one to meet more friends and get a life partner, or for any other reason, then why be a Christian? Karl Marx called Christianity the "opiate of the masses,"and there is no reason why he is wrong if Christianity is that type of subjective amorphous thing that contemporary Evangelicals make it out to be.

A friend of mine claimed that she only believes in what she sees. And if Christianity is merely subjective, she is right. Christianity demands faith and calls for a response only because it is objectively true. If Christianity is not objectively true, it is not worth believing in.


Charlie J. Ray said...

Absolutely right, Daniel. The pietistic strain of Evangelicalism leads to theological relativism and liberalism. And I would go further than that. The emphasis on "analogical" revelation rather than the univocal nature of God's revelation in the very words of Scripture leads to a theology of paradox that is as "pietistic" and relativistic as anything you are observing the blogosphere. If, for example, there is no literal six day creation then the result is usually some form of neo-orthodoxy or theistic evolution.

If the Bible is not the plenary verbally inspired words of God and without error, why believe anything anyone has to say about it? Either Adam and Eve existed and brought a curse on the whole human race or the Bible is just an "inspired" myth, as Dr. Horton contends by way of oblique insinuation.

Sincerely yours in Christ,


Daniel C said...


keep to the topic please! I am not interested in veering off into your pet peeves