I was surprised to read this in the Spectator. ‘I have come to a disconcerting conclusion. The West cannot really survive as the West without a re-energised belief in Christianity. The idea that we can live off Christianity’s moral capital, its ethics and traditions, without believing in it, appeals naturally to conservatives of a certain age. But you cannot inspire the young with a vision which you happily admit arises from beliefs that are fictional and nothing more than long-standing superstition. Christianity is either true, or it’s not much use at all.’
‘Bonhoeffer saw how pastoral imagination, captured by dreams of potential churches, pulls pastors out of their humble calling and toward pride and pretense. The vision becomes the ground for our frustrated demands of others, our desperate petitions to God, and our crushing self-doubts. Everything is judged by the vision. Everything is evaluated by its success. Our work becomes the obsessive desire to actualize what we have envisioned. Our actual congregants are often sacrificed in our pursuit of better ones. I often hear pastors describe the church members and friends they had to sacrifice to fulfill the church’s vision. It’s sad.’
I think the title tells you pretty much all you need to know.
Somebody was asking me about this very question the other day. They said they hadn’t seen much written about it or how to respond to it. So, here are some helpful resources that will help us get clued up about it. NB: I’ve not read all these resources – I’ve only come across some of them – so do not necessarily personally recommend them.
‘When we subliminally maintain a culture of “white is right,” or assume the culturally white way is the normal, preferred, or even neutral way, we are showing partiality to one group over all others. The result is devastating: our strong belief about the image of God in all people isn’t matched by our churches’ cultures and actions in everyday situations with ethnic minorities. Our dedication to biblical fellowship is undermined by poor word choices, assumptions, and cultural insensitivity. We are failing to love all of our neighbors as we love ourselves.’
Sinclair Ferguson tackles this one. We can often feel it is. There’s an old hymn that says we shouldn’t be. But is it really unspiritual?
‘By now, I’m sure you know the drill. Someone holds views and says things our elites have told us not to say or think. Said person plans to come to the UK. Someone decides they should not be allowed to come because said visitor holds views and says things they don’t like. The complainant makes a big song and dance of their opposition to the nasty visitor with the horrible views to make sure everybody knows they subscribe to correct cultural thinking. Cue much hand-wringing from the government over whether they should permit free thought or bow to a baying crowd in the name of ‘hate speech’.’