Monday 6 August 2012

What is the most urgent priority for the West? A litmus test


The Left (which is intrinsically, primarily secular) would answer something like... equality, social justice, an end to oppression... (yawn) or whatever...

The secular Right might answer something like law and order, an end to mass immigration, the restoration of patriarchy...

But the Christian Right would say mass conversion, a Great Awakening, a re-birth and growth of Christianity in the West (first repentance, then faith - in that order).


For the Christian Right, good can only come via Christianity - and to attempt to attain the good before Christianity is simply a direct route to Antichrist - that is, to evil in the guise of good, evil in Christ's name.


Thus the answer to the question of the most urgent priority for the West is a litmus test of basic political allegiance; and marks a cleavage line between Christian and secular politics.

A cleavage line where real Christians are on one side; and the seculars of various types and stripes are on the other side - fighting each other, but synergistically working-against Christianity (whether deliberately, directly and explicitly; or unconsciously, indirectly and implicitly).


For Christians (and all real Christians are on the Right - however confused they may be on this matter, whether they acknowledge this fact, or not) Christianity must come first immediately, cannot wait for anything, must not be put-off until after whatever: it is the priority now and forever.



JP said...

It would have to be "real Christianity" for a new Great Awakening to matter. Mass conversion to the modern PC-poisoned psedo-Christianity that is preached in modern churches would not be beneficial. (What do they do besides preach Leftism - i.e., equality, social justice, an end to oppression?)

Bruce Charlton said...

@JP - Agree 100 percent!

But, in practice, modern PC-poisoned psuedo-Christianity cannot win converts - but is instead contiually ageing and shrinking.

In England it is 'real Christians' such as the tough, scriptural evangelical Protestants who are growing most, especially among the young

This is characterised as follows: "Conservative non-separatist evangelical" - publishers such as Inter Varsity Press, The Good Book Company, Evangelicals Now, New Word Alive. - theologians such as John Stott, JI Packer - institutions such as Keswick Convention, Proclamation Trust, Oak Hill Theological College, UCCF

...but of course both the absolute numbers and the proportion of such real Christians among the population as a whole is tiny, and would need to grow exponentially with a short doubling-time.

Wurmbrand said...

Dr. Charlton, you wrote: ----ut the Christian Right would say mass conversion, a Great Awakening, a re-birth and growth of Christianity in the West (first repentance, then faith - in that order)----

I agree with much that you say, but would question this. Faith comes first. We must believe that God is, that He is just and condemns our sin, and that He is merciful and forgives our sins before we can repent, i.e. turn again to Him.

We can be appalled by our sins, we can wish we had not committed them, we can perceive something of the depth of sin in us, we can be remorseful ... but we cannot, I think, repent, till we have faith as indicated above. How can I repent, turn again to God, if I have no faith in Him?

A great deal of Christian comment on cultural issues seems to me to be denunciation of (others') sin. And of course there is a need to say that much that is now celebrated in Britain, America, and elsewhere is rebellion against God, idolatry, sensuality -- sin. Well, the Old Testament prophets may sometimes have simply prophesied against the sin of Israel and proclaimed that the nation would suffer, extremely, because of it. But I don't think we have such prophets today.

The Christian Church is primarily called to preach the Gospel of the forgiveness of sins for Christ's sake. (This calling, however, isn't a charge simply to promiscuously chatter about Christ and the Cross. Christians need to remember the commandment against scattering pearls before swine. I think some of the popular evangelism in the US (bumper stickers, T-shirt slogans, etc.) is very questionable on this account.)

Christian families and church enterprises will witness of the Faith. I think also a "reformed monasticism" is worth considering.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Dale - just to clarify that I meant only that faith is preceded by an awareness of sin and a desire to repent (rather than redefine the sin as virtue, for example).

People must feel they need a saviour, before they can have faith in a saviour - otherwise it would all seem unnecessary.

Craig said...

Well, yes, but--

When someone says "urgent priority" I tend to think that means "most important political issue", sometimes broadened to "most important cultural issue."

I know how -- in theory, if not often in practice -- people can bring about political changes. I even have some idea how people can change the culture. But bringing about a revival of Christianity? I'm not sure that's within human power at all, and I certainly don't know how to cause it.

Wurmbrand said...

Yes -- to your comment above.

Bruce Charlton said...

@ Craig - prayer, evangelism, missionary work, witness - the usual things...

A revival of Christianity is not within human power, but it certainly *requires* human effort.

PatrickH said...

Alcoholics Anonymous has twelve steps.

Step One is the confrontation with the reality of the alcoholic's situation. This being the first of twelve steps is by definition insufficient. Many alcoholics who continue to drink themselves to death have "done" the first step. This is the state of recognition of one's own depravity and the hopelessness of any form of self-cure. This is the step of Truth. Its fruit is remorse.

Step Two is the key: coming to believe in something greater than one's own (depraved) self that can restore one to sanity, wholeness, health. This is the step of Faith. Its fruit is hope.

And the third is the step of decision. This is the step of Repentance. Its fruit is adoption by God.

These steps indicate the right relationship between remorse and repentance and faith. Remorse is needed first...but it is not enough. Repentance can only follow, not be the beginning. But before repentance can happen, there must be faith.

So: remorse, faith, repentance. In that order.

At least according to my understanding of the twelve steps.

Bruce Charlton said...

@PatrickH - sounds valid. My point was that (usually) one does not leap straight to Christian faith, which is something many moderns think is the first step.