Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Modern liberal thought has relieved God of being Creator, says Philip J. Lee in his Against the Protestant Gnostics:

No Protestant body would profess or even consider what the religious humanists said in 1933. Yet on a practical level, a metaphysical doubt is present. When the doubt remains unchallenged, it leads modern Christians into a position very similar to that of the ancient gnostics. If the heresiarchs devised archons to be responsible for the mistakes of the cosmos, thereby freeing God of responsibility, a scientifically oriented generation has interposed its own archons: the big bang, probability, evolution, all of which provide some distance between God and this deficient cosmos. And if Marcion "tore God the Creator away from God the Redeemer" by denying the kindness of the former, the same result has been achieved in our own day be denying the existence of the Creator. In both cases, humanity has been cut off from its origins, has lost the history of its existence and therefore cannot discover meaning within the context of the given universe.
Lee goes on to say that this bifurcation has affected an alienation between the "deficient cosmos" and humanity. This has had a profound "hidden influence" on much of Protestant Christianity, wherein salvation is understood as a rescue from the disorder of the created world.

Lee says that instead of challenging these assumptions, Southern Fundamentalism acquiesced largely unwittingly. It became focused on apocalyptic motifs and "despaired of humanity," so much so that the great revivals of the 1950s (chief among them Billy Graham's) made no spiritual gains. "American Protestantism had been left more discouraged and confused after the revival than before."


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