Wednesday, 12 August 2020
Christianity has been tried and found wanting?
In fact, Holland points out that without Christianity, the Western world would not exist. Even the claims of the social justice warriors who despise the faith of their ancestors, rest on a foundation of Judeo-Christian values. Those who make arguments based on love, tolerance, and compassion are borrowing fundamentally Christian arguments. If the West had not become Christian, Holland writes, “no one would have gotten woke.”
Then how do we account for the injustices in the history of the West, the cruelty of religious wars, slavery, colonialism, racism, and so much more? We account for it by realizing that Christianity has been a battle against the native proclivities of fallen human beings. Most were really not discipled to live as Messiah and to follow his ways of peace, reconciliation, and love. When people of deep godly goodness came to the fore, they produced great gain. The influence of such people as John Newton, the former slave trader, and writer of the beloved hymn Amazing Grace is amazing. When he said this grace “saved a wretch like me” he was referencing his cruel work in the slave trade. His friend William Wilberforce was the key member of Parliament whose Christian faith motivated him to see the elimination of slavery throughout the British Empire. Champions of civil rights like Jonathan Blanchard, the founder of Wheaton College (1860), and the great revivalist and leader at Oberlin College, Charles Finney, played significant roles. We read of Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Uncle Tom’s Cabin without realizing that her Evangelical father and brother were abolitionist pastors. Her biblical faith motivated her.
Alas, progress always came from a minority, but it came and was based on reading the Bible Most rationalized their unbiblical views and yet claimed to be Christians. The history of the Western World is a history of the struggle to really convert the paganism of the heart. Paganism remains in the heart and syncretism is the rule. Maybe it was not the syncretism of bowing down to the gods of Canaan, but it was the syncretism of war, cruelty, slavery, and colonial exploitation. Sometimes the missionaries who wanted to lift the population fought the leaders of the companies and governors who were there to despoil the natives for the enrichment of the home country. The Bible’s teaching was and is dismissed as impractical, or only for the really few who are called to a more rigid obedience. The rest can call themselves Christians and even attend Church while they engage in the real politic of state craft, or rapacious business dealings, or sexual exploitation. Truly Chesterton was right. Christianity was found difficult and was not usually really tried.
This excerpt was taken from my article.