Friday, February 4, 2011

And Another Thing...

I'm on a roll right now, so I might as well keep going.  But we'll switch up the topic, and I promise no gruesome pictures this time.  Mostly, I want to give a shout-out to Fr. Dwight Longnecker, who wrote a post entitled "The Smoke of Satan" the other day for Patheos.  His post is addressed to Catholics, although he mentions that mainstream Protestantism has nearly succumbed to the same problem.  Basically what Fr. Dwight is talking about here is our modern tendency to strip the Bible, and the Gospel message, of everything supernatural.  To bring it down to something nice and easy and soft, what I call "Fluffy Jesus," virtually devoid of meaning.  Of course, the good Father puts it much better than I:
So, the feeding of the five thousand wasn't a miracle. Instead the "real miracle" was that everyone shared their lunch. Everything had to be questioned and "re-interpreted" in such a way that it could be accepted and understood by modern people. So when we call Jesus Christ "God Incarnate" what we really mean was that he was so fully human that as he reached his potential as a man, he showed us what divinity looks like. When we speak of the Blessed Virgin we mean she was "a very good and holy Jewish young woman." When we speak of the "Real Presence" we mean that we see the "Christ that is within each one of us."

I hate this crap.
Me too, Father.  Me too.  But in a brilliant move, Fr. Longnecker doesn't just rant about the watering-down of our proclamation - he also declares what is so particularly heinous about this - the fleecing of the laity:
The reason it is so obnoxious and disgusting is because priests and clergy of all sorts still use all the traditional language of the liturgy, the scriptures, and the creeds, but they have changed the meaning of it altogether. They never actually stand up and say that they have changed the meaning, and that they no longer believe the faith once delivered to the saints. They don't discuss the fact that they have not only changed the meaning, but robbed it of meaning altogether. Instead they still stand up week by week and recite the creed as if they think it is true, but what they mean by "'true" is totally different from what their people mean.
Which leads to:
The faithful don't know why their church has become like a cross between a Joan Baez concert and a political activism meeting.
Amen, preach it, Father!  And you, my gentle readers, should go read the whole thing.

But now for the real question (because he's right that this is destroying contemporary Protestantism): How do we fix this?


Brian said...

Preach Christ and him crucified for the sinner. Stake your goods, your honor, and your very life on the gospel of Jesus Christ. Use the mirror to reveal their sins, the hammer to break through the protective layers of self-righteousness and satan's reason, and pure light of the gospel to bring Christ to them. As preachers, what better way to fight terrible doctrine and theology with the Scriptures and the gospel!

If we fail to preach and teach in accordance with what we confess, then we are guilty. If we do preach, teach, and LIVE what we believe, then we can do something. Once it's in our churches, once it goes outside its walls into our communities, and once the preisthood of all believers actually proclaims the good news to all the world, let alone their friends and neighbors, then we would see a truly miraculous thing.

That's my two cents.

Eric said...

Elizabeth of Hungary,
I find your blog via Living Lutheran and just wanted to leave you a general note saying that I have enjoyed what I have read so far!

Thanks for blogging like you do,

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