Friday, January 05, 2007

When the message is empty

One of the things that have noticed that has changed for me with regards to doctrine is that I am happy to live with differences with others. This isn't to say that I have gone "soft on truth", become a relativist or gone all postmodern (as such). I just realise more that other people have some good reasons to believe things that they do. I also realise that there are some unclear issues.

This does mean, however that I think solid method and substance are important. I recently moved to digital cable TV (Foxtel) and started getting the Christian channel. There is some interesting stuff, and some truly vacuous rubbish. One fellow, whose name escapesme for the moment, gave a message on having a winning attitude. He translated Philipians 2.5 as having the same attitude as Christ. A fair paraphrase I guess. However, far from filling this attitude with biblical meaning, he emptied it (get it?!) of all meaning and inserted some American can-do pop psychology. It was truly awful. God wants us to be winners (never mind what Philipians says about the attitude of Christ or how he won praise from all of creation!)

His daughter followed up, trying to inspire the listener on how to have victory in the Christian life - all hard work. Now I think that faith is manifest in works, and our works demonstrate that we really believe (and not merely our confession), but there was little emphasis on faith, the role of the Spirit, etc.

When the Christian message becomes as empty and vacuous as the spin of the age, then it is no longer the Christian message. Back to the remote for some more "messages" that I pray have content.

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