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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
               Thursday, November 14 2002 

Jon Kennedy, webmaster "Dumbed-down Christianity"

It's ironic or providential that today, while preparing to take up Methodist Bishop Joseph Sprague's atheistic "affirmations" made in the name of Christianity, I received an email of a type that comes frequently and that I normally delete unopened, from an eforum called "Clean Laughs." Ironic, because on Wednesday I did open it and it contains something that seems to speak directly to today's point.

In Wednesday's "Clean Laughs," one of the laughs is a quote attributed to former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher: "As God said in the Bible, and I think rightly...." It's laughable because in her own wording or slip of the tongue she's implying that she's in a position to judge God or whether He's right in her presumably superior perspective. Fortunately, she happens to agree with Him so she considers Him worth quoting. But it's less facetious when the same judging of God and His sayings are presented as a scholarly and academic treatise by a man considered a leader of a segment of the Christian community.

Bishop Sprague takes pains to make clear just who he thinks he's "evangelizing," winning to Christian faith, through his recasting of the traditional creeds of Christendom and doctrines of the Bible: "There are many thoughtful seekers looking to the church for help with a gnawing spiritual hunger in their hearts. We must open windows to help those people to see the essence of the one whose life, death, and resurrection, are the substance of the faith once delivered to the apostles."

But in the quotations cited here yesterday he contradicted his own point in fact if not in spirit. By admitting that the "mainline" churches are leaning toward a more traditional interpretation of Scripture than his own interpretation and that of previous, more "modernistic" or "liberal" generations of the past century, he allows that the tide is against this attempt to "de-deify" God. He even plays the Marxists' class conflict card by indicating that his concern is for the "middle class church"; implying that the "low-class church" has always stayed more conservative than the old guard mainliners; it's not being "dumbed-down" because it's always been "dumb," I take him to be saying.

He says the middle class is moving toward being "dumbed down," but what could be dumber than believing in a God incarnate who was in actuality the son of Joseph the Carpenter rather than of God the Father? What could be dumber than arguing that Jesus was born with a belly button and human DNA, as though the church has taught otherwise, when it never has? (Adam, if he is literally historical, because he was created rather than born, would have had no need for a belly button, but anyone born in a womb obviously has to have a lifeline in the form of an umbilical cord.) There's nothing more orthodox than saying that Christ was carried in the womb of Mary just like any other human being is carried in her or his mother's womb, even though Mary was not impregnated by a physical partner but spiritually, thus preserving her virginity.

The same principle holds to DNA...the most ancient creeds of Christendom testify that Jesus Christ is Fully Man, as Sprague affirms repeatedly, but, they also insist that he is Fully God, "of the same substance as the Father," which the bishop prefers to reinterpret as "symbolic language" or "metaphor." What could be dumber than trying to persuade anyone that the Apostle John could get away with creating "myths" about Jesus' teachings and His ancestry in a generation that still remembered the crucifixion and resurrection and knew very well where the Virgin Mary was residing in her latter years?

John's generation of believers knew well that the enemies of the new faith had tried in every way possible to disprove the miracles in the life and ministry of Christ, including the physical resurrection and ascension, and they failed to prove anything or persuade/dissuade the growing body of believers. And it was a generation to which healings and other miracles were commonly known in the lives of the Apostles and the quickly growing roll of martyrs.

And since a God with no power to create (except "metaphorically") is no God...what could be dumber than a Christianity without God?

—Webmaster Jon Kennedy

Signs across America

 

—Sent by Sallie Covolo

Thought for today

Sanity is a madness put to good use.

—George Santayana

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