June 20, 2007

'Christianity Is Not a Relationship, It's a Religion'

I knew that would get your attention. Doug Wilson has more in a new post on his blog. "Modern evangelicalism is a terminal disease," he writes.
Not only so, but it is, in its essential respects, the same terminal disease that was called modernism or liberalism in the twenties and thirties. The point here is not that modern evangelicalism is sick, but rather that it is the sickness. ... With his characteristic insight, Machen argued in Christianity and Liberalism that these two names referred to two different religions. The same thing is true in our day.

The similarities between modern evangelicalism and liberalism are striking. Both emphasize an experience with Christ over the truth about Christ. Throughout history, some of course have made the opposite error, that of holding to bare propositions instead of holding rightly to the truth -- but in our century few have gone in that direction. Our tendency is to exalt personal experience over dogma. Indeed, I at first hesitated to use the word dogma because in today’s climate, it is a dirty word. Taking all this together, I like to tell people that Christianity is not a relationship; it is a religion. Of course it is a religion with a covenant relationship at the heart of it. God promises to be our God, and we will be His people. But the liberal (and modern evangelical) emphasis is on what we are pleased to call a personal relationship (meaning private relationship) -- and not the biblical notion of a public covenant relationship. When the relationship becomes "personal," the truth that undergirds it becomes equally "personal."
Read the whole thing here.

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