Monday, June 11, 2012

Williams, "Chicken Little Christianity"

I am always amazed at how quick we often are to sound the “The Gospel is at Stake” alarm.  We evangelicals sometimes act like a flock of Chicken Littles, running around like we’ve lost our heads squawking, “The sky is falling!  The sky is falling!  The gospel’s at stake!  The sky is falling!” at even the slightest rattling of our little hen-house of a subculture.  We could save ourselves a lot of grief by remembering the centrality and priority of the resurrection and by putting everything else in (that) perspective.

I am reminded of George W. Ramsey’s question, “If Jericho Was Not Razed, Is Our Faith in Vain?”  The fact that the archaeological evidence in Palestine does not match up well with the narrative of the conquest in the Book of Joshua (which itself does not match up well with the Book of Judges) has been an endless source of anxiety for evangelicals who have kept up with such issues.  I think one of the most salubrious theological habits I have adopted over the last few years  while engaging these sorts of issues has been that of always asking myself, Whichever way this question shakes out, will it change the fact that Jesus is risen?”  If not, then I can calm down, take a deep breath, and move forward with openness and honesty in the confidence that the gospel itself is just not at stake here.  To my mind, there’s simply no reason to think that if Joshua’s narrative of the destruction of Jericho is somewhat unhistorical, then Jesus must therefore be moldering in His tomb.  And if it is still the case that Jesus is risen, then our hope is intact, whatever the case may be with Jericho.  So, to Ramsey’s question we may resolutely, confidently, and even lightheartedly answer “No!”

So ask yourself:  If it turned out that Jesus is risen but Darwin was right about human origins after all, would you give up your faith?  If it turned out that Jesus was risen but Protestantism was wrong and Catholicism or Orthodoxy was right (or the other way around), would you opt to become an atheist?  If it turned out that Jesus is risen and that the New Perspective is more right than wrong about Paul, would that be grounds to abandon Christianity altogether?  If it turned out that Jesus is risen but the doctrine of predestination is true (or false!), would you see no more point in following Christ?  If it turned out that Jesus is risen but Genesis 1-11 is ancient Near Eastern mythology, would you apostasy?  If it turned out that Jesus is risen but Mark and Luke made historical slips here and there and Jonah was actually a non-historical children’s story, would your faith be in vain?

Here’s the kicker: If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, not only are you needlessly worrying yourself over secondary matters, you may have adopted “another gospel.”
For the entire link, click HERE.


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