You can't change the message

Newbigin in his book, The Gospel in a Pluralist Society helps us begin to understand some of the issues we wrestle with as Christians every day in our lives. It's a book worth reading. He reminds us how easy it is to recast the Christian story in terms that we think will make the message more plausible. Many of the 20th century theologians have tried to explain the miracles in the gospels in purely psychological terms. These theologians talk of the miracles as visions created in the minds of the disciples because of their faith in Jesus. They see the resurrection story as a result of the pre-existing faith the disciples had in Jesus. I've no doubt that they want unbelievers to become believers. In doing so they write another gospel to accommodate their reason. What they do is change the message all around. Indeed it is the exact opposite. The disciples according to the gospel accounts had no faith whatsoever. They were all full of doubt. They had no expectation of resurrection. Where was Mary's pre-existing faith, or Peter's or any one of the disciples? They were all afraid and in hiding. Newbigin accuses such people as this to be people who are seeking to domesticate the gospel. In other words change the message so that it fits the reigning plausibility structure. It is obvious that the resurrection miracle is difficult for a secular world view to accept. So the way forward is to change the message. Another interesting writer on this whole topic of morality and culture affecting theology is the book by Parker T Williamson, "Standing Firm", in this book he introduces us to the context and faith struggles which Athanasius had to face in 325 AD at a place called Nicea. "It is here that the church erupted into a battle ground between between Christian faith and cultural accommodation" it is with all this in mind that the song Mr Graham was written. I've used it to introduce my latest   podcast.
1 Comment

Posted By: Jimmy McPhee   On: 15 Mar 2007   At: 8:24pm

This has been running through my head for a few weeks now;

The gospel does not accommodate us

we accommodate the gospel.

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