This last week I came across a quote that sums up a consistent argument against Christianity.
“The insanity of the Christian doctrine of redemption really doesn’t fit at all into our time. Nevertheless there are learned, educated men, occupying high positions in public life, who cling to it with the faith of a child. It is simply incomprehensible how anybody can consider the Christian doctrine of redemption as a guide for the difficult in life of today… A church that does not keep step with the modern scientific community is doomed. It may take quite a while, but it is bound to finally happen.”
The author goes on to belittle members of the clergy for being ignorant and essentially believes that Christianity is not compatible with modern society and thinking. Certainly this is a statement that you could hear on the streets of Portland or in the classrooms of our schools and it is not a new idea. But this quote is not from an academic or your neighbor. This is from the personal diary of Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s propaganda director and a central figure in the rise of the Nazis in Germany in the 1930s.
As I read Eric Metaxas’ Bonhoeffer I am fascinated by the way in which the German church shifted its theology to match the philosophy of the National Socialists. It is an important lesson in maintaining clear, Biblical theology in the face of popular opinion or “new” ideas. Today we may not have Nazi influence but there certainly are movements that challenge the tenets of denominations, think of those that have shifted in the past decade over cultural issues no longer held as important.
History reminds us over and over to stick with scripture and to trust in grace alone but too often we are swayed by slick speaking and things of a “tolerant” or a “generous” philosophy. Should we determine to be more about the cross and Christ as the only way to the father? I think so.