Sunday, February 2, 2014

A.N. Wilson on the death of Christianity

A.N. Wilson lists the dire signs of collapse of Christianity in the West, and then notes:
The Gospel is hard, and it contains within it, not the fear but the absolute certainty, that persecution and misunderstanding will always follow in its wake. It is based on the idea of dying in order to live; of losing life in order to find it; of taking up the cross, that instrument of torture, and finding therein not merely life but glory. 
Yes, the hype and sentimentality surrounding the funeral of Nelson Mandela’s funeral were embarrassing, but at the core of it all was the central idea, embodied by a figure such as Archbishop Tutu, that it is possible to ignore the poison of hatred bubbling in your heart and forgive your enemies. The ANC, for long – yes – a terrorist organisation, changed its mind, and behaved, not like Jihadists, but like Christians. South Africa, riven as it is with every kind of human problem, got that thing right largely because Mandela in his prison years decided to risk all on what was a fundamentally Christian idea. 
Yes, the Arab Spring is the Christian Winter because there is no truth or reconciliation apparently at work in Israel-Palestine, nor in Iraq, nor in Syria… But the Christian writings, beginning as they do with a refugee mother and baby surrounded by invading armies, and ending with world conflict, the utter destruction of Jerusalem, and the coming
of apocalyptic death and plague, are not comfortable. 
The paradox is that growing or shrinking numbers do not tell you anything. The Gospel would still be true even if no one believed it. The hopeful thing is that, where it is tried – where it is imperfectly and hesitantly followed – as it was in Northern Ireland during the peace process, as it is in many a Salvation Army hostel this Christmas, as it flickers in countless unseen Christian lives, it works. And its palpable and remarkable power to transform human life takes us to the position of believing that something very wonderful indeed began with the birth of Christ into the world.

"The Gospel would still be true even if no one believed it." The Gospel transforms lives. It transformed mine. It is the most powerful thing thing that ever entered the world. Even the ideologies that war against Christianity-- Islam, consumerism, communism, secularism, atheism-- are Christian heresies. But they will not, in the end, hold their gates against Christ.

Wilson is a marvelous writer. His God's Funeral is magnificent-- highly recommended (although sadly not yet available on Kindle). Wilson is a cradle Christian who sank into atheism for decades, and has now come back home to the Church. 

He has a particularly salient insight into the Gospel's power-- "It works."


12 comments:

  1. I have no doubt that Christ's Church will survive because he told us that the gates of hell will never prevail against it. But we have some dark days in front of us. It's going to get worse before it gets better. Christian persecution, both here and abroad, will continue for some time to come.

    JQ

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    1. I agree, JQ. We've got some very dark days comin' up.

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    2. Oh, poor things. You are being so viciously persecuted in the United States of America by the hordes of atheists and Muslims. My heart goes out to you. I wish you success in your imaginary struggles.

      Hoo

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    3. Hoo, compelling us to participate in your secular sacrament of abortion is 'imaginary'?

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    4. You don't have to have an abortion, David. I personally guarantee it.

      Conversely, don't mess with other people's affairs.

      Hoo

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    5. We don't want your meddling. Only your money.

      Other People

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    6. Hoo, how is participation in an abortion equivalent to having an abortion? The doctors and nurses involved are participating, are they not? If you force me to pay for it, I am participating.

      For someone who professes to be a professor, your verbal comprehension is not up to snuff. English not your first language?

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  2. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyFebruary 2, 2014 at 8:34 AM

    But we must never forget, the darker the day, the brighter the Light.

    Never did the Light burn brighter than for the Christians celebrating Mass, marrying, and burying their dead in the Catacombs of Priscilla, driven underground by the likes of modern-day Progressives.

    Never did the Truth become more real than for St Stephen:
    When they heard [Stephen's rebuke], they were infuriated, and they ground their teeth at him. But he, filled with the holy Spirit, looked up intently to heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” But they cried out in a loud voice, covered their ears, and rushed upon him together. They threw him out of the city, and began to stone him.
    --- Acts 7

    Nothing is different today. With grace, hate can always be bent and forged into piety and zeal. JQ is right to remind us that "the gates of hell will never prevail against it".

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  3. God's Funeral was published in 1999, and you are waiting for a Kindle version.

    "The Gospel would still be true even if no one believed it, " is nonsense.

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    1. I read God's Funeral on a dead tree years ago.

      What's nonsense about "The Gospel would still be true even if no one believed it"?

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    2. Veronica - You REALLY think that truth depends on a majority vote?

      'Heliocentrism would still be true even if no one believed it'. And, indeed, there was a time when no one believed it. Yet it was, and still is, true. Your statement is nonsense.

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  4. Christianity is stronger then ever for Evangelical Christians.
    Its numbers are the same as ever relative to population in America. its rich, its famous, its feared or respected by bad guys everywhere.
    in fact our brand of Christianity has never been better I think.
    Nort america is entirely defined by christian foundations.
    Its the other denominations that have trouble.
    by the way i don't see mandela as the good guy or that White south africans owed black africans their civilization.
    The 'whites' built the civilization and did not desire to live as a minority with the others.
    The world forced the Brits and Boers to give their home to a foreign black people.
    it was unjust. there was issues of mutual boundaries but Mandela was a invader even after giving up terrorism.
    Its a shameful thing to rob the whites home by underserving africans.
    The same idea as to why arans deny Israel's right to live in a segregated nation.
    i'm sure most true South african (whites0 would leave if they could.
    The world interfering with apartheid was a interference with the rights of the true owner and creator of south africa.
    The bad guys won there. probably no future there now.

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