Reader Shares Views
I am responding to an article that appeared in your newspaper on January 5 submitted by Dr J.B. Hardgroder. I very much enjoy reading Dr. Hargroders articles. I would agree with him politically and philosophically about 98 percent of the time. But, I must take exception to this particular article. The two objections I have are first the impugning of Christianity for a lot of injustices in our world, and secondly presenting Jesus as the great social healer of our society. My objections to these two points are as follows: The fact that evil has been perpetrated in the name of religion cannot be refuted, for sure. But to imply and impugn authentic Christianity for the missteps of religion is not fair either. The writer failed to make the distinction between religion and Christianity. Let’s take one of the most well-known example of what I am speaking of, in looking at the Crusades. Everyone is familiar with what happened during the Crusades. The religion of Islam is still angry about what they perceive as the Christian religion killing thousands of their people in the name of God or Christianity. But, Islam is fundamentally wrong in their assessment. What Islam saw in the Crusades was the Christian religion committing this heinous crime against them. But what Islam saw was not biblical Christianity, because the behavior of the Crusades was anit-thetical to authentic Christian behavior as espoused in scripture. Christianity gets unfairly blamed for this atrocity because of a failure to make the critical distinction between religion and Christianity.
The driving motif in the Crusades was not Christianity, but religion. Christians are as appalled by the crime of the Crusades as Muslins are. This falsely impugning of Christianity over all the wrongs of religion continues to happen because of a lack of understanding the different between the two dynamics of religion searches for. Christianity is not a religion, but rather a relationship, and the two are profoundly different. The second objection is this attempt to use Jesus as the social cure for the social ills of our world. In a way there is nothing wrong with this concept, in the sense that our world would certainly benefit from the ethical ramifications of what Jesus teaches. So, in this sense I am with you, Jesus would certainly make a profound difference in our world. But, the fundamental problem with mankind is not social, but rather spiritual our social ills proceed from our fundamental problem with mankind is not social, but rather spiritual. Our social ills proceed from our fundamental spiritual ills. Jesus did not come to save us from our social ills but from our spiritual ills. There is an interesting phenomenon happening right now in the Christian camp at this time. It has been happening for the last 15-20 years. What is happening is that the gospel of Jesus Christ is being socialized, and what we are ending up with is a “ social gospel” instead of a gospel with a spiritual target in sight. The premise for this aberration in the church is a flawed premise. Some misguided leaders are attempting to change people by changing their social surroundings. It will NEVER happen. You can take the pig out of the pigpen, but you cannot take the pigpen our of the pig. You can clean up the pigpen, but leave the pig unchanged. And this is what is happening in the church today. The church has been seduced by an imposter gospel, the social gospel. If we are going to change our world, and improve our social proclivities, it cannot be done externally, it must be done internally. Jesus is more than a social cure, He is a Savior in the sense of a spiritual salvation. But when one experiences salvation he will also be changed socially. In the end, it is a spiritual regeneration that will produce a social renovation.
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