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Everyone’s X generations from gospel faith

I've been travelling through a very multi-faith part of the world and reading Genesis at the same time.  It strikes me that Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism - every religion - is a corruption of original gospel faith.  We haven't all emerged from a primordial soup of basic spirituality and diverged into different expressions of it.  The world has degenerated from trust in Christ.

There are many implications of this for engaging in mission.  But now I'm in Sydney, it's a beautiful day and I'm off to the SCG to watch Australia extend it's all-forms-of-cricket lead over England to 7-5...

 

 

 

11 thoughts on “Everyone’s X generations from gospel faith

  1. theoldadam

    "The world has degenerated from trust in Christ."

    Degenerated is a good word for it.

    My pastor likes to say that when He showed up here over 2,000 years ago...they didn't want Him.

    And today...not much has changed.

  2. chris

    There's a cricket game being played between England and Australia?
    I thought that all finished last month...

    Also, I noticed the 'ashes' have stopped falling down on your blog... (don't pretent it was snow after all!)

    Come on, you shouldn't expect to get away with a cricket reference this soon!

    p.s. thanks for the post :)

  3. Si Hollett

    piddling little one-day games don't have the same weight as a 5-day test!

    Anyway, I've spotted this as well, that all world religions/philosophies/etc are just warped versions of Christianity (some more warped than others). The Devil can't make stuff up - it's all twistings and denials of the truth, rather than totally made up lies.

    But that's what's bad - he can turn wonderful truths and make them sound horrible because of the lies they are swimming in. For instance, take 'God loves me' away from 'God is all knowing' and you get Big-Brother-spy-on-you-monster.

  4. Paul Blackham

    Profound point, Glen.

    Human religions get traction from the fact that they build on aspects of Jesus. In the Garden, the LORD said that the tree at the centre was important and forbidden. The devil agrees that it is important, but is to be sampled. In tempting Jesus, the devil acknowledges that Jesus should have the world following Him... but has alternative methods. Look at the incredibly rich growth in Greek thought and culture spawned by the Hebrew Scriptures, as those truths were taken in all kinds of [often odd] directions. The Enlightenment project too is only possible on Christian foundations.

    I never cease to be amazed at how concepts of atonement and animal sacrifice are so universal. Sometimes it seems that nearly everybody, right back to ancient times, knows that blood must be shed to take away our guilt and shame [except for some contemporary Christians...!]. The idea of baptism [or, as it was in Moses "ceremonial washings"] is also almost a universally acknowledged truth. Having Islam as a major conversation partner for so long, the European world has been dragged more into unitarian heresies [which continue to crop up with monotonous regularity], but the rest of the world has had a more balanced exposure to the deeper concepts of the multiplicity of divinity.

    I live next door to a Hindu temple and a mosque is being built down our street and there is a Buddhist centre in the next street. It's been a great opportunity to engage with Hinduism and Buddhism for the first time [in a serious way]. As you know, Islam is a kind of Arabic-Judaism [clean/unclean laws; washings; festivals; daily prayer to Mecca not Jerusalem; nationally/linguistically defined; shared prophets etc - though some parts of Islam are also borrowed more directly from cultural Christianity]. At first Hinduism seemed more alien, yet the more I study the more I keep bumping into echoes of Jesus. I'm still fascinated by the ceremonial laws at the temple. I'm finding it harder with Buddhism [but it's early days].

    My main hesitation comes from the wisdom that Lesslie Newbiggin drilled into me. Christians tend to see things that look, superficially, like something in the Bible or Christian teaching. They jump to make connections, but the inner logic of the thing is in fact very different. I have found this in Islam, which I know much better. Some English speaking Christians use Islamic prayers or use the name 'Allah' to refer to the Father, yet they don't always appreciate the significance of these prayers and in using the name 'Allah' of the Father alone they are effectively denying the deity of the Son [as far as a Muslim is concerned]. People tell me that the apparently obvious connection between the Hindu Trimurti and the Trinity needs to be handled with care.

    Isn't it interesting how Paul writes to the Ephesians, living in a city dominated by a Cosmic Woman, Diana/Artemis? He writes a letter all about the real Cosmic Woman, the Bride of Jesus.

  5. Glen

    7-5 it is! And I've got a picture on my phone I'll cherish for life. Jonathan Trott holding his finger on the boundary having just dropped the match at short fine leg. Dreams are made of this.

    But, yes. We'd trade it all for the ashes.

    And sorry Dev and Leon - we're flying via Mauritius. Next time Singapore and Malaysia (and maybe Hong Kong to see Jacky!)

  6. Emily

    I was pondering on this topic the other day- when we're talking with people who don't know Jesus, and they say 'God is...' or 'God isn't...' I know they are speaking of a different 'god' – but I think a lot of the time I reach that conclusion by what they say, (e.g. they say 'God is an evil tyrant' – I know that not to be the case!) rather than by understanding that because they don't know Jesus, they cannot have any hope of knowing what the Living God is like. (Matt 11 etc.)
    But what does this mean for how we do evangelism? How am I to speak to people of someone they are so opposed to and unfamiliar with in a way that they can understand? What implications does this have for stuff like apologetics? Is there any truth that can be known and appealed to apart from Christ?! (possibly a needless question to ask on a blog called 'Christ the Truth'!) But basically I'm stuck wondering if there's a way to use these things, and I'd love to hear what people think about this...

  7. Glen

    Hi Emily,
    I speak about these kinds of things quite a bit on the blog. If you click my "apologetics" tag (or my "evangelism" tag) you'll get quite a few articles.

    Maybe this one would be a starting point:

    http://christthetruth.fourkindsofchristmas.com/2010/07/08/the-truth-that-is-in-jesus-thawed-out-thursday-2/

    I think the benefits of seeing Christ as the truth in evangelism are huge. It moves the whole thing into the realm of declaration which is so important. Not to say you don't listen and dialogue. But the evangel is good news to declare. And it's about stuff that is "extra nos" - outside of us. We do evangelism evangelically when we declare strange, new, surprising, other-worldly truths.

    Much more to be said, but I'll leave it at that for now.

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