Residual Christianity

By Dave Henning / January 7, 2014

As Timothy Keller concludes Chapter 2 of Walking with God through Pain and Suffering, he observes that all Western societies live within a secular frame, and even though many people continue to profess traditional beliefs in God, most still are affected by this secular frame.  Pastor Keller states that we believe we can control our own destiny, are capable of making our own moral judgments, and see God as obligated to bless us- especially if we’ve lived a good life as determined by our personal standards.  Sociologist Christian Smith refers to this mindset as “moralistic, therapeutic deism”.

Pastor Keller asserts that this “residue of Christianity may be the worst possible preexisting condition in which to encounter suffering.”  In the midst of suffering, this is worse than total disbelief in God.

The author lists four robust, distinctive Christian beliefs to counter residual Christianity:

1.  Belief in a person, wise, infinite, and therefore inscrutable God who controls the affairs of the world.  Nothing is the result of fickle fate or random choice.

2.  In Jesus Christ, God came to earth and suffered and died for us sacrificially.  God is not remote and uninvolved.

3.  Through faith in Christ’s work on the cross, we can have assurance of our salvation.  With the certainty that God is for us and with us, suffering is bearable.

4.  The bodily resurrection from the dead for all who believe.  The resurrection is not just consolation, it’s restoration!

Today’s question: How would you describe your mindset at this point in your healing, transformational journey?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Life is just a bowl of cherries”

Coming Thursday: the latest Short Meditation- “For All the Marbles”

About the author

Dave Henning

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