Friday, December 07, 2007

Venting in Advent

I caught a little bit of Question Time last night, specifically the "Christianophobia" debate.

It was Ken Clarke's comments on the subject that first drew my attention. He rightly pointed out that there are fringe groups of fundamentalists in every religion (he did not include atheism or secularism in that assessment - he should have), but that the vast majority of followers of a belief are actually not unreasonable (essentially, religion and belief are not the problem... but sometimes those who practice it are).

However it was the subsequent discussion on the "radical fundamental" side of Christianity that really grabbed me. First, Clarke himself suggested that Christians who reject Darwinism are among this group. Now I am a Creationist (though not in the stereotypical sense); I happen to think the ideas expressed by neo-Darwinism (i.e life without God) are foolish... I certainly don't disregard people for holding those views though. I also don't feel that we have to adhere to a literal 6 24 hour day creation period, because the Bible in the original Hebrew does not restrict Creation to that time period.

The most controversial statement was made by a member of the audience though. He challenged Clarke's assertion that people with radical views were in the minority, by pointing out that something like 44% of Americans believe that Christ will return in the next 50 years. Clarke conceded that, but pointed out that this was the UK and not the USA.

However at the risk of sounding a nutjob, I want to challenge the assertion made by that audience member myself. The idea of Christ returning in the next 50 years is only as ludicrous as it is sensible. The early apostles believed that Christ would be back within their lifetime and the sense of urgency that came from that belief, fuelled in part the enthusiasm for spreading the Gospel message. In truth, the "50 years" part of the statement is irrelevant though. He most likely raised it because he finds the idea of Christ returning ludicrous in itself... and do you know what? I feel sure a lot of churchgoers do to.

I don't.

I believe Jesus will return one day... because he said he would. Whether that is tomorrow or in the next 5 millennia - I wouldn't like to call it, but he will come back.

If you think that is outlandish and you are a churchgoer yourself, then you should consider that what I have just said is nothing less than what is uttered every week in various forms of the Creed... and if you hadn't realised that, maybe you should pay more attention when saying it.
Truth be known, I don't think the idea of Jesus returning within 50 years is ridiculous either. We know how big the Earth is now... and the Gospel is day by day reaching new cultures... even the remotest tribes. We live in an age when when the consequences of Adam's sin are maturing. By this I mean that man is growing very much to the point where he feels as a species that he is independent of God and has no need of him.

Many reject the concept of the Second Coming because of doubt in Christ's divinity and/or because of arrogance or complacency that the world will continue each day as it always has... and yet really irrespective of whether we acknowledge God... none of us is guaranteed another sunrise.

Jesus himself said the following:

"No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.

"Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him."
Matthew 24:36-44

We merrily go about our business and rarely give a second thought to it, do we? The only times you'll hear mention of the Second Coming are as a joke when something surprises us... or as a comparison that something is a long way off. Yet this is advent, it is a time when the church assigns time to contemplate these things. It isn't just about waiting for the babe in a manger, it is about waiting for the king descending with the kingdom and manifesting it fully on Earth.

No one knows the day or the hour... oh it might be a million years away... but it might just as easily be tomorrow. Would you take that chance?

Would you really take that chance?

There's an old proverb that I've quoted here before. It might well be cliched... but I happen to believe it is something to aspire to:

"You should live as if Christ died yesterday, rose today... and is coming back tomorrow."

Maybe it's time we paid attention and started to get our houses in order.

You.

Me.

Everybody.

4 comments:

  1. Indeed, I recommitted my life to God two days in part for the reasons you put in your last paragraph.

    Did a bit research and there are many references to Jesus' return, for example:

    "so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him." - Hebrews 9:28

    "In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am." - John 14:2-3

    There's lots more too.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Christinanity - almost as pernicious a medieval fantasy as Islime. Particularly the Cathaholics. It wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't as blatant a lie as Santa Claus - but then, chistinanity HAS no sanity clause!
    see
    http://newilluminati.blog-city.com
    for a little TRUTH

    ReplyDelete
  3. New Illuminati - Perhaps I might visit your blog (much as I'm certain to disagree with your views), if you presented your "invite" with a little more respect. At the moment it looks like a childish slap.

    I may visit... if only to show you that there is nothing new about the illuminati. They were opposed long before medieval times... and the lies and weaknesses of gnostic argument were completely exposed befopre the first century was out.

    And do I look, sound or smell in any appear to be a "Cathaholic"?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Nick

    Merry Christmas! Of course there are differing views on the subject of 6 days of creation in Genesis as being narrative or not. I happen to believe it is narrative as once you go down the other route you end up in a right logical mess with the rest of the Eden Story, Flood and ultimately the necessity of Christs Death.

    Andrew

    ReplyDelete

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