Thursday, February 21, 2019

The Church is not a therapist

Carl Trueman at First Things on the incompatibility of Christianity with the spirit of our age:
.... The abiding—perhaps dominant—myth of this present age is that personal authenticity requires that I be able to perform for the world that which I feel I am inside. From Rousseau to Reich and beyond, this nonsense grips the popular imagination. If I am to be recognized as me, no thought can go unarticulated, no desire unrealized, no personal idiosyncrasy unexpressed. This is transforming the meaning and purpose of those institutions that have traditionally conducted and transmitted culture. No longer do institutions train us to belong to something bigger than ourselves. Rather they are there to support me in my acts of self-expression.

If I feel I am a woman, albeit trapped in a body of cells coded with XY chromosomes, then I must be allowed to perform in public as such. Medical professionals must aid me in this ambition. Scientists who demur from applauding my performance must be marginalized or expelled from the (formal or informal) guilds that give them status and authority. Schoolteachers who hinder my self-expression must be excoriated as abusive, bigoted, or incompetent. Medicine, education—you name it, it must now facilitate my performances.

This is where the modern mindset crashes into Christianity and the church. Christianity is not a religion of self-creation and the church is not an institution intended to provide a stage upon which I can perform in a safe and affirming environment. On the contrary—it is the conduit of God’s grace. It is not there to tell me that I am OK or to make me happy. It is there to assure me that in myself I am very much not OK, and to make me utterly miserable by confronting me with my dramatic shortcomings and need of a Savior. Only then can I find happiness—in God’s grace, not in the applause of an audience. .... (more)

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