Saturday, September 17, 2011

"keep [y]our nerve, pray for divine assistance, and launch forth boldly in the teeth of opposition and ridicule"

     "In these circumstances the strategy of translating the language of the faith into the jargon of the streets is superficial.  The intention is good, and there is even a grain of truth on offer.  It is wise to develop contemporary analogies that will capture in a vivid way the great truths of the gospel. . . . However, the mistake is to think that folk are ready to roll over and accept the Christian faith if only we could find a way to make it intelligible to them.  This ignores the offense of the faith.  To see what is at stake in salvation requires an intellectual revolution that shakes the foundations of one's standard conception of oneself.  The darkness and cognitive malfunction are so great that the active grace of God is required to wake us from our dogmatic slumbers.  We should permit the claims of the faith to call into question the common intellectual assumptions of our day rather than capitulating at the first sign of opposition.  Moreover, it is not always easy to explain the deep things of God even to veteran believers.  Thus, to rely on strategies of translation, or on cute analogies, or on church growth techniques, in order to relieve our anxieties is disastrous for the church in the long run.  We need to keep our nerve, pray for divine assistance, and launch forth boldly in the teeth of opposition and ridicule.  Cutting a deal with the world at this point and reworking the faith to accommodate its wishes is simply wrongheaded and ineffective."

William J. Abraham, Wesley for armchair theologians (Louisville, KY:  Westminster John Knox Press, 2005), 106.

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