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Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Not the Everyday Thing

Perhaps you've heard the term, "syncretism." Or ... not. Syncretism is the practice of blending beliefs, of assimilating one set of beliefs into another. That "another" is generally the process is the merging or assimilation of opposing beliefs. An obvious example is Santeria.Santeria is a meld of Afro-Cuban (Africans brought by slaves to Cuba) cult beliefs (like voodoo) with Catholicism. Putting those two together is in direct opposition to Catholic beliefs, but it doesn't stop it from happening.

There is a problem with syncretism, as you can see. The object is to meld the old with the new, but it assumes that the old is wrong -- insufficient, incomplete, inadequate somehow. Jesus, however, said that He is the Truth. That doesn't change. That doesn't age. That is not incomplete. So melding that "old" with anything new and opposing would simply be nonsense ... at best.

And, yet, we do it all the time. We think, "What would people like to hear today?" as a means of getting them to come into our churches and then we give that to them as if it's a Christian thing. We don't actually evaluate it. It's not a theological decision. It's a marketing scheme. I'm not suggesting that all "updates" we employ are syncretism -- merging Christianity with the world. I'm saying that some of it is and we're doing it without thinking. We do it in our churches. We do it in our lives. We make adjustments to make ourselves -- either personally or as a body -- more palatable to the world around us ... which Scripture says is hostile toward God (Rom 8:7). That is, it isn't going to happen.

So here's the deal. We need to stop thinking of the church as something that's supposed to be like the world. We need to stop thinking of Christianity as a tool to get along with the world. We need to stop thinking of our faith as an everyday thing in that sense. It's not. It's a God thing. It's a supernatural thing. It's a "not of this world" thing. When we try to make it such, we go against the essence of the faith -- die with Christ to live with Christ (Rom 6:3-4). On the other hand, "Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him." (1 John 2:15).

When we begin to think of our faith -- the beliefs that make us Christians -- as an everyday thing, we begin to nullify our faith. We dumb it down, mitigate it, diminish it. Faith in Christ itself is a supernatural thing (Rom 12:3) and we are "strangers and exiles on the earth" (Heb 11:13; 1 Peter 2:11). If this life we call Christianity is just an everyday thing -- common -- then we're missing Christianity.

1 comment:

Marshal Art said...

I've just clicked on the imaginary "Like" button.