We may know of people who live to pump up the Christian culture they have inherited even though this tissue of beliefs is a misdirected gospel and a parody of the Gospel of Jesus, Paul and John. You may have come across people in recent times who go into bat for denominations that originated in fraud and which are sustained by a culture of denial and rationalisation.
In our time in Australia and abroad we have been confronted with ignorance posing as ‘common sense’ and false facts (lies) contributing to the rise of demagogues and a deceitful reality which of course is no reality at all. These are lying cultures built on a foundation of lies.
Such rationalisation in religion can dull the human spirit and make blind eyes more blind than they were before. Jesus was speaking of such people when He said ‘
Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them’ Matt 13.12 NIV. There’s a reason why movements fade and why entire nations, despite their wealth become failed states.
Foundationalism’ in our recent posts refers to the substitution of ‘another gospel’ for the Gospel of Jesus, Paul and John – a reliance on a substitute gospel that differs from Reformed Theology, having no connection to the doctrine of the Church Fathers and having been polluted by legalism. Debilitated so that the scriptures, the Christ and His Gospel are interpreted through the law when the law, the scriptures and our Godliness must be the effect of who we are in Christ – plus nothing.
Douglas Campbell writes, “
Many Christian leaders have demonstrably accepted the [foundationalist] truth gambit and strayed from the revelation that is Jesus, turning to philosophical or cultural projections of one sort or another. As Barth saw with particular clarity, however, these projections invariably cloak sinister political and cultural self-ratifications, ultimately involving the church in deep confusions and painful failures. Such churches become incapable, at bottom, of disentangling God from their own culture and politics, and so they often end up, in effect, dying for their flag in the name of God but in defiance of his real nature.”
There are gospels that present as the Gospel of Christ that are a counterfeit of who He is and who we are in Him. Their ‘disguise’ comes from the fact that they wear Christ’s clothes but do not contain His Person. Such gospels are an artifact of the knowledge of good and evil – the religious life of many who have been misdirected into a culture of legalism/moralism as though this is the inheritance Jesus has given us.
This culture is an ideology more than the Christ of God and His Gospel of the Kingdom. The result is a gospel smug ‘we have the truth’ or of judgment and tirades against mainly sexual sin. Quite different to the Christ who is our life and in whom there is no condemnation.
Douglas Campbell writes, “
We need to press deeper into what Jesus as God is disclosing to us about God, and perhaps the first thing that impresses itself upon us as we do so is the realization that God is composed of persons. The God revealed through Jesus overflows with personhood. God the Father has sent his Son. And God the Spirit has drawn us through the Son back to her Father. God is intrinsically personal.”
A real-life Gospel is not an ideology or ‘our perspective.’ It is sourced in the life of our personal God whose ultimate personhood offered Jesus, God’s Son as the Living Way by which we can live in this union with God in everyday life. This is the eucharist as a life rather than as a rite. Real life/real Gospel is Christ our life.