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09 February 2009


This post should be read in tandem with this morning's other post, "I'd Like to KEEP My Stuff, Thankyouverymuch."

If you know me, you know I haven't ever been a major fan of Shane Claiborne. But he doesn't do what he does to earn my approval, so that's really neither here nor there. However, a quote he makes in his book The Irresistible Revolution has struck a chord with me. It's by Soren Kierkegaard, a Danish philosopher about whom I know nothing other than the fact that he lived in the 1800's and wrote this.

While I'm not suggesting that we abandon Biblical scholarship, I clearly see where he's coming from.

"The matter is quite simple. The bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obliged to act accordingly. Take any words in the New Testament and forget everything except pledging yourself to act accordingly. My God, you will say, if I do that my whole life will be ruined. How would I ever get on in the world? Herein lies the real place of Christian scholarship. Christian scholarship is the Church’s prodigious invention to defend itself against the Bible, to ensure that we can continue to be good Christians without the Bible coming too close. Oh, priceless scholarship, what would we do without you? Dreadful it is to fall into the hands of the living God. Yes, it is even dreadful to be alone with the New Testament."


Preston N said...

"But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers.....

Ummm....I will speak for myself thank you very much Mr. Claiborne and Mr. Kirkengaard! Sorry Dean - but I will have to throw a wet blanket here. This is nothing more than Christian Existentialism. It's no suprise Shane Claiborne would quote Kirkengaard. Just a little background for you - Soren Kirkengaard was one of the forefathers of Existential Philosophy. In a nut shell he was the one who proclaimed real Christian faith is nothing more than a "Blind Leap of Faith" - in otherwords faith that is not based upon any sort of knowledge and understanding we might obtain as human beings - as Kirkengaard questioned "how does one really know what truth is?", in otherwords he is much likened to the Post-modernist of today. (He and Friedrich Nietzsche - an ardent atheist, really laid the ground work for the post-modern philosophy of this present age).

It is no wonder Shane would quote one of his post-modern "heros" - I consider Shane nothing more than another "Post Modern Emergent" who is trying to attack or undermine that we as humans can not really know absolute truth - as truth is culturally realitive and is not absolute. He is a dangerous man, along with his cohorts Brian McLaren and Tony Jones - all part of the Emergent Church (aka Post-modern) movement. Be warned this is sticky and heady philosophy that sounds "cool" and hip but deep down it is a perversion that has quietly crept into our theology and our churches. It is nothing more than to undermine the absolute truth, knowledge and wisdom the bible holds. God said that if we ask for one thing - ask for wisdom. Wisdom comes ONLY through knowledge and understanding - not some metaphysical "Blind leap of faith" - whatever that may mean. If God is a mystery, as Kirkengaard proclaimed to such extremes - then why did he not only give us his Word to know him, but also displayed himself in human form so that we may have a living and breathing example before us!

Dean Lusk said...

Wet blankets can help to keep bonfires of craziness from spreading, so no worries, Preston, and thanks for the info!

I may not have made it clear that I don't endorse the theology of these men, particularly that of the one I stated I wasn't familiar with. For that to be the focus of your comment, I must have made my point extremely poorly. I apologize. (What if I'd used a Mark Twain quote?)

Were I to use no one's comments but my own, I'd simply say something like this: "Christians sometimes tend to intellectualize many things in the Scriptures that do not need to be intellectualized, but simply need to be obeyed."

Preston N said...

Dean - By no means was I worried that you were endorsing either of these guys and you indeed made that quite clear in your comments. I wrote what I did for the sake of others who may not be that familiar with either of these gents philosophy or theology. Again context is so vital here. If you were to quote yourself or Mark Twain, most people would know who those quotes are from and what they represent. However, most might not be as familar with Claiborne or Kierkegaard and think these fellows are theologically OK or sound. That was my reason to set the record straight. Again, this quote is no reflection of you or your blog. :)

As for your comment, I agree wholeheartedly. The reason for my little "rant" is these post-modernist are infiltrating the church on a grand scale - more than most admit. On the surface Kierkegaard and Claibornes comments may sound good, but you must understand what is behind their comments to understand where they are coming from and their motives. Trying to pin down a Post-modern Emergent on the issue of absolutes is like trying to herd cats in a dark room. That is why I said what I did.

Jake Woods said...

Although i do disagree with many aspects of Shane Claiborne's theology (specifically his beliefs that we should AAAALLLLL be poor and his crazy strict anti-war sentiments), i believe his overall message in Irresistible Revolution (i can only speak on that single book, however) is very much sound.

As previously stated, i do not think that Shane's belief that we should all take Jesus's command to "sell everything and follow me" literally. In 1 Corinthians 7:17 Paul says that we aren't all supposed to immediately jump up and go to a far away land when we come to know Christ. God has placed us where we are for a reason. I think this passage confirms that Christ's command is meant to be applied on a case-by-case basis. Shane seems to believe otherwise.

But, from what i can see, there is no doubt that Shane loves Christ and loves the people around him. I've heard people criticize him because he never describes a personal revelation IE: Asking Jesus into his heart. But again, from what i can see, there is no doubt that he is a Christ follower. That is what matters. Yes, theology is very important and is too often downplayed, but Shane is winning people to Christ in a very unique setting that would make most of us cringe. He's DOING God's Word, something i wish could say about most of the American Church and, more importantly, my self.

Again i don't agree with everything that Shane believes. But i can see he loves Christ. That's what matters.

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