Christian MP Alistair Burt is going to stand down at the next...
What is the religion of our age?
Basically, all Christians have a shared agenda. We all believe in what Jesus has done for us and the teachings that we must follow as a consequence. Now every agenda has an underlying cause, a root. In this example the root is the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
But there can be other agendas in the Body of Christ, let's call them secondary agendas. You could have lived a hedonistic lifestyle of debauchery and self-fulfilment. You could have been a communist, a conservative, a green activist, a vegetarian, an animal liberationist, a feminist, a homosexual, even an atheist. You may have been a naturally spiritual person, or a rationalist, even a hardened sceptic. These are our roots. Even before God comes into our lives, we all still have a set of beliefs, even if it is just a self-belief.
Then God hits us with the gospel, opens up our minds and hearts and leads us into an incredible adventure as a New Creation. His intention, I believe, is to take the raw material and mould us into something new and wonderful. In some cases, the master potter uses some old clay, parts of our "old creation", as He re-constructs us from inside out. But we are not inanimate objects, lifeless jars of clay, but are allowed to retain that most precious of gifts, our free will. By ensuring that we continue to act as individuals within the great worldwide network of the Body of Christ, it also opens us up to a danger. It is the temptation of individualism, perhaps allowing too much of our past lives to season our present and future lives. In these cases the root could act as a catalyst for disruption. It's a possibility and sometimes we need others to tell us if this is so.
So, we need to honestly examine our root and the agenda that flows from it. The issue of Creation is a battleground because, perhaps more than any other current issue, it divides Christians.
Those who cling on to the ancient belief in a literal Six Day Creation are considered by the others as eccentric, ignorant, primitive, even an embarrassment. I witnessed a TV debate recently when a former Archbishop of Canterbury turned on a Creationist, a fellow Christian brother and stated that he felt he had more in common with the atheist scientist sitting opposite him in the studio. Some have even declared Creationists as a hindrance to the gospel. My answer to that is to ask, what gospel are they referring to? Is it the gospel of Jesus Christ or a variation of the same, but acceptable to thinking rational people?!
Frankly it is very difficult to be a Creationist in today's climate. To the secularists it is a joke and flies in the face of acceptable wisdom and the bedrock philosophy of our society. It is an affront to the theory of evolution, that holds together our educational, scientific and communication systems with the same certainty and influence as Catholicism held together medieval society. To other Christians, even those who have succumbed to a compromised version of Creationism, it is spiritual incorrectness, to be avoided wherever possible.
Now let's consider agendas. If we are Six Day Creationists then we are following the agenda of the first Church, of the Reformers, as well as Charles Spurgeon, John Wesley, Martyn Lloyd-Jones and many others. But more than all this, we are following the agenda of the One who was there at Creation; Jesus Christ.
If we trust Jesus on so many issues and rely on him unswervingly for our very salvation, why can't we trust him on this issue? Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. The same cannot be said for the world of science, which is never the same yesterday, today and forever, because scientists are forever changing their explanations of the World around them!
Unlike our Saviour, scientists were not present at Creation, they can only make assumptions. No theory is provable without observable evidence and so everything is guesswork. Science, as I said, is never the same, it is always moving, changing, re-evaluating ... evolving! Here's a quote from a famous scientist and philosopher, Karl Popper.
If we are uncritical we shall always find what we want: we shall look for and find confirmations and we shall look away from and not see whatever might be dangerous to our pet theories.
Do we trust our Christian worldview in the hands of these people? Is that what defines your agenda? Is your agenda primarily driven by your rationalism, inherited from the days of the Enlightenment, using the analytical methods devised by such as Aristotle? Are we Christians who are forever balancing the unchanging truths of the Bible against the evidence fed to us by science? If so, how do we make the call, where do we draw the line between revealed truth and contrary evidence? Science tells us that the sun cannot be stopped in its path, that virgins don't give birth, that men can't walk on water, that seas don't part, that water can't turn to wine, that lepers can't be healed, that men cannot rise from the dead, that God can't create the World, the Universe and everything in six days. Have you lined up your dominoes yet?
(This is an abridged extract from Steve's book How the Church Lost the Truth: And How it Can Find it Again)