Doing Theology Backwards ~ BitterSweetLife

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Doing Theology Backwards

Self-centered systems of spirituality are a dime a dozen these days, even among practicing Christians. After all, everyone knows that spiritual health has everything to do with self-esteem. And with self-actualization and being honest with yourself and loving yourself. Not to mention living from your heart and liberating yourself from false self-perceptions.

If Charles Spurgeon was alive today, he would have looked at the current self-help-as-saving-faith trend with suspicion. As Spurgeon noted:

Do you not know…what God’s estimate of the gospel is? Do you not know that it has been the chief object of his thoughts and acts from all eternity? He looks on it as the grandest of his works.

God loves the gospel because it points up his glory in an amazing coalescence of human joy and satisfaction and divine justice and love. The death and resurrection of Jesus brings us untold happiness and reveals God as a concerned Creator, exacting Judge, and miraculous Redeemer. Thus, the human salvage operation is the centerpiece of God’s work on earth.

Taking a mythic cue from Tolkien, we could say that what the One Ring is to Sauron, in a context of evil, the Gospel is to God, in a context of brilliant good.

It follows that beginning with the gospel, which is radically Christ-centered, and moving to a human-centered spirituality, makes you a living, breathing, oxymoron at the very least.

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Will Robison said...

And, to further your analogy, those who come in contact with this one ring will all eventually succumb to its magic.

Ariel said...

Ka-ching. Well put, Will.


Culture. Photos. Life's nagging questions. - BitterSweetLife