Friday, 6 January 2012

Shaking Baradur

But As For Me and My House . . .

The human race is troubled, deeply so.  Existence is not what it should be.  Things are not right.  They must be put to right.  Who or what will do it?  Whilst there may be the occasional Pollyanna who believes in relentless universal goodness, the overwhelming majority of human beings think that things could (and should) be better. Since this is true of most nations and human cultures, we are faced with a dilemma: either we descend into bitterness, or we find a saviour in which we can place our faith and hope that things will improve and eventually be put to rights. 

The quest for, and hope in, a saviour of some kind is pretty much universal. Our age is no exception.
  The ancient Greeks used to apply the title "Soter" or Saviour to gods, titans, and heroes.  It was fairly common.  When Augustus assumed the imperial mantle in Rome amongst his many titles inevitably came "Augustus--Saviour" first declared concerning the Roman Emperor in the hellenised Eastern provinces.  Augustus accepted the title.

Our age is comprehensively secular in nature.  No god exists to be recognized or venerated, we are told.  But a saviour-doctrine surely does.  If one stands back from the public discourse during elections in the West virtually all political parties contend for voter support by promising that they will be best at running the government or ruling so as to save the country and put things to right.  In our secularised world, the government is Soter--something foreshadowed by Augustus and Rome centuries ago.  Things have not changed much. 

Against all this stands the testimony of God Himself.  Yes, the world is deeply troubled and imperfect.  But the cause is not a yet-to-be-completed evolutionary process.  Nor is it chaos. Nor warring amongst the gods.  Nor a lack of philosopher kings.  The cause of trouble is human evil, sin, in every human being.  The cause of all that is wrong and imperfect is our rebellion against God.  The wages of our sin is death. But God has put forth One whose name means (in Hebrew), Saviour.  It is the ultimate Soter doctrine.  "You shall call his Name Jesus for He will save His people from their sins." (Matt. 1:21)

Herein lies the reason why the Christian Gospel is so offensive to the West.  It confronts and strikes at the heart of our culture's pride and arrogance.  The West's Soter doctrine and the Christian faith will never agree, never find common cause.  They remain diametrically opposed; the warfare will not cease until one is triumphant and the other broken and defeated. 

The Christian Gospel also has its Soter doctrine.  Once again, it is emphatic, declarative, fixed, and certain.  The ambassadors of the Lord Christ declared: "There is salvation in no-one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:12)  The Scriptures declare that Christ alone is the Saviour; no other name has been put forward by God in all heaven and earth to deliver us.  Our culture utterly rejects this.  It asserts that government will be our saviour.  Between these two there can be no final agreement, no working compromise, no ultimate common cause. 

When Christians stand and declare, using the words of the Creed, "I believe in Jesus . . . " they are not only uttering the words of Scripture, they are declaring that they believe in God.  They side with Him and His truth and His provision of the only true Saviour.  But by this very act they are engaged in subversion.  By their declaration the very foundations of Baradur are shaken. 

"But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."  We utterly reject the West's false saviour. We will neither acknowledge it, nor bow down to serve it. 

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