|“If something is in order, it is better.” |
This is an assumption you will have difficulty parting ways with. It is drilled into us to believe wholeheartedly that chronological order is “more true.”
An example plays out like this: St. John has Jesus cleansing the temple early in his public life, and the synoptic writers have him cleansing it late. The best the last two centuries of Christianity can do with this “perceived inconsistency” is to hem, hah, fight, and muster until we have drawn up battle lines. One side insists that Jesus cleansed the temple twice. The other that the Bible is riddled with errors yet still filled with great metaphorical truths.
Behold, and bow to your lord and savior Chronos! It appears impossible for the modern mind to even consider the option that the “inconsistency” only exists in our heads because of the assumption that chronological order is a primary truth.
It’s still taught in dusty corners that the ancients actually didn’t give a hoot about historical timing when recounting events for posterity. What we would assert to be “lying” they would say is “highlighting the important parts.” If you find yourself naturally disagreeing with “their” take, that is because this assumption that “in chronological order” means “more true” is hard to get away from.
The resulting worldview lives its modern life assuming that anything less than perfectly chronological is therefore “less than true.” After long reflection, I must say that this seems to me to reflect a perilous abandonment of the holy fear of God.Long before the modern “we swear we’re not religious!” “deists” started moralizing so loudly that the rest of the world should put great hope in the utopian capacity of their officially “godless” thinking, nations were trying not to fall, people were trying not to die, and God (or the gods) seemed like the evident, obvious answer.“
But now, things have changed.” That’s the “new” pitch.
In this, “modernism” is not a thesis, but an antithesis. It is not revelation, but an attempt at ultimate alpha privation. It does not add. It takes away, and then has the audacity to call itself a progressive “evolution.”Christianity does not need to reject this. Modernism postures itself as the rejection of Christianity (i.e. the non-necessity of specifics regarding your answer to the question, “Who, after all, is Jesus?”). Christianity need only remember our moorings, and not be dissuaded by all the bluster and hocus pocus. We need only bide our time, watching and expecting the modern experiment to eat itself to death.“But now, things have changed,” promises the freedom of new hope, but in the end it is the birth of endless equivocation, leading only to deeper and deeper toilet bowls of skeptical doubt, rage and despair. “In order” is a matter of perspective, and this can be of great value. But “more true” means “it never really was true to begin with,” and that will not do you any good in the long run.
Reliable truth is never in part, but in whole. Before long, every attempt to become “more true” with partial truths only descends into a hopelessly half-true hall of mirrors in which all your efforts are also the source of your greatest fears, regrets and doubts.
I do not deny alpha privation. I only deny its superiority to revelation. Doubt comes by questioning. Certainty comes by hearing.
Hear about Jesus more.
He is risen. Alleluia to it.
Till angel cry and trumpet sound,
(A deep dive into Getting Things Done with a smattering of Everbook)
The third of four sessions delivered to the students contemplating seminary education at Christ Academy on the campus of Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, IN, during the summer of 2019.
Taking a break from dogmatic and exegetical theology, we spend on hour on the “practical,” digging into the often-overlooked first-article//fourth/seventh-commandments “natural” law of time, information and personal self-management. “For if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church?” (1 Tim 3:5.)