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Reformers Bookcast: Secularism & The Church

There is a great bookshop in the South side of Sydney called The Reformers Bookshop.  They have a Bookcast which I was asked to appear on.   We discussed some general observations, Awakening, A.S.K and mainly Melvin Tinker’s That Hideous Strength. 

“We were joined by David Robertson for this month’s Reformers Bookcast, discussing Melvin Tinker’s “That Hideous Strength” and Gene Edward Veith Jr.’s “Post-Christian” on the topic of Secularism & The Church”

10 comments

  1. I am curious David. Could you possibly summarise the problems the mistakes made by the Western church regarding evangelism?

    1. Sure – I’m afraid that this can only be a hopeless generalisation and there are lots of exceptions, caveats and don’t knows. But in summary I would list the problems as follows:

      1) We don’t do it. It’s seen as a side show for a few – not in the DNA of the local church
      2) We use the methods of this world.
      3) We forget the centrality and necessity of the local church.
      4) We don’t take time to understand our own cultures.
      5) We dumb down.
      6) We compartmentalize.
      7) We don’t in reality believe in heaven, hell and the judgement to come.
      8) We have accepted the Americanisation of the Church.
      9) We are far too concerned about money.
      10 ) We are more about maintenance than mission.
      11) We are disunited and competitive.
      12) We have forgotten the Holy Spirit – in practice.
      13) Mission is theological – but our theology is all over the place.
      14) We are not prepared to pay the cost.
      15) Finally we don’t see enough of the beauty of Jesus – therefore we struggle to share his beauty.

      Will that do for now?!

      1. Nice try . Here’s the immutable , non – Supernatural truth :

        Civilisations fall because the less capable sector of the population regularly outbreeds the more capable sector.

        That is why West – hating Marxists applaud Third World immigration.

  2. An interesting interview!
    These ARE good time for the Gospel, The Lord has opened his hand graciously and given us this time. We need to engage with it and use it wisely.
    Australia is behind the west. When we came here 17 years ago, we reckoned it was about a decade.
    Beware the homesickness that will kick in at the 3 year mark. A friend from the UK (still here) warned me about this. I took it seriously, experienced it, and didn’t go back for 5 years. I have seen plenty of people come and go (and then come back etc). But stick it out and you’ll find an open door….

  3. It does seem that it is spiritual warfare. Cultural Marxism is a major player in it but there is the other end of the political landscape with a rise in right wing extremism with identity politics and virtue signalling all around. Dare I say that there was a slight amount of identity politics going on with you saying “as a Christian?” And in that light we all must guard ourselves lest we become pharisaic and give out something as bad religiously as extreme Islamism.

    Proclaiming Christ is a main point you have made in addition to deconstructing other “products” in the marketplace of ideas. And this in essence is not dissimilar to the apostle Paul in the marketplace in Athens surrounded by pagan religion and proclaiming the “unknown God”. So, how can this principle be applied in contemporary contexts? Well, it is true that God has placed eternity in every human heart. So I think you have hit on something with American optimism I think combining that with good old fashioned west of Scotland “don’t get above yourself”. And I agree with you about the Church repenting first. Perhaps Covid – 19 has been the wake up call and maybe the church in many cases is not in a position to be proclaiming lest it be done with a hypocritical spirit and failing to represent Christ. And church without Christ is an oxymoron. Then perhaps Christian worship and community will be attractive generally speaking – I’m not sure if I agree with you that to outsiders either are “incredibly attractive” at least no in it’s current form.

    So – Paul when he spoke had people follow him and opposing him and yes it’s not about being a club like a knitting club and I love what you say about “surfing the wave” culturally and shining and thriving in that whether people like us or not and it being the love of God that is our source of power in sound mind when some are saying we are mad, deluded, at best and dangerous at worse!

    And that is what meek means! I am weary if this being “nice”. Yes in some respects it’s “nice to be nice”. But not infrequently it can be disempowering to be “nice”. Meekness or gentleness is power under control. Jesus told disciples if they had a spare coat to sell it and buy a sword. It means being dangerous and being able to use a sword to good effect – but only using it if absolutely necessary!

    We are to be at peace with everyone wherever possible and in this “spiritual warfare” use weapons that we are gifted and protected with for our defence. Salvation, righteousness, faith, truth, Spirit (which is the world of God) and the readiness to speak of the good news of the gospel of Jesus. And not to bludgeon people with it but everything be governed by the love of God.

    Jesus stands at the door waiting to be welcomed in – he doesn’t force the door down :).

  4. 7) We don’t in reality believe in heaven, hell and the judgement to come.

    This was telling.
    I initially thought about writing the word ‘profound’ but I suspect this is lack of belief is the reality among most Christians and especially among the majority of the clergy, irrespective of what they say in public or preach from the pulpit.
    And it is probably this lack of belief / sincerity(?) that underpins the reason why so many people have fled/are ”fleeing” the church.
    For professional clergy like yourself, who have studied the theology and the history of their religion (one hopes so, at any rate) far more than any pew warmer, it must be like looking down the barrel of a gun called science knowing that someday the trigget will be pulled.
    In truth it already has, as we all know only too well, don’t we David?
    Maybe the Church has been able to dodge some of the bullets to date?
    However, it takes little effort to reload the chamber, does it not?

    On a more poiinted note as you don’t really believe in heaven, hell and judgment, I strongly suspect that , these days, many in the Church,(maybe even the majority) including yourself, I’ll venture, have serious doubts about the tale of the ‘Resurrection’.

    There is a very good reason the Clergy Project exists. Perhaps one day you may also be a part of their fold?

    It would also be a pleasent surprise if you allowed the comment through moderation for a change and offered a response if you disagree with this point of view?

    1. Poor Ark – you really don’t grasp or understand what is being said. If it were not for the church modern science would not exist. We are not scared of science – the opposite. We regard the book of nature and the book of revelation as going hand in hand. And I do really believe in heaven, hell and judgement. It would be foolish of me to accept what I have to and not believe it. One day you will come to believe in them too – I just hope it is before too late.

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