Saturday, December 27, 2008

Matthew Parris: "It confounds my ideological beliefs, stubbornly refuses to fit my world view, and has embarrassed my growing belief that there is no God" but...

Matthew Parris is always fascinating to read on any subject - all the more when he strays near to Christianity:
"It confounds my ideological beliefs, stubbornly refuses to fit my world view, and has embarrassed my growing belief that there is no God. Now a confirmed atheist, I've become convinced of the enormous contribution that Christian evangelism makes in Africa....
Christians black and white, working in Africa, do heal the sick, do teach people to read and write; and only the severest kind of secularist could see a mission hospital or school and say the world would be better without it. I would allow that if faith was needed to motivate missionaries to help, then, fine: but what counted was the help, not the faith. But this doesn't fit the facts. Faith does more than support the missionary...
Christianity, post-Reformation and post-Luther, with its teaching of a direct, personal, two-way link between the individual and God, unmediated by the collective, and unsubordinate to any other human being, smashes straight through the philosphical/spiritual framework I've just described. It offers something to hold on to to those anxious to cast off a crushing tribal groupthink. That is why and how it liberates... Removing Christian evangelism from the African equation may leave the continent at the mercy of a malign fusion of Nike, the witch doctor, the mobile phone and the machete." -- Matthew Parris in The Times
Question is, would anyone say the same about what Christian Unions do on campus or about our church?
"In Africa Christianity changes people’s hearts. It brings a spiritual transformation. The rebirth is real. The change is good…"
ht: Pete Dray and Michael Ots.

UPDATE: Glen Scrivener adds some insightful perspective: Parris’s fearless individualism based on unmediated access to God isn’t the Christian gospel. What’s it missing? Well, notably - the Mediator and the community - Christ and His church.