quod pro nobis traditum est

Saturday, March 19, 2011

New gospels

In recent years, I have been hearing a plethora of new gospels. This may reveal how I have been out of touch in prior years or it may reveal changes taking place. These trends in theological emphasis come and go. I will try to comment on them from time to time when they come to mind.

For example, we know the failure of "positive thinking" on theology for its denial of sin. This is just simply a denial of life how it is. On the other hand one new gospel I am hearing sounds like the victory of sin and the helpless Christ. This may be an over-reaction to the positive thinking trend, a parallel thought stream within the Church to the New Atheism, or it may be a new gospel.

Simply put, it puts salvation by Christ solely in the next life as a distant promise. The cross and the sacraments are of no real effect in this life. We are under the power of sin and we should just get used to it. One can only imagine how much of Scripture has to be re-interpreted or re-defined or left out so that sin can have its say. And then we have a helpless God. Is He just a mere architect watching from a distance? Christ is powerless to help us in this life, though He may be of help in the next.

This particular new gospel came to mind as I read the Apostle's words to the Thessalonians,"For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness." The Apostle knows he is talking to sinners and he still says this. He is not waiting for a perfect holiness that will come only in the next life. He seems to have confidence that when God calls us to something He can will and work that in us. Holiness is not a denial of sin, it is a divine call toward God in Christ. This means that Christ can and does gives us what we will need to hear and follow the call to holiness, not only in the life to come. We received this call in Holy Baptism and now we are called to the same in the blessed Eucharist. Baptism does not only remind us of our sinfulness and the Eucharist is not only a foretaste of the feast to come.

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