Friday, March 31, 2006

Modern Gnosticism

In response to my last post some have asked that I flesh out the differences between Reformed and evangelical spirituality.

As I mentioned, since its inception (which occurred, I would argue, as a result of the Great Awakening in the eighteenth-century) modern evangelicalism has been suspicious of tradition, authority, and institutional religion. More preferable, it is argued, is a Christianity that is simple and above all, spiritual.

This dualism that many posit between institutional and spiritual Christianity is a perfect example both of evangelical piety and modern-day Gnosticism.

(Gnosticism, for those unfamiliar with the term, is the view that the material and physical are inherently inferior to that which is immaterial and spiritual.)

The problems with this ever-present position are legion (and it may take a handful of posts to address them all), but suffice it to say for now that there is one crucial and decisive death-blow that can be dealt to modern evangelical Gnosticism, one that should settle the matter once and for all:

The resurrection of Christ.

Since Jesus rose again bodily, and since his resurrection is the dawn of a new day in God's economy, it follows that the age to come will not be a "realm of pure spirit" in which the soul will be freed from the "prison house" of the body. God's original, material creation was "good," and his re-creation is better (Gen. 1:31; I Cor. 15:40-45).

So if it's an escape from the body that you desire, the new heaven and new earth is not the place to look for it.

What does all this have to do with Christian living? Everything. Stick around, you'll see....