Theologians and philosophers alike have noted that our liberal western education system (that has dominated educational thinking since WW2) aims to produce independence in young people so they will define themselves independently of others, autonomously deal with themselves and assume authority over themselves. In short, the education we have built, supported and put our children into is intrinsically encouraging them not to sit under authority, but to assume authority.
The 19th Century philosopher John Stuart Mill is often labelled as the father of this thinking. He believed that power is only rightly exercised over someone to prevent harm to others and the individual is sovereign over their own body and mind.
The fruit of all this is two things:
1. the moral progressive chant that “if it’s not hurting anyone it’s OK”; and
2. the death of God.
It ought not be surprising to us that the authority of the Bible is so severely challenged and even dismissed out of hand in this age. We have taught our world that the individual is authority and no other authority is necessary or warranted. In the world, God is dead.
So, when the Bible speaks of homosexuality as a distortion of human sexuality, people will say
“You Christians should stop messing with other people’s lives. Their behaviour is not hurting you so don’t make a fuss!
And, when the Bible speaks of life as sacred and therefore abortion as a tragic mistake, people will say and chant, “Get your rosaries off my ovaries” and “No woman can call herself free if she does not control her own body”.
Real people, with real feelings and real emotions and real problems and real families make these statements so we ought not demonise or dismiss them. What we ought to do is speak to them gently and kindly of the good life that flows from the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
For to me, the resurrection is the proclamation that Jesus exists and we matter. If there is a God then of course there is a higher authority and it goes without saying that we ought to conform to his mind for he has made us and our world. he is the author of life and nature and we ought to conform to his will as he knows what is best, being the source of our life, and our creator.
And this brings us to the start of this newsletter series. For centuries, Christians have believed there is an authority over us and that this authority reveals himself and his love for us in the Bible – the inerrant, inspired Word of God. Christians have believed that what the Bible teaches, God teaches and that naturally this ought to have absolute authority over all of God’s creation…. including…. us.
But these beliefs are being challenged. The authority of the Bible is at the heart of fractures in the Anglican Church and at the heart of your eternal destiny. If we don’t get this right, we lose everything.