Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Quotes Round 5

This should be a fun one. The immediate context is a question about what kind of stupid stuff the interviewee has done in his or her life.
That's between me and God. . . . It doesn't excuse my mistakes, but I'm holding out for Grace. I'm holding out that Jesus took my sins onto the Cross, because I know who I am, and I hope I don't have to depend on my own religiosity. . . .The point of the death of Christ is that Christ took on the sins of the world, so that what we put out did not come back to us, and that our sinful nature does not reap the obvious death. . . . It's not our own good works that get us through the gates of Heaven. . . .

Look, the secular response to the Christ story always goes like this: He was a great prophet, obviously a very interesting guy, had a lot to say along the lines of other great prophets, be they Elijah, Muhammad, Buddha, or Confucius. But actually Christ doesn't allow you that. He doesn't let you off that hook. Christ says, No. I'm not saying I'm a teacher, don't call me teacher. I'm not saying I'm a prophet. I'm saying: 'I'm the Messiah.' I'm saying: 'I am God incarnate.' . . . So what you're left with is either Christ was who He said He was—the Messiah—or a complete nutcase. . . . The idea that the entire course of civilization for over half of the globe could have its fate changed and turned upside-down by a nutcase, for me that's farfetched.


Anonymous said...


joy mccarnan | said...

but whoever said it was a lewis reader.

Ben said...

Bono it is. Anonymous, I respect your privacy, but if you're afraid someone might think you're a U2 fan, you can always just say you read the World Magazine article where the quote came from.

I have no idea where this man stands before God. I've read what people say about him, so it was interesting to read for the first time what he says about his own faith. I will say that I've heard preachers offer less accurate explanations of the gospel, for whatever that's worth.

What suggests the Lewis influence, Joy? The way he talks about grace and his own sin or the reasoning in the second paragraph? Somehow I'm just having a hard time picturing Bono in a Lazyboy reading Mere Christianity.

Michael C said...

C.S. Lewis (Mere Christianity):
I am trying to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: "I am ready to accept Jesus as the great moral teacher, but I don't accept His claim to be God." That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic - on a level with the man who says he is a boiled egg - or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.

Will Hatfield said...

Yeah, I read the World article. I'm not a Bono fan :)
I just couldn't figure out your comment system.

Will Hatfield said...

I found it rather fascinating too, esp. in light of what's been said about him recently. Like that article in SharperIron about Rick Warren. Just interesting.

Keith said...

Why would anyone be afraid that someone might think them a U2 fan?

Ben said...


The Blogspot comment system does leave a lot to be desired, I'll concur.

I missed the SI discussion of Warren and Bono. Should I wade through it? It does seem to me that there is more gospel in this statement from Bono than there is in PDL, ironically enough.


Many thoughtful Christians believe that the genre of rock music—regardless of the lyrics—is unacceptable in the life of a believer. Many other Christians like groups like U2, but don't like to admit it because they don't want those who believe all rock is wrong to think less of their spirituality.

I was just using this scenario to poke a little fun at the then-anonymous Will Hatfield.

Unk said...

A quotation from Bono? I'm separating.

Keith said...

"Many thoughtful Christians believe that the genre of rock music—regardless of the lyrics—is unacceptable in the life of a believer."

I know there are many Christians who believe this way -- but many THOUGHTFUL Christians?

"Many other Christians like groups like U2, but don't like to admit it because they don't want those who believe all rock is wrong to think less of their spirituality."

I think that is a great description of much of the fundamentalist movement -- many Christians not admitting to their true beliefs and tastes because of the fear of men.

Ben said...

Many are thoughtful. Many are not.

The fear of men is certainly characteristic of humanity. Most fundamentalists are humans, so perhaps we should not be surprised that the temptation is strong within fundamentalism. Whether it is stronger among fundamentalists or not is an interesting question.

Many fundamentalists would say that Henry, Ockega, Carnell, and Packer were infected by it. Perhaps those men would have returned the favor.

Keith said...

It is difficult for me to imagine a thoughtful argument that could establish an entire genre of music as unacceptable for all believers. Especially so unacceptable as to rule out open discussion.

I am not arguing that every genre of music should be used in church or that every genre of music is of equal value or quality.

Perhaps a food analogy might clarify my point:

Fast Food is not of equal value or quality to a well prepared, nutritionally balanced, home cooked meal. And, a diet consisting exclusively of Fast Food would not be wise. Nevertheless, an occassional stop at the drive through is not harmful for most people.

Some folks may need to (health reasons) or choose to (taste preference) abstain from Fast Food altogether. However, it would seem impossible to develop a thoughtful argument establishing the the entire genre of Fast Food is always unacceptable for all.

It would seem to me that the genre rock of music is analagous to the genre of Fast Food.

What do you think?

To the next point. . .

I concede that the fear of man is a characteristic of fallen humanity. And, I would not attempt to establish that the men you named were/are free of it.

Nevertheless, my point was that a common characteristic of fundamentalist churches is that many of the congregants don't privately hold the publicly proclaimed standards of their congregation. AND that many of these same congregants are afraid to reveal their personal standards.

I'm sure that many charges could be properly made against Okenga, Henry, etc. However, fearfull concealment of their personal convictions doesn't seem like one.

I think George Marsden once wrote that Jerry Falwell defined a fundamentalist as "an evangelical who is angry about something." I don't completely disagree with that definition -- it's useful as far as it goes, and it does describe some fundamentalist leaders and pastors.

However, I think many fundamentalist congregants aren't so much angry as they are fearful.


Ben said...

Re: Fast Food

I don't abstain from it entirely, but might I not be wiser and healthier if I did?

I do not know whether concealing personal convictions was characteristic of the men in question or not. My intended meaning, however, is that the fear of man accusation commonly levied against them is that they compromised principle in order to gain a hearing with modernists. That may or may not have been a fear of man issue. It may also have been a pragmatic (albeit wholly ineffective) strategy to advance the gospel. But it is, nevertheless, the accusation.

Keith said...

I don't think completely abstaining from fast food would make you healthier or wiser.

I think overindulgence in fast food is needlessly detrimental to health and therefore unwise. However, I don't think an occassional Big Mac will hurt an otherwise healthy person.

I'm not sure whether your fast food question is rhetorical irony or serious (one of the weaknesses of digital dialogue is its weakness in communicating tone). Nevertheless, I do think your question reveals another common characteristic of fundamentalists. In reference to just about anything, they tend to believe, "If less is good then none is best."

The problem with this belief is that it is unbiblical. The Bible doesn't say, "Don't touch wine, instead let the Spirit touch you." It says, "Be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess, but be filled with the Spirit." The Bible doesn't teach that since sex with your one spouse is good, no sex at all is better. Etc.

I understand that fundamentalists accuse Okenga and friends of compromising fundamentalist principles. Furthermore, it is objectively true that these men did compromise fundamentalist principles (whether the fundamentalist's principles were/are sound is a discussion for another day).

However, I don't think these men compromised or secretively hid THEIR OWN principles.

My comment about fundamentalist congregants is that many HIDE THEIR OWN principles from the very people who are supposed to be their closest fellowship.

Thanks for the discussion so far. I appreciate the tone and spirit. I hope that my tone and spirit has not been offensive. It is not intended to be.