- The Daily Beast: “Andrew Sullivan: Christianity in Crisis”
A British-born writer and prominent blogger, whose views tend to straddle a curious fence between conservative and liberal, is featured in Newsweek’s cover story “Forget the Church, Follow Jesus” (see cover, below) diagnosing the crisis in the Christian church. Andrew Sullivan, who lives with his “husband” in Massachusetts, combines truth and error and leaves Jesus Christ resembling Buddha more than the Christ of the Scriptures.
By citing the reprehensible actions of many who have misused and misinterpreted the Bible throughout history to gain power and persecute others, Sullivan offers the reactionary solution that Christians should be apolitical. He says “the issues that Christianity obsesses over today” are absent from “the original New Testament.” Indeed, he says those issues would “baffle Jesus of Nazareth.” Sullivan, however, considers the “original New Testament” to be only the quotations Thomas Jefferson selected for his personal collection of Christ’s sayings. Sullivan claims the rest of the New Testament was a compilation of fallible recollections and misinterpretations recorded by people who didn’t understand anything Jesus had taught them in the first place.
Does Sullivan include the Old Testament in his “pro-Jesus” anti-biblical assertions? Well, he definitely sets aside biblical young-earth creationism as being among those doctrines that would “baffle” Jesus. He writes, “Still others insist that the earth is merely 6,000 years old—something we now know by the light of reason and science is simply untrue.” As we’ve already mentioned in today’s column, observational science has done no such thing. And as we’ve also already discussed today, Jesus’ own words—which Sullivan claims to revere—confirm the Creation and the Flood described in Genesis 1–11.
Sullivan does acknowledge that many have turned from “organized Christianity” to “embrace materialistic self-help” or atheism, seeing those choices as inadequate and destructive. And he recognizes “The thirst for God is still there. How could it not be, when the profoundest human questions—Why does the universe exist rather than nothing? How did humanity come to be on this remote blue speck of a planet? What happens to us after death?—remain as pressing and mysterious as they’ve always been?” But what does Sullivan suggest to satisfy our thirst for God? He exhorts Christians to follow the example of Christ and St. Francis of Assisi by living lives of selfless surrender, to gain a “vision of holiness” and to “truly transcend our world and be with God.” Sullivan tells his readers, “The cross itself was not the point.”
Sullivan is the one who misses the point. He misses the point of Christ’s death on the Cross because he rejects the overwhelming majority of the inspired Word of God. The need for Christ’s sacrificial death on the Cross is rooted in the corruption of man as recorded in Genesis 3. Christ died for man’s sin, but Sullivan’s Christ apparently never heard of guilt or judgment. Jesus Christ—whose example we are indeed to follow—told us He came to seek and to save the lost, to give His life a ransom for many. The concept of being lost, the fact that humanity needs to be ransomed, is explained in the fall of Adam, the rebellion of the first man that brought death into the world.
Sullivan denies the authority of the Bible even as he offers his own diagnosis of the church’s problems.
Sullivan denies the authority of the Bible even as he offers his own diagnosis of the church’s problems. Sullivan himself is a practicing homosexual involved in a same-sex “marriage,” so it is not surprising that he finds much of the Bible offensive. Jesus Himself explained in John 3:19 that men love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil. Sullivan mixes truth and error in many ways, such as suggesting the followers of Christ misunderstood His teachings—which they at times did initially—and ignores the promise of Christ in John 16 that the Holy Spirit would guide the Gospel writers to understand all truth correctly.
While there is much that is wrong in the church today, the cure is not to reject the foundational truths of the Word of God and just distill some out-of-context words of Christ into a personally appealing but powerless message. Christians who read Sullivan’s popular blog need to be very careful not to drink in the political rhetoric that might appeal to them and ignorantly imbibe the dangerous errors souring the mix.
- News to Note, February 25, 2012
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