Thursday, 7 January 2010

Quote of the day: Christian materialism

Israel in the land is meant to be a taste of what God intends for the whole of his creation.
Once more we are reminded of God’s concern for the whole of life as he has made it. Brueggemann rightly states: “This concern for a material, physical promise gives credibility to Christianity as a religion of materialism. When Christianity went spiritual and denied its proper focus on land it rightly earned the strictures of Marxism.”[*] [**]
[*] Brueggemann, Land, 191.
[**]Bartholomew, C. G., & Goheen, M. W. (2004). The drama of Scripture: Finding our place in the biblical story (83). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.


Ed Gentry said...

Much evangelical Christianity is profoundly gnostic. We miss, as you helpful point out the fact that redemption is as big as creation.

Phil Sumpter said...

Hi Ed,

I'm still haunted by a conversation I had with a missionary to Papua New Guinea when I was a teen. The woman was wonderful, but when I kept on pushing her about the environmental implications of certain missionary strategies, she eventually said, "Phil, one day it's all going to burn anyway."

I still do struggle though with the relationship between God's final eschatological act and our present responsibility. Chris Wright implies this in his book Old Testament Ethics when he says: "This gloriously earthly biblical hope adds an important dimension to our ecological ethics. It is not just a matter of looking back to creation, but of looking forward to the new creation. ... There is a goal in sight. Granted, it lies only in the power of God ultimately to achieve it; but, as is the case with other aspects of biblical eschatology, what we hope for from God affects how wer are to live now and what our objectives should be." He does unpack this a bit more (talking of "building bridgeheads of the kingdom" and "erecting signposts"), but I still have a few mental blocks I need work on.

Timothy Wheatly said...

Some argue that Christianity is a religion which is purely spiritual. They even go so far as to argue that heaven is purely spiritual. For a brief moment, I will concentrate on the physical possibilities of heaven.

The idea that heaven is purely spiritual presupposes that there cannot be any physical presence in heaven. Nonetheless, we know of at least one physical presence in the Christian idea of heaven. Jesus' body was resurrected and ascended into heaven. Therefore, Jesus' body was resurrected into heaven and there is at least one physical thing in heaven. Secondly, we have in Revelation the idea that the New Jerusalem is coming out of heaven. The New Jerusalem is another physical reality.
In conclusion, many Christians ought to rethink their idea of a purely spiritual heaven.

For more information on what heaven will be like, visit the site, and look in the search engine for Randy Alcorn's, "50 Days Of Heaven."