Posted by: Dan | September 28, 2007

On Proclamation (the word made flesh)

As actually lived, a religion may be pictured as a single gigantic proposition. It is a true proposition to the extent that its objectivities are interiorized and exercised by groups and individuals in such a way as to conform them in some measure in the various dimensions of their existence to the ultimate reality and goodness that lies at the heart of things. It is a false proposition to the extent that this does not happen.
~ George Lindbeck, The Nature of Doctrine, 51.

If Lindbeck's assertion is correct (and it very well might be), then the conclusion that we are compelled to draw is that very few of those around us could be accused of genuinely rejecting Christianity. By and large, those around us have encountered a purely propositional form of Christianity, a form that has hardly (if at all) been “interiorized and exercised” in such a way that conformity to “ultimate reality and goodness” has resulted. Therefore, it is more often the case that what those around us reject is Christianity exhibited as a false proposition. Indeed, despite our reputation as the “Christian” or “post-Christian” West, I suspect that most of our neighbours have never even heard the truth of the gospel proclaimed truly. In a sense, we are living in a society that is still waiting for the good news, because it is still waiting for coming of the “Word made flesh” — only this time it is not waiting for the advent of Christ, it is waiting for the embodiment of the gospel by the Church.

Therefore, instead of looking on our society and seeing a mass of people who have rejected Christianity, I look upon our society and see a mass of people who have never encountered Christianity. The fault is not their sinfulness, but ours. It is not that they have failed to accept the good news of Jesus Christ, it is that we have failed to proclaim it.

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