Wednesday, October 8, 2008

spinning lewis

We've said it again and again in these pages: the secret message of Jesus isn't primarily about "heaven after you die". It doesn't give us an exit ramp or escape hatch from this world; rather, it thrusts us back into the here and now so we can be part of God's dream for planet Earth coming true.
McLaren, The Secret Message of Jesus, p. 183

It rather honks me off that in the chapter in which he writes that sentence, he quotes C.S. Lewis rather a lot, as if Lewis was on his side in this, as if Lewis is some kind of 'posthumous Friend of Emergent' (dare I say, an 'emergent zombie'? Ht the movie "An American Carol" and ACLU zombies). Read these, please, and see if you think that Lewis thought that ideas of Heaven (notice I capitalize that name, and notice that McLaren doesn't) was some kind of 'escape hatch'.

Hope is one of the Theological virtues. This means that a continual looking forward to the eternal world is not (as some modern people think) a form of escapism or wishful thinking, but one of the things a Christian is meant to do. It does not mean we are to leave the present world as it is. If you read history you will find that Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next. The Apostles themselves, who set on foot the conversion of the Roman Empire, the great men who built up the Middle Ages, the English Evangelicals who abolished the Slave Trade, all left their mark on Earth, precisely because their minds were occupied with Heaven. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this. Aim at Heaven and you will get earth 'thrown in': aim at earth and you will get neither.
Lewis, Mere Christianity, p. 134

'...If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probably explanation is that I was made for the other world. If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it, that does not prove that the universe is a fraud. Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing...I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find till after death; I must never let it get snowed under or turned aside; I must make it the main object of life to press on to that country and to help others to do the same.'
Lewis, Mere Christianity, pp. 136-137

The doctrine of the Second Coming teaches us that we do not and cannot know when the world drama will end. The curtain may be rung down at any moment: say, before you have finished reading this paragraph...

The doctrine of the Second Coming, then, is not to be rejected because it conflicts with our favorite modern mythology. It is, for that very reason, to be the more valued and made more frequently the subject of meditation. It is the medicine our condition especially needs.
Lewis, The World's Last Night, pp. 105, 106

Lewis does not seem to at all denigrate the hope of the 'other world' as McLaren seems to do. Lewis even equates those who have a healthy hope for life after death with those who do the most good here on earth, as opposed to emergents who seem at best embarrassed by the afterlife and either cite some kind of 'Platonic dualism' or try to shift focus away from it as quickly as they can.

But emergents can't get away with it. They have aimed for earth instead of Heaven, and so shall have neither. They shall, no doubt with the best on intentions (such as the ones that pave the way to hell), redefine and deconstruct the Bible to fit their own presuppositions (all while condemning the presuppositionalism of others), embrace other religions as being other ways to God (all while condemning those in their own religion who know the Bible teaches otherwise), and support politics that legislate for their favorite pet ideas, like global warming and the redistribution of wealth (all while ridiculing those who focus on real moral issues, like the murder of the unborn and the legalizing of sexual immoralities).

And so, they will pollute earth, because they will not have people think of Heaven.

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