How simple should Christianity be?

That is the question asked by this post over at "Glory to God for all things" - and one that I have asked before.

There is in parts of the catholic Church, especially in American Protestantism I think, an impulse that wants to simplify everything, to reduce everything to its most basic elements - including our worship, our theology, our preaching and so on. That which is complex or difficult is labelled "irrelevant" and that which is simple or easy is "accessible" and no other justification is then even needed to jetison the complex in favor of the simple. The assumption seems to be that if it doesn't reach the broadest possible audience it therefore must not be true - or not the truth that we want, anyway. It seems to me that this is one reason why proposed changes in the life of the church can be made - even significant ones - without particularly deep or rigorous theological reflection or forethought.

People like simple and easy, therefore they might actually grab hold if that is what we have to offer.

But the more I think about this - the more I think that real life is not simple and real life is not easy. And a grown-up faith that takes real life seriously must not be either. Of course, the complex is difficult to reduce to a slogan or a formula in any sort of useful way. Try reducing the wonderful sacramental theology of the classical tradition to 4 Spiritual Laws. Thinking about it this way has made "presenting the gospel" (in the classical evangelical sense) in my preaching a bit more difficult, because, when I've presented the basics, I always feel that I am only scratching the surface and need to say alot more. I talk about relationship with Jesus, but feel the need to go back and say quite abit more about covenant since it is none other than a covenant relationship that we are invited to, and so on.

Anyways, that was a definite ramble - the original post I linke to is very good. You should read it.



Blogger KJC402 said...

It is amazing that people still want "Christianity and water" after the concept was bore-out by CS Lewis over 60 years ago.

12:53 PM, September 01, 2009  

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