Dangerous Christianity

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Nero’s Torches, Henryk Siemiradzki

On Saturday, it was great to have around 50 folk gathered for the Conference and Open Day at HTC. At worship, I spoke on Dangerous Christianity.

Firstly, following Jesus Christ is dangerous for disciples in every age as they come into conflict with the world (‘a system organised in opposition to God’ in the words of FF Bruce) and must daily take up their crosses (a commitment to Jesus as Lord that must transcend the fear of death).

But when people follow Jesus it’s also dangerous for the world itself. Disciples are engaged in a Kingdom Struggle (to borrow the language of Marx). Christianity threatens the power-brokers of the world, not through the usual weapons of war targetted at flesh and blood, but through the word and works of the Gospel targetted at the philosophies, attitudes and structures which hold human beings in captivity. And of course, behind these rulers and authorities lie spiritual forces of evil (Eph 6:12), and the evil one from whom we pray to be delivered.

The Kingdom of God in Jesus Christ threatens the Kingdom of this World, because Jesus has overcome this world system (John 16:33), and the One who is in us is greater than the one who is in the world (1 John 4:4). So, Reformed Christianity is, or ought to be, a Christianity relentlessly engaged with the world of God’s good creation, and as part of that, with the world system which opposes God. We need to renew our confidence in Christ, and our focus on the task of destroying arguments and opinions that are set up against the knowledge of God (2 Cor 10:4), as we seek the coming of the Kingdom of God.

To finish, I quoted Iain Provan of Regent College, Vancouver (from a Convocation Speech in 2013):

Be dangerous to those who worship money and material possessions – the idols of mammon. Lay bare the utopianism at the heart of modern economic ideology. Deride the universal expectation of more … be dangerous to all who, in the pursuit of [false] gods, damage other people, and damage God’s good creation. Be dangerous to the powerful who want to use and oppress the weak, and to the rich who want to use and oppress the poor.