Some interesting evidence for an early canon; The Muratorian Fragment and the Diatessaron.
God is not progressive but he tells a story,
Not traditional but he has a history,
Not conservative but desires holiness,
Not liberal but offers us freedom.
"Rome, the mistress of state-craft, and beyond all other nations in the politic employment of religion, added without stint or scruple to her list of gods and goddesses, and consolidated her military by a skilful medley of all the religions of the world. Thus it continued while the worship of Deity was but a conjecture or a contrivance; but when the rising of the Sun of Righteousness had reality to the subjective forms of faith, had actual and solid truth the common inheritance of men then the religion of Christ became, unlike new creeds an object of jealousy and of cruel persecution because it would not consent to become partner in this heterogeneous device and planted upon truth and not in the quicksand of opinion...
...should the Christian faith ever become but one among many co-equal pensioners of a government, it will be a proof that subjective religion has again lost its God given hold upon objective reality; or when under the thin shelter of its name, a multitude of discordant schemes shall have been placed upon a footing of essential parity, and shall together receive the bounty of the legislature, this will prove that we are once more in a transition-state - that we are travelling back again from the region to which the Gospel brought us towards that in which it found us." - The state in its relations with the church, Volume 1 - William Ewart Gladstone, 1841
Lesslie Newbigin quotes W.E. Gladstone in Foolishness to the greeks. He then goes on to say: "What Gladstone foretold is essentially what has been happening during the 140 years since he wrote those words. The result is not, as we once imagined, a secular society, it is a pagan society; and its paganism, having been born out of the rejection of Christianity, is far more resistant to the gospel than the pre-Christian paganism with which cross cultural missions have been familiar. Here, surely, is the most challenging missionary frontier of our time."
"The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ" - Revelation 11:15 inscribed on the High Alter at Westminster Abbey, above where the King or Queen of the United Kingdom is coronated.
Democracy has tried to make power accountable by giving power to the people; but in practice it has left everyone and no one in charge, with most people in government being blamed for situations they cannot change, and "the people" left helpless at the mercy of bureaucracy. We have become servants of a system, which seemingly must be preserved at all costs, and has become as divine as the gods of money and of sex and of power, trusting it to save us and the source of life, liberty and happiness.
I think it would be unwise to wish to live under any other sort of human political system - as Winston Churchill famously said, "Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time." - but we should not expect, as many people now seem to expect, it to perform a role it can never fill, namely that of Lord and Saviour.
Part of the hope that Christianity can offer the late modern world is an alternative to the extremes of modern certainty and postmodern relativism, what N.T. Wright calls going through postmodernism and out the other side to "Post post modernism". Part this involves presenting modernism with some of the challenges that come from academics themselves. One of the most important is Gödel's Incompleteness Theorems, that helps show that even mathematics itself has to be taken by faith as self evident in order to be used as a tool for knowledge.
Mark Colyvan (University of Sydney) does a good job at explaining the theorem and starts to apply to human thinking and belief systems.
"Your (belief) system is consistent. How plausible is that? Not at all!"
Towards the end he offers some implications that extend beyond mathematics to all human thinking and belief in general, and while he doesn't quite say it, shows that all human thinking, including mathematics and science requires "faith" or "trust". Not blind faith, but reasoned and evidence based faith.
The late Leslie Newbigin was a missionary in India, and this perspective upon returning to the UK informed his teaching, making it both unique and something desperately needed in Christianity trying to understand the late modern western world. Along with this rare video interview, there are also some excellent audio sermons available below. Also be sure to check out Lesslie Newbigin's Foolishness to the Greeks available as an audiobook on iTunes and Amazon.
N.T. Wright gives an excellent overview on Romans 5 as part of his course on Paul and His Letter to the Roman.
Head over to Logos.com to get Alister McGrath's Why God Won’t Go Away free for the month of May!
We're just getting started with all we want to bring to you through Digital Theology, but we also wanted to let you all know we have a sister site worship music and videos: http://www.worshipvideos.org