Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Christianity And.....

I keep thinking of this phrase which C.S. Lewis uses in his book, The Screwtape Letters: With Screwtape Proposes a Toast, "Christianity And." Here's what he says through the character, Screwtape.
The real trouble about the set your patient is living in is that it is merely Christian. They all have individual interests, of course, but the bond remains mere Christianity. What we want, if men become Christians at all, is to keep them in the state of mind I call "Christianity And". You know—Christianity and the Crisis, Christianity and the New Psychology, Christianity and the New Order, Christianity and Faith Healing, Christianity and Psychical Research, Christianity and Vegetarianism, Christianity and Spelling Reform. If they must be Christians let them at least be Christians with a difference. Substitute for the faith itself some Fashion with a Christian colouring. Work on their horror of the Same Old Thing.
The one "Christianity And" which I would add to the list these days is Christianity and the Masculine.
Jesus blesses the children.
In case you've missed it, the latest statement about Christianity and masculinity comes from John Piper. You can find what he's said here. Of course, this is only the latest in the robust trend, coming largely out of the new Calvinist movement. Some others who have spoken in similar terms are Mark Driscoll and Al Mohler, but there are many others also. There are many great points others are making about how myopic a view this perspective is in light of what scripture has to say. Some, like, Scot McKnight, Krish Kandiah, and many others whom Rachel Held Evans has led out onto the battlefield, so to speak, have opposed this perspective with well informed arguments and I believe a much better understanding of scripture and what the Gospel truly is.

I keep wondering how can such a view be held by men who have studied Greek and presumably history, culture, and hermeneutics.  What I believe this view boils down to is idolatry, and I think, as I've said before, idolatry is the basis of all sin. Quite simply, this god of masculinity is more manageable. He has set up systems of authority which are arbitrary and based on legalism. It gives some power and withholds it from others. Such an arbitrary God is not one to be wrestled or reasoned with, nor is he reflected in Jesus, in whom I see a God who turns our ideas of power and authority upside down. Who empties himself and calls on each of us to do the same.

When we want "Christianity And", we no longer accept Jesus as sufficient. How we cling to our idols.


  1. Great article, Gina. I hadn't thought of this as a Jesus plus thing, but you're right about it. I found Driscol and Piper's remarks, some of them, profoundly disturbing, but I hadn't thought of them as adding masculinity to the gospel as one might add, for example, home schooling ;)


  2. Thanks, Cindy. As a homeschooling parent, I resemble that remark! (grins)

    It is so easy to want to add to Jesus, even for very good and noble things. As a result Jesus gets pushed to the side or distorted and we lose whatever secondary issue we had hoped to elevate. Lewis explains this quite well in his essay, "First and Second Things".