Friday, September 21, 2007

The great contrast of evangelical Christianity to how early Christianity really was

Surfing the Wiki I got into the part of it that deals with the distinctions between various Orthodox Christian denominations, specifically the splits having to do with the Council of Calcedon in 451.

Now, if you follow the terminology and the issues, you see that a hell of a lot of the thinking going on uses Greek philosophy to try to understand Christianity. The cultural life of the eastern Mediterranean was Greek although it was politically dominated by Rome. Go to the link and try to puzzle out the differences between the competing terms, of the difference between the belief that God and Man united in a new nature in Christ that was neither purely God or Man, or that the two natures co-existed within Jesus or that Jesus was possessed of both human and divine natures that were united but that retained their individuality and so weren't combined into a completely new thing.

Then ask your self if any of this remotely resembles what Christian fundamentalists view as fundamental Christianity. The problem with trying to start over with Christianity, as the fundamentalists want to do, is that it isn't as easy as just reading the Bible and trying to just go by what the Bible says. To really get back to the origins of Christianity you have to untie the various philosophical and religious controversies that accompanied Christianity in its first centuries.

This, at least in what fundamentalists and evangelicals publicly say, seems to be completely absent. Maybe some of the pastors who actually have real theological training are aware of these things but if they are they certainly haven't passed it on to their flock. The result is stuff like Left Behind and the general movement to see The Book of Revelations as announcing an imminent apocalypse.

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