Creed or Cacophony in Europe?

Thanks to those of you who prayed for me while I traveled to Europe last week. My friend Doug Reynolds and I visited three countries in five days: Ireland, Poland, and England. For certain, the highlight was the interaction with IFES workers (International Fellowship of Evangelical Students) in which they shared accounts of what God is doing in their respective ministries. I will say this, Europe might be a spiritual wasteland, but God is not through with it.

As I reflect on the need for gospel ministry in Europe, I find myself musing on the words of the late Dorothy Sayers. Sayers (1893 – 1957) as you may know was an Oxford educated playwright, novelist, and Christian apologist. She communicated with keen insight the cultural trends in England that supported and opposed the gospel. Following is her assessment during the 1940’s. With prophetic accuracy, she has described our day too (not only in Europe, but also here in the USA).

“It is worse than useless for Christians to talk about the importance of Christian morality unless they are prepared to take their stand upon the fundamentals of Christian theology. It is a lie to say that dogma does not matter; it matters enormously. It is fatal to let people suppose that Christianity is only a mode of feeling; it is vitally necessary to insist that it is first and foremost a rational explanation of the universe. It is hopeless to offer Christianity as a vaguely idealistic aspiration of a simple and consoling kind; it is, on the contrary, a hard, tough, exacting and complex doctrine, steeped in a drastic and uncompromising realism. And it is fatal to imagine that everybody knows quite well what Christianity is and needs only a little encouragement to practice it. The brutal fact is that in this Christian country not one person in a hundred has the faintest notion what the Church teaches about God or man or society or the person of Jesus Christ.”1

I fully concur with Sayers. Our generation needs churches that think clearly about Christian theology as the doxological, epistemic, historiographical, spiritual, doctrinal, moral, social, and missional basis of life. In other words, we must properly understand and live according to the Lordship of Christ.

Footnotes :

1 Dorothy Sayers, “Creed or Chaos?” in The Whimsical Christian (New York: Collier Books, 1987), 34-36.

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