As a Christian, I continue to gasp as the smoke from old books rises from the fires set by Martin Luther. Like Luther, protestant leaders continue to suffocate the mind with their emotional ploys and rhetoric and provide the world little content and reason for faith.
Martin Luther was a most unlikable man who burned books; Luther would have us give up life in the real world once we discover, accept and fall in love with the gift of Christ. Not much has changed from Evangelical leaders today. "Where they burn books, at the end they also burn people," wrote Heinrich Heine.
As I get older I encounter more men that have left the faith, are disinterested in the faith, dismiss any power in the faith, or never did and still have no interest in faith from a group of non-thinkers that call everything secular. The common thread to their disinterest…lack of honest answers to honest questions.
I have become a great friend of G.K Chesterton and Peter Kreeft over the last two years. Kreeft is a modern that joins the likes of Pascal and Lefevre in bringing “thinking” to the faith; men that offer truth in the light of Christ and reality. Chesterton was a heretic in the protestant circles in which I grew up, but has since been freed to those like me that now skirt the edges of protestant institutions.
Quietly, we are bringing Kreeft, Chesterton, Pascal, Lefevre and Aquinas in the back doors of our protestant churches to bring a Gospel of the Mind that can be rejoined to the Gospel of the Heart. They are the same thing so they should merge once again.
“Now Luther did begin the modern mood on depending on things not merely intellectual. When he quoted scripture text, inserting a word that was not in scripture, he was content to shout back at the hecklers, ‘Tell them that Dr. Martin Luther will have it so!” (The Dumb Ox, G.K. Chesterton) While a saint from the medieval ages such as Thomas Aquinas would only use reason and intellectual argument, men like Luther brought a new form to the debate, “personality”. We have since been left with soft or loud speakers attempting to sway us to faith by their eloquent gift for rhetoric.
Rhetoric won for four hundred years thanks to Luther’s personality, but now the light of day is shining on it, and people find it silly and lacking content. Not only this, it does not sway a world with access to vast amounts of content. Even worse, those swayed over the last few decades are leaving the faith because rhetoric does not support the roof of reality.
When you encounter Christ you will have moments of deep emotional response. I’ve cried with Christ, laughed with Christ, fought with Christ, and have fallen on my face in response to Christ. I would not have our feelings removed from the life of faith, or the encounter of Christ. But if this is where it stops, and content is not heaped upon the mind of a Christian, faith is extremely vulnerable to other voices on the wind, or lack thereof.
"St. Thomas was a great man who reconciled religion with reason, who expanded it towards experimental science, who insisted that the senses were the windows of the soul and that reason had a divine right to feed upon facts, and that it was the business of the faith to digest the strong meat of the toughest and most practical of pagan philosophies." G.K. Chesterton (The Dumb Ox)
The world and the Corpus Christi are in need of content with commitment. The great religious and philosophical debates have already been fought much better than they are fought today. We must look to the Bible, Apology, Summa Theologica, Republic, and so much more to find the answers from the Book of God and the books of men.
As our youth, and now later generations, are distracted every 5 seconds by a text, we must draw them to elements that will fuel the mind and support the heart.
Preaching is for the lost - Teaching is for the believer. We must improve at teaching - we must commit to discipleship.
To those that choose faith, we must provide answers, not just another worship service to attend, valuable as they are.
Auguste Comte said there is no meaning to life so we should not waste time discussing it. Sartre said there is no meaning to life and we are condemned to freely make our own meaning. Finally Sartre wrote, "Hell is others." These are the ideas that prevail today and we must provide truth and content for the mind if our youth are to know God and make Him known.
My daughter and I have spent time this week talking about how morality has become subjective and unless there is something centric and true, rightfully so. If there is no God, then we are God and anything goes. But, it is not subjective and there is a source from which to pivot and that is Jesus Christ. This understanding is not won from pulpits but from discussion, time and investment in others.
The world has forgotten that the Christian faith brought to the stage the idea of selflessness. Christians built the first hospitals for the poor, developed education for all, promoted the sciences and laid the foundation for a free man's society.
G.K.Chesterton will be happy to introduce you to a great saint; a large but humble poor man who saved our faith in a dark hour. A saint Luther would have burned at the stake had they been contemporaries.
Chesterton's short book “The Dumb Ox” is worth your time and discovery. It will shine light on the modern problems in our faith community, expose poor philosophy that prevails today, and inspire you to evangelize with content, commitment and care.