Friday, March 25, 2005

Bowed Down with Literalism

OK, here we go...


Just listened to an NPR interview of Tom Harpur, author of THE PAGAN CHRIST: Rediscovering the Lost Light. Now, really folks, I understand today's Good Friday for many people, so discussing Christ is date-appropriate but...sheesh. Are we so eager to embrace any other possible version of Christ that we'll listen to anything?! Are we this dead-set against the Church's testimony?

I thought I left behind ideas like, "Even though there are very real differences between the religions, underneath all that there's something all religions have in common, something that unites us all as humans" when I left high school. Yeah...that "something in common" we all have? It's called humanity, which is the problem! We need the divine Christ to unite our fallen humanity with the divine! This is miles away from Hinduism or Islam, and, ultimately, is not concerned with the union of man with God as much as it is the losing of one's physicalness in the spiritual, anti-material-ness of God.

Also in the interview was someone--I forget the name--was an SMU theology school professor whose objections were "answered" in amazing fashion by Harpur:
SMU Guy: You can't possibly prove any of this from the New Testament.

Harpur: On the contrary...(quotes from Paul's quotation of pagan poets in Acts, plus Jesus' quotation that we are "all gods.") So you see, it is compatible with the New Testament, it is that universal and ancient common faith of all pre-Christian St. Paul says, it's "Christ in you; the hope of glory." And we see this when we allow ourselves to approach the New Testament in a way that's not bowed down with literalism and historicism.
I wanted to hurl. This, along with "disproving" that Christ claimed to be divine with such verses as Christ's "rebuking" the rich young ruler for calling Him "good teacher" (Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone."), or saying that Christ always "skirts the issue" of His divinity when He calls Himself "SON of God" (as if this were any different from directly saying "I AM GOD" -- which He also did (John 8:58--and why'd the Pharisees get so mad, anyway, if He wasn't making Himself God?)).

Christ our God--co-equal and co-eternal with the Father, of a different person yet sharing the divine essence with Him and the Holy Spirit, one Godhead in three Persons and one Essence...why is this so hard?

Ah yes...because so many other faiths and ideas of men will have to answer to it. To all western Christians who may read this and are celebrating Good Friday today: may Christ our GOD bless all of you, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages.



The Rambler said...

I'm sorry we've inflicted Tom Harper on you guys. Y'see, he's from Canada, and I used to suffer watching him on the uber-liberal "Vision" television network. He's written a few ditties like "For Christ's Sake" and "The Pagan Christ."

Essentially, guys like Tom are old hat, but don't realize it. A lot of their thinking is based on some really bad (and most pointedly, out dated) scholarship. Like John Shelby Spong, he's one of these old farts that figured if you dumbed down and gutted Christianity of anything that was supernatural or "divisive", you'd make it more appealing to the "youngins." The sad situation of both of their respective churches (Episcopalian and Anglican Church of Canada respectively) shows that their thinking was dead wrong, as similar reasoning in the Roman Catholic Church (though not quite as bad, at least officially) has demonstrated.

Tom's work is particularly bad, since a lot of it is not "scholarly" at all, but is aped off of the new agey/occult works of the Theosophy movement. In fact a lot of the scholarship in "The Pagan Christ" was directly lifted from such sources, and are credited as such by Tom.

Oddly enough, Tom turned out to be too liberal even for the incredibly liberal Anglican Church of Canada - thus by his own admission, he left his active ministry as an Anglican "Priest" when his "Bishop" required the clergy of the diocese to sign an extremely minimalistic confession of faith. Tom (who has said that he thinks of Christ as his "guru") couldn't even give the slightest nod to the Divinity of Christ or the doctrine of the Holy Trinity (thus indicating he's not really a Christian of any sort, let alone a "liberal" one), so he left his "active ministry", though if you ask him will still insist he is in fact an "Anglican Priest" (I remember seeing him get quite pissy when someone suggested otherwise during an interview.)

Our parish Priest is in fact a former Anglican, and in passing he actually mentioned to me that people like Tom Harper being indicative of much of Anglicanism in Canada were one of the reasons that motivated why he began to look elsewhere.

David Bryan said...

Ah...knew there had to be a reason: Canada. *wink*

It amazes me that folks who do such a ridiculously superficial job of exegesis of Scripture/Patristics get airtime. Especially on well-respected (albeit not universally so, unfortunately) venues like NPR.

Itching ears, anyone?

Rho said...

Perhaps you are a bit more enlightened now as to why many people (myself included) regard NPR with such distaste.

They wouldn't dare bring someone like Gary Habermas or William Craig on there at the same time, would they? That might make the lib look foolish - can't have THAT on NPR.

I guess your post made ME mad too, so felt the need to vent.