In the Alice in Wonderland stories there is a bit that says “the time has come the Walrus said, to speak of many things, of shoes and ships and sealing wax, of cabbages and kings, of why the sea is boiling hot and whether pigs have wings.” I don’t know why but I always find this amusing and I use it when people strike me as talking nonsense.
There seems to me to be a lot of nonsense talking in the world today–especially amongst those who want to be ours secular leaders. One of the Republican candidates for their party’s nomination was attacked last week over his shoes. Now I understand we have to give these people a little leeway, but attacking someone’s shoes is at best infantile and at worse an insult to those who hear the attack. Come on folks–do you really think we’re that stupid that we would care?
There’s also a lot of nonsense being spoken in the Church today. I could write a pretty long statement about that, but I’ll just give one example right now. People who profess to be in the Church, theologians and pastors mostly, have taken to denying the Atonement. What, some of you may be asking, is the Atonement? Well, it’s the idea that Jesus, the Son of God born of Mary, bore upon Himself the punishment for our sins when He died upon the Cross at Calvary. His death brought about our life.
Well, some of the bright folks have decided that the idea of Christ dying for us is just way too fanciful. One theologian even called it divine child abuse if it was true. The problem with the arguments of the bright folks is that, if they are right, Christianity is a fraud. If Christ did not pay the penalty for my sins or yours, then there is no Christian faith. The best you can get is a sort of Unitarianism in which Jesus just becomes a great teacher.
This is not a big issue for the Church today–these doubters remain a small minority. But we seem to find them more and more and to the degree they influence teaching in the Church they can do great harm to the faith of the people. So, as Peter and Jude and John and Paul all write in the New Testament, we need to be vigilant, testing the spirits and knowing what it is that is being said. We can’t just listen to the words people use, but we need to ask what they mean when they use those words.
That said–no one can defeat Christ’s Church. The Lord Himself told us that not even the gates of hell could prevail against it. Those whom Christ has chosen for His own cannot be lost (read John 6 and John 10). That’s why it is so very wonderful to pick up the Bible, because we find the answers to lies, to distortions and to just plain ignorance that seems to waft around us. Pigs don’t fly. The sea isn’t boiling hot. But Jesus is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Amen.