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EFAC Australia

Theology

On the 27th August 2020 the New Zealand’s High court brought down the judgement of imprisonment for life without release on Brenton Tarrant the Australian terrorist who attacked two Mosques in New Zealand on March 15th, 2019. He shot and killed 51 people and seriously injured 40 others with semi-automatic weapons. This terrible tragedy struck at the heart of the way New Zealanders think of themselves, as tolerant and inclusive people. Many of the victims were relatively recent immigrants to N.Z.

This event raises many questions for us: Is the perpetrator, a self-confessed member of the extreme ‘alt -right’ and a ‘white supremacist’, part of a growing movement that will further stress our democratic liberal societies and how do we counter that? Given what appears to have motivated this act how can we survive the pressures being created by the massive people movements around the world, the clash of cultures and the xenophobia they produce? Can we reign in the spread of these toxic ideological viruses on the ‘Web’ that seem to be the way many like Brenton Tarrant are radicalised?

Zombie Theology – deathly ideas that stalk the Church

By Peter Corney[i]

The following six ideas are eroding classical, creedal, orthodox Christian faith. They sometimes travel under the heading of “Progressive or Emerging Christianity.”

1.CONFORMISM -  The radical adapting of the gospel to fit the prevailing plausibility structure (A “plausibility structure” is what a particular culture finds easy to believe at a particular time.) This is often done covertly and dishonestly by continuing to use the language and symbols of orthodox faith but changing their first order or original meaning. Conformism is intellectually provincial; it traps itself in the spirit of the times and fails to give proper weight to the churches historic understanding of the faith. Most of the fundamental issues we face have been faced by the church in the past.

2. UNIVERSALISM – A gospel without repentance and exclusive allegiance to Christ where every one will eventually be members of the Kingdom of God even those who do not believe, reject or ignore Christ or give allegiance to another God.

 

3. RADICAL INCLUSIVISM – A community without boundaries of belief or practice. Loving Christian hospitality should not be confused with radical inclusivism.

4. SYNCRETISM – The acceptance of all religious beliefs as equally true and the inclusion and blending of all faiths. The logical contradictions embraced by syncretism are breathtaking.

5. COVERT UNITARIANISM - The reduction and erosion of the uniqueness, divinity and lordship of Christ. This eventually unravels the key doctrine of the Trinity. This leads to a new Arianism.

6. PANTHEISM – The confusion of God and the creation in which the distinction is dissolved and the worship of nature emerges. This inevitably leads to Monistic Pantheism and a revival of Paganism. Monism (all is one) is also the fundamental idea beneath Eastern Mysticism.[ii]

C.S.Lewis observed many years ago that Pantheism is fallen humanity’s default religious position, “....not because it is the final stage of enlightenment, but because it is the attitude into which the human mind falls when left to itself. In the absence of revealed religion, humanity gravitates towards natural religion.”(See Romans 1: 18-23)

It also reveals itself today under the titles of Evolutionary Mysticism and Religious Naturalism but it is the old pagan Pantheism.[iii]

Here is a link to a paper presented at the 10th Edinburgh Dogmatics Conference: 25–28 August 2003, Rutherford House, Edinburgh, by Bp Tom Wright

Introduction
I am grateful for the invitation to this conference, and for the sensitive way in which
the organisers responded to my comments on the intial outline of the programme. I am
aware that fresh interpretations of Paul, including my own, have caused controversy in
evangelical circles, and particularly reformed circles. My own name has been linked
with proposals which have been variously dismissed, scorned, vilified and
anathematized. Having heard the papers yesterday morning and afternoon I suggested
to David Searle that I should take two hours not one to say what needs to be said just
now; but when I heard Tony Lane last night I realised I would need, like Cardinal
Seripando at Trent, two days to establish my own orthodoxy. We shall see.

 

Read more: New Perspectives on Paul

 

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