Have you ever heard a sermon that you really felt you couldn’t say ‘Amen’ to?
I did today. It’s the joys of having an interregnum in the local church. Retired and other local priests take in turns to take the service, and we have what we might call ‘the battle of the sermons’. When we have the charismatic evangelical priest (definitely more my cup of tea) then we get sermons about the power of the Spirit, and we even had a sermon a few weeks ago that mentioned being ‘born again’ and relationship with Jesus – shock horror.
Then we have a more recent offering from another priest whose favourite themes are the environment and various applications to modern situations. Today was typical – from the characters in the reading (the story of the Good Samaritan) we get lessons on the way that big corporations are laying waste to creation round the world, accompanied by extensive quotes from Native Indian letters to US presidents in the last century. I’m all for caring for creation, but great prominence was given to pagan views of the world rather than Christian ones.
But the bit that really had my jaw on the floor and me shaking my head was when he said something like ‘And religion too has it’s dirty tricks department…. using guilt…. It’s called ‘being saved’….. It is totally selfish – my soul is saved rather than concern for the world’ .
This is what happens when our church leaders loose their biblical roots. The outer shell of Christianity might be retained, but it is stuffed full of hollowness or of pagan beliefs – words and priorities and concepts are redefined and re-prioritized until pagan texts get more prominence than the core Christ-honouring and saving faith passed down from our spiritual forefathers and mothers.
I think it was the same priest who several months ago in a similar creation-care themed sermon quoted a German theologian who said of the incarnation that ‘Christ was the mutation of evolution’ . But more on that later….