Today, in response to the claims of Christianity, two extreme theological positions –pantheism and deism—are taking their roots within the Church (Wright, 2010). The modern Christian with a pantheistic orientation finds Jesus and his teachings merely for the purpose of humanistic end. For them, the Bible is nothing but a source for spiritual inspiration, Jesus is a good moral teacher who needs to be emulated, and the creation is a ‘composite One’ of which human beings are just an inseparable extension. The liberal Christians are known to hold such a position and are devoted to pursue a life of abundance here on earth, without much concern for the after-life.
On the other hand, the modern Christian with a deistic orientation, keeps God at a distant, and considers Jesus as someone who came to help mankind out of their amnesia, and to give them a glimpse of heaven, so that they may strive to enter it after they have endured this fallen world. Many orthodox evangelicals have succumbed to this posture of “fundamentalist condemnation” (Crouch, 2013). In the words of Oliver Wendell Holmes they have become “so heavenly minded that they’re no earthly good.” Their posture of crucicentrism dictates their secluded way of life, which according to them determines their proximity to the heavenly realm.
I believe, it is not possible to be truly heavenly minded and not be of any earthly good. If we start with the sovereignty of God in all our affairs we shall truly be the salt of the earth and light of the world (Kuyper, 1998). I agree with C. S. Lewis (1980) when he says that, “ If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this (p. 135).
Fr. Fulton Sheen once asked Mother Teresa how she catechized so many destitute in the city of Calcutta. She replied that as she took care of the needy, she would ask them if they wanted to know about Jesus. Then they would ask her “Is Jesus like you?” “No,” Mother Teresa would reply, “I’m trying to be like him.” With that people would open their hearts to be transformed by the gospel. I believe this is a perfect model, where we can see her fulfilling the call to be the Lord’s disciple, using all that she had to serve others, and storing the most valuable treasure in heaven—the souls of the living (Mark 8:36-37).
Crouch, A. (2013). Culture making: Recovering our creative calling. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Books.
Kuyper, A. (1998). ‘Sphere Sovereignty’ In Abraham Kuyper: A centennial reader, Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.
Lewis, C. S. (1980). Mere Christianity. New York, NY: HarperCollins.
Wright, N. T. (2010). Simply Christian: Why Christianity makes sense. (1st ed.). New York, NY: HarperOne.