Thursday, May 14, 2009

The myth of inevitability

Alan Wisdom writes:

Our liberal friends are convinced that history is on a steady leftward course: towards greater individual moral autonomy, greater freedom in entering and exiting sexual relationships, and reduced relevance of traditions or authorities that might restrain individual autonomy and freedom. (If they are religious, our friends hail these trends as the will of an “inclusive” God.)

Progressives see themselves as “prophetic.” History will vindicate them, they are sure, and they will become the majority and sweep us conservatives into the dustbin. If they don’t win a vote today, they will win it tomorrow. And if society goes their way, then the Church must surely follow.

This “progressive” myth has many obvious problems. The Church does not always follow the culture. Sometimes it resists the culture. Sometimes it changes the culture. Christians in past generations have taken stands against dueling, abandonment of unwanted infants, and polygamy—all common in their day, and all rare today.

Nor is it true that today’s leftist cause is always destined to become tomorrow’s mainstream reality. Think of all the past liberal enthusiasms—communes, “God is dead” theology, Freudian psychotherapy, divorce as a wonderful growth experience, open classrooms with no grades, Fidel Castro and Mao Zedong as great liberators—that have largely faded away. Sometimes the left is right about the future, and sometimes it’s terribly wrong.

The tragedy is when orthodox Christians—who should know better—buy into the leftist myth of inevitability...A biblical worldview recognizes that the course of history is in the hands of a sovereign God who is working out his purposes in his time. No human political agenda is inevitable. There is much that both liberals and conservatives fail to understand.

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