Wednesday, January 20, 2010

John Robbins: Foolish anthropocentric religion thrives when man has no fear of God and is unapprised of his predicament

When we look at the current religious scene, there is little evidence that people are asking such theocentric (God-centered) questions. Instead, they are asking anthropocentric (man-centered) questions: How can God make me happy? How can Christ make my life run smoothly and joyously? How can I solve my problems and find fulfillment in life? Never has so much religious activity been so disinterested in the question of justification with God. Why? Because there is so little fear of God. People can wave their arms or jump up and down “in the Spirit.” But if the religious interest is not marked by a great fear of God, it is not the work of the Holy Spirit, for he is “the Spirit .†.†. of the fear of the Lord.” Again, why is there such an appalling disinterest in justification by faith? Because people are taking it for granted that God is gracious and forgiving. In fact, they feel that they are on such good terms with him that they talk to him as if he were (to use Luther’s complaint against the Enthusiasts) “a shoemaker’s apprentice.” How can justification be a concern when there is no marked fear of God?

Consider how these man-centered questions are patently foolish in the light of man’s predicament. Here is a wretched sinner, bound hand and foot and consigned to Hell for his great crimes against his maker. Standing on the threshold of eternal damnation, he presumes to ask, “How can God make me happy?” Such a question shows he has no understanding of his awful predicament. If the Spirit gives him any true enlightenment of his situation, he will cry out, “How can I be right with God?” (John Robbins, Ethics and Justification by Faith Alone)

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