Hey Christian: Roll Over, Play Dead, Get a Biscuit

Once again the elite secular culture snapped its fingers and offered the Christians a biscuit.

Once again the Christians rolled over like obedient little puppies and played dead.

Well if not quite dead, then not alive, not vibrant, not worth turning the television over for, never mind throwing away everything and signing up your life to.

How so?  Well the ABC last night ran its Christian special on that most secular and elite of progressive organs, its flagship QandA program. You know the program, the one in which polarising opinions are brought together in a televised cage fight with pretensions to be a game of chess.

Tony Jones, the usual host was missing, replaced by journalist Julia Baird, sister of the avowedly evangelical Christian NSW Premier, Mike Baird. Perhaps Tony was not up for being with so many Christians in the one room.  It might be too much like church or something.  However I digress.

The verdict? Well I have only read parts of the transcript, (read it or watch the show here) and seen responses to it, as I can’t stomach watching QandA any longer, but the initial verdict was that at least it wasn’t a train wreck, we can be grateful we were allowed on, we gave a good showing, etc, etc.

But once again we did what philosopher Charles Taylor said Christians in the public square always do (erroneously), and that is to allow the secular framework to set the rules of the game that we are to play with them.

And from my vantage point we were more than happy to walk away happy that they were happy.  That we had played the game, lost it again, and given the secular framework another reason to say “See how magnanimous we are?”

The over-riding problem was the lack of King Jesus at the centre of the debate. The reason of course being that Jesus’ kingship is not admitted in a secular setting.

Hence the primary issues discussed were the usual, yawnful suspects; conservative and progressive political standpoints that the ABC elite culture is so in thrall to.  Maybe that’s the rules of the game.  But hey, rules are made to be broken, right?  The ABC has made a career out of pushing that particular idea.

So given a cast iron guarantee that you could get onto the QandA Christian Special in which there would be ample opportunity to showcase Jesus as the King who rules his people in a categorically different way to the political argy-bargy of the culture, once again those who did came up short.

I mean, how long do we keep our powder dry? Is the aim of being a Jesus follower to get a pat on the head for ticking the secular culture’s agenda, or getting sent to the dog house for not?

Now I totally get it when those who are more progressive than Jesus, and inhabit mainline churches go on there and get cheered. You know the type, those who are sure Jesus will catch up with the fact that he never actually rose from the dead, and that whoever we want to have sex with is up to us, given age and consent restraints.  Such types have made a living, a dwindling living I admit, but a living nonetheless, in the me-tooism the secular framework rewards.

But if you get the chance to go on QandA and get asked this pre-delivered, pre-packaged question by Ms Baird:

Is this down to God’s grace or human endeavour, I think was the question ultimately?

THAT’s where you nail it. And no one did.  No one did. It was donut theology.  Five Christians given the opportunity to chorus in unison “YES IT’S ALL ABOUT GRACE!!” and each of them decided on a solo performance.

Okay, maybe that’s because the secular rules of engagement are so restrictive that they were blindsided by the question, but each person had a very articulate non-grace answer to that question.  Each person said something nice, something nice to round out the 63rd Hunger Games or whatever rules of engagement the Capital has deviced that keeps us sedated and permit Donald Sutherland another day as President.

And since grace is the only thing that will actually compel someone to leave this world’s baubles, trinkets and approval behind, in order to follow a King whose love was such that he died to save us not simply from our bad deeds, but from the pride associated with the good deeds each of the panellists listed, then there was a gaping hole at the centre of everyone’s answer.

Everyone got to slink off with a biscuit, leaving the average punter none the wiser as to the fact that it’s actually ALL about the grace of God revealed in the Lord Jesus Christ, without which we will never see, live or experience true life.

And that, in this simply raises more questions than it answers.

12 Comments

  1. It is so disturbing how easily so many step sideways from stepping forward to state I am a follower of Jesus Christ! We feel sad for those whose lives are taken in other countries for His name and maybe even stop and pray. But we are so pathetic when it comes to speaking the truth here.

  2. So you didn’t watch the show but you’re going to make assumptions about it and about the intentions of the ‘secular’ and ‘elite’ world? That’s both uninformed and pretty unChristian.
    But be honest: there are heaps of Christian voices in public. So many prominent poiticians are outspoken conservative Christians, there’s conservative Christian commentators in major newspapers, there are conservative Christian voices on radio and TV. Yes, there are other voices too, but that’s the world. We’re pretty weak Christians if we have a cry because there are ‘secular’ voices.
    I’d also point out that there are many Christians who are ‘progressive’, but I’m guessing that’s an argument for a different day.

    1. I read the transcript. Which you too can read. And it’s not about whether Christians have a voice. It’s about why we play by the secular rules in the public square. And I am not worried about whether there are secular voices. I assume that and am fine with it. We just don’t need to let our voice be controlled by their perspective. And there are many Christians who label themselves “progressive” and none of them live in Syria, Nigeria or anywhere that the secular framework sets the agenda. That’s food for thought

  3. Good blog! I don’t recall that Jesus fella playing by the rules in the public square. Then again, I was prompted to write a blog – not by Q&A – by a question I heard at a conference: ‘On a scale of 1-10, are you going to heaven?’ and I was baffled by how few in the hefty Christian audience yelled out ‘TEN!’

    1. My experience also Phil Lowe. There is a real lack of confidence among so called Christians regarding there celestial home, you know, that this alien place is just a journey for us on the way to our real home. Too few of us actually feel this world is alien IMHO.

      But then, maybe I’m the one who needs his head examined, but I don’t think so. 🙂

  4. At the expense of being called a fawning disciple of yours, I applaud yet another interesting commentary that will surely hit a raw nerve in many a Christian’s tooth.

    I did not catch the show, nor have I read the transcript, but I get the picture given I know of Q & A and I certainly know the “Our” ABC.. Lost opportunities it seems.

    I interpret the panel’s failure to shout from their steeple top opportunity, Grace! Grace! Grace, another example of the progression that has the Church (we as individuals being the Church of course!) avoiding its (our) obligations and lacking the courage to speak out plainly (using the slippery slope of silence) about such things as fire and brimstone and that wide road that leads to hell (plain and simple as it is).

    It just strikes dumb little old me that the Church has embraced its own brand of political correctness as well.

    Whether it be in these situations, or in our individual walks, James 4:4 sums it up for me: suck up to the world and be God’s enemy. Unfortunately it seems God has more of these in the ranks than friends in our present lamentable climate.

    I’m not judging anyone here, just repeating what James says, something all too easily forgotten. Rod G

  5. Thanks Steve. It’s tough when the ABC chooses the panelists too. But a good encouragement to me to seek to take every opportunity to proclaim the grace of God in Christ.

  6. I had given up watching Q&A also Steve, but thought I would give this episode a crack because of the subject. I got to the point where I had to stop watching because I was so appalled at the quality of the show and who they had representing the Christian faith. There was a lot of “Look at moi” ( a la Kath & Kim), talk of being a progressive Christian (whatever that is), negativity and thinking that giving the local Imam a guest spot on a Sunday was a good idea – a bit like Coles offering Woolies an aisle in their store! None of the guests spoke about Jesus or the exoerience of living a faithful life in the modern Australian context. Being made in Sydney I might have thought there would be an evangelical Sydney Anglican available to give a bit of balance. The worst offence though, was that the show failed to interrogate the key issue said to be the purpose of the program – that Christians are increasingly facing persecution in our modern secular society. No input from a Christian who felt they had experienced persecution. But as you say, with the secular at all costs mindset, this would have been unbearable – it couldn’t happen in our society. In the end the very guests themselves epitomised the state of many parts of the church – it is little wonder, given what they stand for, that they have not experienced persecution and don’t know anyone who has.

  7. “Is this down to God’s grace or human endeavor”

    The question is unfortunately framed in concerns that go back to the Reformation, and no further. That perspective loathes an active follower of Christ, and would chide him as “self-righteous.”

    It would have been much more Biblical and impactful to the current culture to pair God’s grace against God’s wrath and condemnation. That contrast would speak much more clearly to a culture that needs to know God.

    The distinction separates the “new perspective on Paul” from the heritage under the shadows of Luther and Calvin.

  8. No biscuits for you Steve! Thanks for posting this and for pointing us back to King Jesus. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven (Matt 5:12).

    The Church is something which is permanent, which cannot be shaken, because it is united with the risen Lord. It is the expression of Christ risen, and everything called the Church which is other than that will pass. -T. Austin-Sparks (1936)

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