Chrysostom, Christians and Critiques

One of the things Christians are increasingly hearing from secular critics is that Christianity is not only wrong, but evil; it's false but also immoral. One of the best responses to this phenomena is a recent book by the guys over at Triablogue, entitled The Infidel Delusion. One thing the author(s) do in this book (which is a response to The Christian Delusion) is point out that Christians have been critiquing the failings of their own far longer - and far better - than unbelievers.

It is interesting that one of the things being saved by grace alone does is alert one to the fact that he is probably the triumphant failure that the Scriptures tell him he is. Yes, we can all admit Christians do some pretty terrible things. But this fact, far from showing Christianity false or immoral, only shows that the Bible's diagnosis of our condition is, in fact, correct.

Chrysostom offers characteristic insight to this condition when he writes, "`Christians damage Christ's cause more than his enemies and foes" (Thanks, Dr. Trueman, for that quote). We don't need a group of atheists to tell us what gigantic failures we are. The Bible does that for us, as all the great Christians of church history have been so keen to demonstrate.

We should therefore be the harshest critics of our own - and ourselves. But there is hope in all this: if we accept the Bible's teaching on our total depravity - acknowledging it, accepting it and not watering it down - well, then the door is open  (so to speak) for radical grace.  Which is exactly what we need - and what God provides in Christ.


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