Wednesday, August 9, 2006

Final Thoughts on Reason Part 2

Fetter Lane's last blog entry on the reason series will conclude with a warning lest we think too highly of the mental function. Christianity is intellectual but it is more than just intellectual. God must work in the soul.

At our last look in Wesley's Sermons, # 70, "The Case of Reason Impartially Considered", we need to take his counsel:

"Permit me to add a few words to you, likewise, who over-value reason. Why
should you run from one extreme to the other? Is not the middle way best? Let reason do all that reason can: Employ it as far as it will go. But, at the same time, acknowledge it is utterly incapable of giving either faith, or hope, or love; and, consequently, of producing either real virtue, or substantial happiness. Expect these from a higher source, even from the Father of the spirits of all flesh. Seek and receive them, not as your own acquisition, but as the gifts of God. Lift up your hearts to Him who 'giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not.' He alone can give that faith, which is 'the evidence' and conviction 'of things not seen.' He alone can 'beget you unto a lively hope' of an inheritance eternal in the heavens; and He alone can 'shed his love abroad in your heart by the Holy Ghost given unto you.' Ask, therefore, and it shall be given you! Cry unto him, and you shall not cry in vain! How can you doubt? 'If ye, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give the Holy Ghost unto them that ask him!' So shall you be living witnesses, that wisdom, holiness, and happiness are one; are inseparably united; and are, indeed, the beginning of that eternal life which God hath given us in his Son."

Let me be blunt: if Christianity is nothing more than mental comprehension and acceptance of abstract religious apologia, we're setting ourselves up for disappointment. Why? Because religious principles devoid of the Holy Spirit won't help you in a crisis. If Christianity doesn't include a vital relationship with the vital Triune God then it isn't the answer for the human condition.

Christianity without God is Deism. It's pretentious philosophy--and it's terribly lonely.