En Gedi: Finding rest in the wilderness!

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The New “Incarnationalism”!

Posted by Scott on March 9, 2008


Reverence Challenged by New ‘Incarnationalism’

I’m pleased to share with you today this posting from guest contributor Tom Chantry. Listen closely as Tom speaks with you about the “Incarnational” trend that has found popularity within various postmodern revisions of Christianity. Tom notes that some “popular preachers seem determined to lower the view which their congregations have of Christ – bringing Him to the same level as ourselves and even becoming crass and vulgar about Him”. This comes through an emphasis on Christ having been incarnate with us, therefore we are supposed to maintain a very human regard towards Him. Too often however, this is carried out to an extreme which robs our thinking of the reverence that is due Him.

What follows has been contributed by Tom Chantry, and is based on a recent sermon preached at Christ Reformed Baptist Church in Milwaukee Wisconsin.

The Incarnation of Christ has become the attention of renewed focus in recent years. On the face of it, this seems a very positive development; the study and knowledge of Christ’s person should be of top importance for every Christian. But what is being said of Christ in the meantime?

Endeavors have been made to develop an “incarnational” approach to the Christian life and ministry. The idea is that Christ in His incarnation came to live with us as we are. Christians are thus urged to approach to the surrounding culture in a sympathetic way, entering into it in order to minister as Christ ministered. One is reminded of the words of Philippians 2:5, “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus…” Christians are to demonstrate a humility patterned after Christ’s.

Paul’s instruction was for each of us to count others better than ourselves. However, the recent focus on the Incarnation has not lowered self-esteem. Rather, popular preachers seem determined to lower the view which their congregations have of Christ – bringing Him to the same level as ourselves and even becoming crass and vulgar about Him. This is not really surprising; for years now the Lord Jesus Christ has been presented as a buddy, a comrade, or one of the guys. We should not be shocked if a new generation of preachers makes Him the butt of their jokes.

After all, we are told, this is what Jesus did Himself in becoming one of us. He brought Himself to our level. We are told that He intends for us to view him in a casually familiar manner. The bowing and scraping of previous generations resulted from a misunderstanding born of over-formal worship. To treat Jesus as one of the guys is to accept the Incarnation as He intended it.

The problem is that no actual eyewitness to the Lord Jesus in the flesh ever permitted himself to speak of the Lord in this manner. Rather, those who saw the miracle of the Incarnation were awed by the grandness of Christ, and they spoke of Him always in worshipful tones. In this 7 minute audio clip (download link below) from a sermon two Sundays ago, I addressed the way in which those closest to Jesus in the flesh, his brothers and his cousins, spoke of Him.

When we consider the doctrine that God the Son became flesh, our reaction ought to be amazement. We should be all the more awed at the glory of Christ which is demonstrated in His condescension. If we find ourselves joking about Jesus, perhaps we haven’t understood Him at all.

. . . or to download this MP3 file for later:
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