Christianity and the “Removal of God”

Consider Søren Kierkegaard’s reflections on God’s nearness and remoteness and the manner in which the church’s outward “successes” may in fact signal its “removal of God.” What does the church today need to hear from Kierkegaard?

The law for God’s nearness and remoteness is as follows: The more the outward externals, the appearances, indicate that God cannot possibly be present here, the closer he is. The opposite is also true: the more the outward externals, the appearances, indicate that God is very near, the farther away he is.

…At the time when there were no churches and the Christians gathered together in catacombs as refugees and lawbreakers, God was close. Then came the churches, so many churches, such great splendid churches and to the same degree God was distanced. For God’s nearness is inversely related to externals, and this ascending scale (churches, many churches, splendid churches) is an increase in the sphere of appearance.

Before Christianity became a doctrine, Continue reading

Kierkegaard or a Cold Shower?

Every so often I need a dose of Kierkegaard to wake me up like a cold shower. If this doesn’t convict you, check your pulse.

When Christianity came into the world, it did not need to call attention (even though it did so) to the fact that it was contrary to human nature and human understanding, for the world discovered that easily enough. But now that we are on intimate terms with Christianity, we must awaken the collision.

The possibility of offense must be again preached to life. Only the possibility of offense (the antidote to the apologists’ sleeping potion) is able to waken those who have fallen asleep, is able to break the spell so that Christianity is itself again.

Woe to him therefore, who preaches Christianity without the possibility of offense. Woe to the person who smoothly, flirtatiously, commendingly, convincingly preaches some soft, sweet something which is supposed to be Christianity!

Woe to the person who makes miracles reasonable. Continue reading