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. Woe to the person who betrays and and breaks the mystery of faith, distorts it into public wisdom, because he takes away the possibility of offense! Woe to the person who speaks of the mystery of the Atonement without detecting in it anything of the possibility of offense.
Woe again to him who thinks God and Christianity are something for study and discussion. Woe to every unfaithful steward who sits down and writes false proofs, winning friends for themselves and for Christianity by writing off the possibility of offense. Oh, the learning and acumen tragically wasted. Oh the enormous time wasted in the enormous work of making Christianity so reasonable, and in trying to make it so relevant!…The more skillful, the more articulate, the more excellent the defense, however, the more Christianity is disfigured, abolished, exhausted like an emasculated man
…Therefore, take away from Christianity the possibility of offense or take away from the forgiveness of sin the battle of an anguished conscience. Then lock the churches, the sooner the better, or turn them into places of amusement which stand open all day long!
Works of Love: Some Christian Reflections in the Form of Discourses, pp. 199-200
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