Saturday, 18 February 2012

Miracles and Wisdom

Since Baroness Warsi recently re-ignited the debate about religion in public life, I've been following some of the correspondence in The Independent, and listening to speakers such as AC Grayling going head to head with Christina Rees (Chair of the House of Laity of the General Synod).

One of the current lines of argument of the secularists is to draw from a tradition of secular scepticism going back to the Greeks. They argue that there is 'nothing new under the sun', and indeed claim that very phrase from Greek philosophy as predating the same in Ecclesiastes in the Bible.

It strikes me that St Paul had something to say about this nearly 2000 years ago when he wrote to the Corinthian church: 'Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified.' 'Irrational religion' and 'irreligious rationalism' - they are both mistaken answers to the world's needs in Paul's view. Rather, the answer is to be found in 'Christ crucified, a stumbling'block to Jews and folly to the Greeks'.

Yes, the AC Graylings of the world would claim 'Christ crucified' to be folly, just as followers of Greek philosophy in the 1st century did. I believe this is the time for the church to be confident in preaching the same gospel as Paul: 'Christ crucified - Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God' because that way - the way of sacrifice and love, of death and resurrection - is where we can find power to change our lives.

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