How do you take your Christianity? Anthropo or Theo – centric? It really does make a difference and it comes through in our conversation. God is my starting point… He is transcendent… yet, I often find myself falling back into my old way of thinking, evaluating what He says and does; what He wants me to say and do, by my own subjective notions of right and wrong, good or bad, practical or unhelpful. I’m happy for people like John Piper, who bring me back to the ultimate center of my life — the Person Who alone is the beginning of all wisdom and understanding. John Piper spoke these words on September 9, 2001 — 9/9/01.
The world views Christianity, and other religions, as useful, depending on what social, psychological, or physical benefits it may bring. In other words, the world doesn’t assess Christianity in the categories of true or false, but in the categories of useful or harmful. The world does not think of Christianity as divine revelation but as human opinion. The world does not believe that God must reveal our deepest need, and then provide the remedy in Jesus Christ. The world believes that we know our deepest needs and that religion can be respectable if it helps meet them.
The danger that Christians start to think this way is huge and deadly. A reporter interviews a pastor, and immediately defines, by his questions, the categories for explaining Christianity. “What are you doing about affordable housing? How do you help people get jobs? What’s your strategy for improving health care?”
Those are valid questions. But if you let the secular mind determine your starting point and then define the categories for explaining Christianity, then you will promote the erroneous notion that the church of Jesus Christ and the gospel of Jesus Christ are not an authoritative revelation from God that is true and necessary, but instead, an activity of man that is useful…
The essence of Christianity is that God is the supreme value in the universe, that we do not honor him as supremely valuable, that we are therefore guilty of sin and under his omnipotent wrath, and he alone can rescue us from his own condemnation, which he has done through the death and resurrection of his Son, Jesus Christ, for everyone who is in Christ. Knowing this, if what we promote is housing, jobs, health care, sobriety, family life minus this message, we are not Christian – we are cruel. We comb man’s hair in the electric chair and hide his freedom in our hands.