Christian given-ness what counts

Adam Dodds takes issue with the idea that meaning needs to be created.

In his article ''Evolution of life after death'' (ODT, 14.6.13), Ian Harris continues his consistent practice of misrepresenting Christian faith.

Christians of all stripes have always believed there is a given-ness to Christian faith. In other words, a person cannot make up whatever they like and call this ''Christian''.

The apostle Paul prefaced his summary of the gospel by saying: ''For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance.''

Speaking of this continuity of tradition, the second-century church father Irenaeus of Lyon spoke of the ''rule of faith''.

Something is received, and passed on. By contrast, Mr Harris contends that ''meaning needs to be created''.

It appears that Mr Harris does not receive anything from the Christian tradition. Certainly, what he passes is his own invention, and it is antithetical to Christian faith.

He supports his faith with a combination of caricaturing traditional Christian beliefs, and an appeal to the ''sciences'', to ''a modern understanding of life''.

But he is out of step with modern scientists, such as John Polkinghorne (physicist), Russell Stannard (physicist), Francis Collins (geneticist), R.

J. Berry (geneticist and naturalist), and John Houghton (climate change scientist). Unlike Mr Harris, these modern scientists all hold to traditional Christian conceptions of eternal life. Mr Harris' modern conception of faith is not, it seems, quite so modern.

Mr Harris' appeal to ''a modern understanding of life'' is simply subterfuge, a ploy to propagate his own ''faith''.

This propagation he is free to do, but not on behalf of the Christian Church. Mr Harris, can you once and for all stop pretending that the faith you promote is Christian?

I personally know pastors from churches across Dunedin (from all denominations), none of whom would accept your replacement of Christian faith - which is wonderful news indeed - with an anaemic, bland and outdated alternative.

As a Christian, I do not pin my hopes on the life beyond this one as if to deny the significance of this life. Nor do I trust in self-generated concepts that are hollow and without foundation.

My confidence and hope is found in Jesus Christ. I commend Him to you.

Adam Dodds is senior pastor, Elim Church, Dunedin.


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