Location: Southern Baptist Convention Pastor’s Conference, St. Louis MO Date: 1987 Scripture: Ecclesiastes 12:1-7
At the encroachment of subjectivity, dehumanization, and relative morality – as he calls it, “neo-paganism” – Carl Henry responds with the loud call to “Remember God” as depicted in the book of Ecclesiastes. Henry’s interpretation of Eccl 12:1-7 comes in the face of Bultmannian existentialism where objectivity lies in the “private decision” of man rather than in the creator God who knows all and has “published…[His commandments] in the life of Jesus Christ as our godly example.” The author of Ecclesiastes does not encourage such humanistic behavior but rather compares humanity to a house “beaten by the storms of life.” Christians need to take care to foster one’s mind, body, and spirit with “the great moral imperatives of the living God” before death and the pagan agenda crash upon the house with such force that the relatively minor remnants of Christian ideas are washed out to sea and lost forever. Henry’s insights continue to be welcome encouragement to those seeking to engage contemporary postmodern and post-Christian agendas that challenge Christians and churches to replace God with humanity as ultimate authority.
“Danger today is not so much that we take what the Bible obviously means as figurative to be literal but rather that some will take what the Bible takes to be historical as non-historical. It is not the American Evanglicals but Bultmann and those German existentialists who reduce the Gospels to nothing but myth and metaphor.”
“Remember him [God] before the pagan option has encroached itself on your life so that it seems almost natural to go with it and to cast aside…the Christian alternative.”
“It is accounting time for the neo-pagan who says there is no god, who says there is no objective moral order, who says there is no linear meaning to history, who says that everything is subjective and perspectival – it is accounting time. Remember, he says, to us and to a generation that has put distance between itself and the Judeo-Christian option. That the final meeting is spirit to spirit with him who made us for himself. Amen.”
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