Back to the Gospel

At the Covenant Theology blog, PL has published some comments related to yet another “Bible as psycho-analysis” book: Babbling tower of emotional health

Those who know me a bit knows that I am currently translating the work of one of the great Christian philosophers, Dr. H.G. Stoker from South Africa. Dr. Stoker is often mentioned in the same breath as Hermann Dooyeweerd and Abraham Kuyper. Dr. Stoker did not write large bodies of work, but published many shorter monologues, which were later published in two volumes.

Dr. Stoker surmises that these fads are the result of human-centric origins, in which the route traveled becomes the origin. The human needs-based “theology” similarly follows in the footsteps of other failed theological experiments. The failures are always due to the same thing, that these fashionable philosophies ultimately lose steam, and cannot sustain themselves. There is only one Origin, and when the route travelled strays from that path, and loses sight of that Origin, it collapses on itself, and the next fad will arise.

It is a tragedy that many churches have become materialistic self-help centers, that pastors have become wealth-and-health facilitators, that sermons have become sitcoms and that church attendees have become passive bystanders looking for worldly wisdom.

I have recently had a similar conversation with a close family member, who professed to be a big fan of Joel Osteen. I answered that Osteen was theologically shallow. He then charged that my “theology is archaic”, and that the church must renew itself to remain relevant in current culture, and that Osteen was a shining example of that.

If the Doctrines of Grace are seen as “archaic”, then I will freely plead guilty. Of the course the charge is false, truth is timeless, in fact, it has to be timeless, or it cannot be true. Cultural relevance has precious little to do with the Gospel, and much to do with eternal truth.

Or do we change the Gospel to fit the day? Never. The cry should be to always go back to the Gospel as the Origin.

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5 responses to “Back to the Gospel

  1. Osteen is “theologically shallow”???

    You were being too nice. 🙂 It appears as if both of us had patience put to the test…

  2. Hi – I’m thrilled to see you are translating some of Stoker’s work – is any of it available yet?

  3. Hi Steve,

    It is quite a process. Stoker, as did Dooyeweerd, made up their own terminology to get certain ideas across, and you have to try and understand the context to make sure you get an acurate translation done.

    Furthermore, the parts that I have finished need to go for review with his son, and/or with one of the other professors in South Africa.

    So I am sorry to say, I am busy, but there is nothing I can release yet. I am not the intellectual property right owner, so I cannot even publish an unofficial version.

    I have reserved a website name already, and I am hoping that I can publish some stuff there pretty soon, in the form of my own commentary on his thoughts. Check back often, I will include it in my links as soon as it is up and running.

  4. Hi Steve, I just received all of his works on CD a few weeks ago, and I’m busy working through it. I’ve translated the first chapter of one of his works, but it is a slow process. The context is what gets me, I need to understand it first to make sure I do justice to his intended meaning. So yes, there has been progress, but no, it is not ready for publication yet.

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