Today is Veteran’s day in America, it is the day that we remember all the fallen people who have died to protect our rights but also celebrate those rights. As a Christian, I despise war and violence but I am thankful for these leaders because the world is not yet Christ’s Kingdom. But that does not mean I stop working on telling others about the gospel and caring for others. Today besides Veteran’s day I think it is important to remember the death of a great Christian leader, Soren Kierkegaard, today marks the day he died. As Christians we stand on a whole cloud of witness and with the way the election turned out Kierkegaard can teach us a lot. He was the influence of two great theologians that we as protestants love, Karl Barth who then influenced Dietrich Bonheoffer. These two men’s views for Christianity are influential to us today; but before them was the great Kierkegaard. I am not for sure if they will admit it but Evangelicals have to remember Kierkegaard is an influence on their own theology. Contemporary theologians that express this influence more than others are Stanley Hauerwas, John Piper, Jurgen Moltmann, and Tom Wright, David Platt, I would even say Pope Francis, and these are just a few.
This blog post is for us to reflect just on one line from a book Kierkegaard wrote. As protestants we have neglected Apostolic succession but we must reclaim it and realize that there are people before us that proclaimed this message. Our message is not individualistic like some of our brothers and sisters want to say. It is not about “I” it is about a community that stands before us, after us, and with us now always. Christ is with us “always to the end of the age” (Matt 28:18-20). But not only Christ but all who follow Him. We must stand strong, and remember our successors of our faith the good and the bad, our future leaders. and our current leaders in the church.
The book, “Attack on Christendom,” is about Kierkegaard responding to a professor who said a priest was a witness to the truth. Kierkegaard hated this and was like no this priest was not a witness to the truth of the gospel. Kierkegaard struggled when people ignored the New Testament outlook on suffering. We have made it too easy to follow Jesus since the rise of Constantine. If you know me personally I am the same exact way and I feel as if we have neglected the New Testament all together in our Christian world view.
This is a paraphrase and not for sure his exact words but, “Can one claim to be a Christian in a Christian nation? Heck, even animals in our Christian state are Christians.” We have emerged and forced our own beliefs on others and changed the government to “Christian.” Kierkegaard wanted Christendom to be destroyed in his life time but now it is collapsing and it is the GREATEST thing for the Christian church.
The reason for this is that now everyone can see that Christians are different and these crazy people are willing take up their crosses, they are willing to die for their enemies, and they are willing to give up their own salvation if that means others can be free. When we step back and think Richard Dawkins and the “four horsemen of the apocalypse” are actually functionally Atheistic-Christians and do not even realize it. Our culture is so embedded into the Christian faith that as a society we do not even realize that we are “Christian” but we ignore the core issue and that is the part of Christ’s suffering and he tells us that we will suffer. Suffering is a part of the Christian nature.
Can we as Christians actually thrive in a nation that is slowly drifting away from Christendom? Can we actually take our witness or we have bound ourselves up here in America as Democrats and Republicans? Or the real words “conservative/the religious right, moral majority,right leaning, or ruralites” or the “liberal, progressive, left leaning people, or urbanites.” Whichever title/label you want to call yourself it does not matter as a Christian. We participate in Christ and look to him for our answers not worldly powers. Stand strong and welcome the era of without Christ that means we must proclaim Him even more.
We should take Christ seriously and actually realize we follow a God that took the book of Isaiah to the core of his message. Isaiah was instrumental to Jesus’ ministry and the Christians that came after him. Which means as Christians the most important book of the Old Testament we need to take serious is Isaiah. Besides just reading the three gospels my liberal friends and ignoring John gospel’s read Isaiah along with it. My conservative friends quit reading Paul’s epistles more and reading only John’s gospel read alongside these with Isaiah.
Today we celebrate our Veterans who sacrificed themselves for our nation. But will you also join me in celebrating the life of Soren Kierkegaard, he is part of our cloud of witness and a lot of our theology is owe to him. He was a man of God that collapsed on a street while walking and three to five weeks later died on today’s date. God is the same yesterday as He is today, but we take upon the suffering and we drink of his cup because we are like Christ (Matt. 5:11, 10:22,16:24, 20:22, Mark 10:38, Mark 13:13, Luke 9:23, Luke 21:17, John 15:21 2 Timothy 3:12). Will you join me in the joyous community of Christ? Will you join the movement that welcomes death because we are not scared. Because we realize in Nik Ripken’s language “we have a hope in the resurrection!” Which this resurrection is not a onetime sealed deal it is an ongoing process that you murder yourself daily! Embrace the need that as Christians we have neglected the New Testament theme. Embrace the truth that we need to reclaim this truth. Why have we neglected this great document of ours!