Let us try to forget the word evangelical as a demographic description. Let us try to forget the word liturgy as a description of the boring church you grew up in. Let us try to forget the word doctrine as it was handled by the 19th century divine, the Rev. Dr. Snodgood, in three volumes.
When the fire falls, all of these things are glorious. When the glory departs, all of them are Ichabodian. It makes no sense to argue for the glory of the house after it has been left to us desolate.
When a certain doctrinal controversy broke a few years ago, it was necessary to take the firehose of grace to the doctrinal gnat-stranglers. But we have to always remember that — in Scripture — the firehose of grace sprays in a 360 degree radius, and not just 180, where those other guys are standing. We can get soaked pretty good too, and those standing with and near us the same.
The world is suffused with the glory of God; the world is sacramental. And when our sin causes Jesus to break fellowship with the rebellion, it is a dead sacramental to the rebels. What can we make dead by this means? Actually, what can’t we make dead? Doctrine, liturgy, processionals, cantatas, plans of salvation, gospel-as-story, you name it.
If we are to be faithful servants, we must speak the way the Bible speaks. We must attack what the Bible attacks, and defend what the Bible defends. If we do this, we must be prepared to be accused of being “unbalanced” and “unfair.” But as Peter Leithart wonderfully began Against Christianity, “I have written an unbalanced book. I have written an unfair book. I have written a fragmented book.” Amen, and let us have much more of it. And why?
If we are unbalanced, we might one day fall over into glory. If we are unfair, we might find that we are actually being unfair to all the hidden cheat codes of our unctuous religiosity. Forgiveness, after all, is pretty unfair. If we learn to scatter more fragments of grace, a second glance might reveal them all to have become diamonds the moment they left our hands.
Aslan is not a tame lion. Shift used that truth destructively, and to his own damnation, but it is still a truth for all that. We don’t care that God’s grace is not domesticated, and cannot be domesticated. We don’t care that God is not tame. He’s good, I tell you.
Think for a minute. Donne’s Holy Sonnet 14 has some wisdom for us. You want your worship and your devotion is spring up like a well? You want to be made new, you say? It cannot happen unless we invite Him to “break, blow, burn.” That line ends with “make me new.”
Do we mean it?