Modern Challenges in Christianity
Randal D Dillow
REL/134 World Religious Traditions II
Professor William Sunday
April 13, 2015
Modern Challenges in Christianity
We are all familiar with the Christmas story: the child in the manger, the young mother, Mary, and her husband, Joseph, seeking shelter in the stable where they warmed by the breath of the beast. The word “epiphany” is used to commemorate the event of the wise men coming to the child; it means a showing forth, an unveiling. But what the “gospel depicted is not the revelation of a powerful king surrounded by a splendid court, or of any such symbol of power, which the world might recognize and respect. What is shown is a child, a week, and helpless infant in his mother’s arms. Christians are asked to look upon this infant, to believe he is the Son of God, the very image of God’s splendor, to recognize him as the Lord of history, the Messiah, the Savior, the Truth, the Way, the Life.” (Lott, B. (2010).
To the Christian, the wisdom of God contradicts the wisdom of the world and can well be called folly. As St. Paul says, “The foolishness of God is wiser than men and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” (Fisher, M. P. (2011). There are many Christian denominations with differing creeds, but they all share a faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God who came in the person of an infant, born in a small country during a time of oppression. Indeed, it does seem as a mysterious folly, one for which there can be no logical explanation, and one or which no one can offer any scientific verification.
The world is asked to accept the manifestation of God’s love, not in abstract terms, but in the full presence of a man in “our image and likeness,” one who can weep, suffer, bleed and die. This is the mystery that is shown to the world in the revelation of Jesus Christ, and Christmas believe it with awe, love and joy. The child in Mary’s arms is the Lord, the Son of God, and the one who holds the keys of the Kingdom. The message of his coming is that the Father loves us with a love so reckless that he gave mankind not a formula, a philosophy, a symbol to show the way of reconciliation, but his very own Son in the person of Jesus Christ. This is the mystery of the Incarnation. Christians celebrate and proclaim their faith in this revelation; they accept his lordship over their lives. They imitate the wise men and offer him their gifts, their faith, their gratitude, and their praise for all they have received from his hands. They bring him their joys and sorrows, the lifted chalice of their lives, the gold, incense and myrrh of all their days. They see the world as charged with his splendor, and they understand that their own poor weak and mortal selves are changed and forever blessed because of him, Jesus Christ the Messiah.
Christ’s divinity is still a stumbling block for many, as it was even in the beginning. Not until the year 325 A.D., during the Council of Nicea, did the Fathers of the Church face the question of weather Christ was of the same substance as God, or only of similar substance. There were some heretical movements, which attempted to mitigate the doctrine. Many of the bishops who participated at that council were old men, lame and disfigured from the persecutions of the Roman Emperor Diocletian. The issue was a vital one for them because they had all testified to its truth at great personal cost. They had seen parents, relatives, friends and brother-priest persecuted and killed for their faith in the divinity of Christ. This was the faith they had inherited from their forefathers. They knew what had been believed from the beginning by thousands upon thousands of Christians. When Diocletian demanded a renunciation of Christ, thousands went to their death in a most cruel fashion rather than deny this belief.
The formulation of this dogma was more than an exercise in theology; it was a living act of faithfulness to the World made...
References: Fisher, M. P. (2011). Living Religions (8th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.
Graves, M. F., Juel, C., & Graves, B. B. (2011). Teaching Reading in the 21st Century. Motivating All Learners (5th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education.
Lott, B. (2010). Multiculturalism and Diversity. A Social Psychological Perspective. Malden, MA: John Wiley & Sons Inc.
Molloy, M. (2013). Experiencing the World 's Religions. (6th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
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