The Supremacy of Christ in a Postsecular World

Over the last 50 years, with the rise of (what sociologists call) secularism—that is, an ideology promoted by devotees (secularists) who encourage free-thinking people everywhere to work for religion’s demise–it was predicted that belief in God would soon be a thing of the past.

Contemporary science has (we were told), in effect, made the godly hypothesis unnecessary—God is out of a job—or he soon will be unemployed—there is nothing left for him to do or to explain. Fifty years ago, secularist predicted that religion would all but disappear by the 21st century.

But, now that we have arrived at the 21st century—the opposite has occurred—far from disappearing, religion is set to play a major role in the 21st century—influencing politics, the economy, the military, education, the family, and culture at large. Now sociologist admit that we live in a postsecular world—that is, we live in a world where religion exercises a significant influence in human affairs. —Religion is not going away!

But in this postsecular age, there lurks another trial and challenge to Christianity:

As Christians all over the world are now mingling and dealing with other religions and outlooks and points of view, now more than ever before—Jesus Christ becomes one among many. Jesus becomes one more option on the pluralist menu. And if we are not careful, we might lose our hold on Christ.

One story to illustrate:

John Hick, who recently died, was a leading philosopher and theologian of the 20th century who advanced and defended a religious view that has become quite popular today called Religious Pluralism. Early on, Hick identified himself as an evangelical Christian, but as he began to study and work with people of other faiths he realized two things: (1) followers of other faiths were just as saintly, if not more saintly than Christians and (2) adherents of other religions seemed to have just as genuine a religious experience as Christians do. So, the reality of a religious plurality led Hick to reject the literal truth of anyone religion—Hick said that all religions are literally false, but still meaningfully help the believer connect with the divine. He continued until he died to practice his pluralism from a Christian perspective, but Christ was, in Hick’s mind, truly one among many. (In fact, to secure his view, Hick had to deny that Jesus was fully God).

So, how do we firmly hold onto Christ in a postsecular age?

Answer: by meditating, considering, studying, and embracing the reality of Jesus Christ and his supremacy over all. Christ is supreme as Creator, Sustainer and Redeemer of all things. A great place to start thinking about the supremacy of Christ is the early Christian hymn about Jesus found in the apostle Paul’s letter to the Colossians, found in Colossians 1:15-20. In it we see Paul rapturously sing of the supremacy and glory of Christ.

For more, listen to my sermon on The Supremacy of Christ in a Postsecular Age.

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