Some may have inferred from my previous post that not much is gained from Carson’s ‘The Gagging of God.’ That is just not true. Apart from the fantastic and novel title - the Gagging of God. Which pictures for some the handkerchief stuffed in the mouth of God to prevent him speaking to us – and well, it may just be that on a postmodernistic reading of the bible because the bible on their hermeneutic just ends up being what they want to hear. But really the gagging also picks up Revelation 3 where man’s behavior in the church at Laodicea elicits from God a gagging – and he spews them out of his mouth. But there are other gems in this great tome. On page 467-468 he talks about how a missionary told him of his release from his background of an abusive father which had left him with a distorted view of Father, and found it difficult to give and receive love, especially about feeling the love of Christ, a release which came about by a practice called “rebirthing”. How pastorally sensitive is Carson by affirming he is glad his life is more integrated and then with great insight pointing out that this person has settled for something second best, as best and at worst he has been seduced by idolatry. Boy, those are tough words, but in a context of expressed care for the man. Carson says
My dear brother, all the emotional catharsis. All the tears, all the healing integration, might well have been yours along biblical lines. …. [ sadly] the fact of the matter is that you now associate your emotional release not with the cross, but with rebirthing techniques. You will be less inclined to think of the gospel as that which is the power of God unto salvation. You will think of the gospel as providing some sort of pardon, and rebirthing techniques as providing healing, power, restoration. All the associational links are wrong. They are diverting. They bring you some measure of relief, while distracting you from the cross.” Pg 468-469.The danger of postmodernism, along with biblical illiteracy are two major dangers facing the present church. But what of the therapeutic understanding where sin and salvation are interpreted in terms of solely healing me and my problems instead of Christ making me right with God? As Carson says “the therapeutic culture, designed to make people feel helped, has taken over.” As the Scriptures remind us, Christ has given us all we need for life and godliness. The ramifications of that, are worth pondering.