Items posted on 11 January 2011
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Mark 10.13-16 and John 3.5-7 – Faith in an age of skepticism
Posted: 11 January 2011 in John, Mark

And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.

Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

Although skepticism can be useful, especially when listening to politicians, if it starts being lauded as something always desirable, it stops being a useful tool, and becomes a corrosive acid. You do not have to spend very long listening to the new atheists to realise that a corrosive acid is precisely what it has become in their minds.

In the above passage from Mark, Jesus emphasises the need for a trust, such as that a child has for its parent, in our relationship with God. In the early twenty first century we live in a culture where skepticism is thought to be sophisticated, and trust is always thought naive. Such an atmosphere undermines all relationships, but especially that with God.

It does seem unlikely that we would be able to escape our cultural conditioning, unless our hearts were touched by God and we were remade by him from within – or, as John puts it, unless we are born of God. Spiritual rebirth is clearly something which only God can bring about; it doesn’t necessarily have to be accompanied by fireworks, but it does have to happen. It is a gift and a privilege to be called by God, and we have every reason to be thankful to him for it.

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