Saturday, March 13, 2010

Schaeffer on Humanity and Personality

Our book club is studying CM's Volume 6 Chapter 5 this month. I am getting ready to read it, but I only made it as far as the title before I remembered this quote.

One of the most thrilling ideas in _The God Who is There_ is the idea of personality-- both the personality of God and the personalities of His children. We are *specific*. We are not simply machines that receive input and deliver output, and He is not a generic, interchangeable god-- He is *the* God, and we are His people, and He relates to us in a personal way. Amazing condescension.

Here is the quote. It's pretty long, but such great stuff. If you only have time to read a portion, read the last paragraph:

When we use the phrase, 'it is only human,' we are usually referring to something sinful. In this sense, the Christian should feel a calling *not* to be 'human'; but in a more profound sense, the Christian is called to exhibit the characteristics of true humanity, because being a man is not intrinsically being a sinful man, but being that which goes back before the Fall, to man made in the image of God.

Therefore, Christians in their relationships should be the most *human* people you will ever see. This speaks for God in an age of inhumanity and impersonality and facelessness. When people look at us their reaction should be, "These are human people"; human because we know that we differ from the animal, the plant and the machine, and that personality is native to what has always been. This is not something only to put foreward intellectually-- when people observe us, their reaction should be: 'These *are* human people!'

If they cannot look upon us and say, 'These are real people,' nothing else is enough. Far too often young people become Christians and then search among the Church's ranks for real people, and have a hard task finding them. All too often evangelicals are paper people.

If we do not preach these things, talk about them to each other and teach them carefully from the pulpit and in the Christian classroom, we cannot expect Christians so to act. This has always been important, but it is especially so today because we are surrounded by a world in which personality is increasingly eroded. If we who have become God's children do not show Him to be personal in our lives, then in practice we are denying His existence. People should see a beauty among Christians in their practice of the centrality of personal relationships-- in the whole spectrum of life and in the whole culture. This is equivalent today, when many think both God and man are dead, to the songs of wonder and exultation in the Old Testament, sung because God is a living God and not a lifeless idol.

1 comment:

Randall said...

I like this sentence the most:

"If we who have become God's children do not show Him to be personal in our lives, then in practice we are denying His existence."