A Lexicon for Sunday’s “Christmas Collision”

Chris —  December 10, 2015

150yearlogo.jpgLuke gives the purpose of his gospel in his opening, “It seemed good to me . . . to write an orderly account for you. . .you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.” Luke 1:3-4.

Sunday’s sermon at The Red Brick Church will continue our series, A Confident Christmas.  This sermon will consider the inevitable collision between the Christian worldview and that of naturalism. Below are definitions and quotes I am providing our people on the sermon notes.

I so look forward to this sermon because the more we study Luke’s gospel, the more confident of the Christmas message we grow – – and the more we will respond with worship to our glorious Savior.


A Lexicon for Sunday’s Sermon

“The Christian says, ‘Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists. A baby feels hunger: well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim: well, there is such a thing as water. . .’” C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity.[1]

The Annunciation – The announcement by Gabriel to Mary (Luke 1:26-38) that she would be the mother of Jesus and that Jesus’ Kingdom would never end.

Dystopia / Dystopian – “An imagined place or state in which everything is unpleasant or bad, typically a totalitarian or environmentally degraded one.”[2]

Incarnation – The term literally means “in flesh.” It references when Jesus Christ, the second person of the Triune godhead, became humanity without ceasing to be deity. The Westminster Standards summarize, “Two whole, perfect, and distinct natures, the Godhead and the manhood, were inseparably joined together in one person, without conversion, composition, or confusion”: no conversion: God was not changed, no composition: a third hybrid was not formed that involved both deity and humanity, no confusion: deity and humanity are not a mixture.

Magnificat – The song of Mary found in Luke 1:46–55. This poem is in the style of the OT psalms, and is strongly reminiscent of the prayer of Hannah in 1 Samuel 2:1–10.[3]

Metanarrative – “An attempt to grasp the meaning and destiny of human history as a whole by telling a single story about it; to encompass, as it were, all the immense diversity of human stories in a single, overall story which integrates them into a single meaning.” Richard Bauckham[4]

Miracle – “I use the word Miracle to mean an interference with Nature by supernatural power.” C.S. Lewis[5] “Events which run contrary to the observed processes of nature.” J.D. Spiceland [6]

Naturalism – The belief that there is no God and that there is nothing after death.[7] Naturalism goes further than atheism because it offers a comprehensive view of life. A web definition reads “a philosophical viewpoint according to which everything arises from natural properties and causes, and supernatural or spiritual explanations are excluded or discounted.”

Nihilism – The rejection of all religious and moral principles, often in the belief that life is meaningless. If followed to their logical conclusions, non-Christian worldviews end in nihilism.

Theological liberalism[8]The religion which developed in the modern era built on the foundation of autonomous human reason (meaning humans can understand reality without God’s Word) which led to the denial of basic tenets of the faith such as the virgin birth, substitutionary atonement, authority of Scripture, imminent return of Christ, and bodily resurrection.

Worldview – A translation of the German term “weltanschauung” which reference the grid or lens through which people make sense of reality. The “collision” referenced in today’s sermon title is that of Orthodox Christianity with its belief in miracles and that of naturalism which insists that everything must be explained by natural processes.

[1] C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, vol. HarperCollins (San Francisco: Harper, 2001).

[2] “Dystopia,” Oxford Dictionaries, accessed December 11, 2015, http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/dystopia.

[3] B.J. Beitzel, “Magnificat,” in The Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible, ed. Walter A. Elwell (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1988), 1377.

[4] Richard Bauckham, The Bible and Mission: Christian Witness in a Postmodern World (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2003), 4.

[5] C. S. Lewis, Miracles, New edition edition (San Francisco: HarperOne, 2015), 5.

[6] J.D. Spiceland, “Miracles,” in The Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, ed. Walter A. Elwell (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1984), 723.

[7] Alvin Plantinga, Where the Conflict Really Lies: Science, Religion, and Naturalism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011), x.

[8] J. Gresham Machen, Christianity and Liberalism (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2009).

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