Atonement,  Politics,  Sin

The Rise of the Pseudo-Cause: A Distraction From What’s Really Wrong

I remember taking part in a massive protest at my boarding school. Almost all of us refused to eat in the school canteen. It worked – we won. Our cause? To change the catering company of the school. That was it. We did not defeat communism, institute civil rights, or remove a dictator. We merely changed our menu (and, as far as I can recall, not by much).

Many people feel like they should have a big cause, some great evil to overturn, but can’t seem to find one. So they choose something that isn’t really a cause at all. They protest over nothing. Or, finding no evil of particular interest, they find a great good and call it evil. Not all causes are pseudo-causes, but at least some are.

The trouble is that we all have a great evil and it is generally not some system outside, but one right here… on the inside. This was what Jesus recognized in the Pharisees – though they wanted to live righteous lives, they had rotten hearts.

The same is true with us – we’re rotten to the core.

The problem with this cause–as opposed to the pseudo-causes we come up with–is that it is a lost one – we cannot hope to win. No amount of protest will bring down the power of a wicked heart.

But there is hope:

Though you cannot bring this power to heel, God can. He can because he can destroy the power of a wicked heart and set you free through the death of Jesus on the cross and his subsequent resurrection.

Assistant Professor of Philosophy and History of Ideas at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and The College at Southeastern.

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