One Kevin Brown, guest writing at Mere Orthodoxy, asks “Would Alt-Right Christians Like Heaven?.” Transposed out of a political key, it’s a worthy question for everyone to ask: “Putting aside childish ideas of heaven as endless candy, ice cream and entertainment, would I even like heaven (except in contrast to the flammable alternative)?”
Brown distills it best here:
In his book “Notes from the Tilt-A-Whirl”—N.D. Wilson describes a casual dinner gathering where an atheist student, speaking to her Protestant professor dinner companion, bluntly raises the question or her eternal destiny.
“Do you think I’m going to hell?”
Equally blunt, the professor responds. “Don’t you want to? … God is who he is. Do you want to be with him?”
The question is equally relevant to us today. Eternity is not simply a matter of what we believe, it is also a matter of what we want.
It’s that basic question (though it had nothing to do with politics), posed to myself 22 years or so ago, that played a big part in my departure from the Protestant world, in which I discerned exceedingly little encouragement to what Brown accurately (in Protestant terms) calls “sanctification.” Salvation had been reduced to justification, with sanctification forgotten, and I had bought into that in practice (though I knew better in theory). A tradition so incorrigible about sliding back into antinominanism was not where I wanted to be.
Lots of things besides Alt-Right (or antifa, or [fill-in-the-blank]) politics can become obsessions incompatible with eternity in God’s presence.
Brown is affiliated with Asbury University, a conservative institution of Methodist affiliation. Conservative Methodists, at least doctrinally, have tended to be more heedful of the need for sanctification than Calvinism or mainstream Evangelicalism. And I say that as someone who was never a Methodist or in their general “Arminian” doctrinal family.
But in Orthodoxy, I found the fullness of the Christian faith, not just “more complete than parody Calvinism.”
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