Loving the World

by Michael Potemra


I’m reading Michael Horton’s new thousand-page work of Reformed Protestant systematics, The Christian Faith: A Systematic Theology for Pilgrims on the Way, and, 90 pages in, I’m impressed with the author’s level of engagement with modern and post-modern thought, and his accessible, lucid style. Here he is, for example, on Nietzsche’s critique of the life-denying element in Christianity:

Nietzsche loves the real world of ever-changing dynamism over Plato’s realm of unchanging forms, but God loves this world more. In fact, in joy he created its diverse forms of life and his providence keeps history’s ever-moving, ever-changing dynamism in play. It was not by the self’s escape from this world and embodiment to achieve union with the upper world, but by God’s becoming flesh that salvation has been brought to the earth.

I am personally rather attached to the specific form of Christianity to which Nietzsche was objecting — the Pietist/Carmelite desire for transcendence to what appears to be darkness but is actually the fullness of uncreated light. Horton, in contrast, forcefully restates the traditional Protestant case for understanding Christianity as a genuinely, unapologetically world-affirming religion. (To get an idea of the author’s style and approach, check out some of the audio materials on his ministry’s website, White Horse Inn.)

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