The Enlightenment and its Effect on the Church

The philosophie des lumieres, commonly known as the Enlightenment, continues to have a destructive effect on our church’s liturgy and life. Hans Kung ably summarizes what was lost with the emergence of the Enlightenment:

Order, hierarchy, authority, discipline, Church, dogma, faith, still highly esteemed in the seventeenth century, came to be detested in the eighteenth.[1]

A high view of Order, a high ecclesiology, a robust view of church discipline,[2] and a commitment to the Great Creeds of the faith and much more have been abolished from Protestant and Evangelical churches. The Enlightenment succeeded in that it continually brings autonomy from the academia to the church. Where there once was a Creed confessed by all, now there are pithy sayings meant to spur others to action; where once was discipline, now there is immediate leniency. This despicable alliance the church has made with the heirs of the Enlightenment will eventually lead to a cultish disassociation from her historical roots. If man can invent their own methods, sell their own strategies, and de-ecclesiasticize the church, then we can expect a diminishment of Orthodoxy.

Much of this refers back to the orderliness of the Garden. The Garden was created so that order would prevail. Perfect beauty was to invade the Garden and replenish all the earth. Since the Fall of man, disorder has reigned supreme. The Christian Church has through the Ages attempted to restore this Edenic Order. To a certain extent it has succeeded, though the church has seen the good, the bad, and the disorderly. In order to once again continue the path laid by our forefathers, we need to abolish any Enlightenment element from our churches and our worship, and return to that sacred space and sacred order. Where there is order, there is clarity. We have lost that clarity in this day and to capitulate to the Enlightenment is to lose all clarity.

 


[1]Kung, Hans, Does God Exist? Pg. 37.

[2] Considered by Calvin to be one of the marks of a true church.

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