While reading The Gospel-Driven Life by Michael Horton, I came across a provocative quote from Dorothy Sayers, the late English playwright, mystery novelist, poet and essayist. Sayers writes,
Official Christianity, of late years, has been having what is known as “a bad press.” We are constantly assured that the churches are empty because preachers insist too much upon doctrine—”dull dogma,” as people call it. The fact is the precise opposite. It is the neglect of dogma that makes for dullness. The Christian faith is the most exciting drama that ever staggered the imagination of man—the drama is the dogma. . . . This is the dogma we find so dull—this terrifying drama of which God is the victim and the hero. If this is dull, then what, in Heaven’s name, is worth being called exciting? The people who hanged Christ never, to do them justice, accused Him of being a bore—on the contrary; they thought Him too dynamic to be safe. It has been left for later generations to muffle up that shattering personality and surround Him with an atmosphere of tedium. We have very efficiently pared the claws of the Lion of Judah, certifying Him “meek and mild,” and recommended Him as a fitting household pet for pale curates and pious old ladies. . . .
That God should play the tyrant over man is the dismal story of unrelieved oppression; that man should play the tyrant over man is the usual dreary record of human futility; but that man should play the tyrant over God and find Him a better man than himself is an astonishing drama indeed. Now we may call that doctrine exhilarating or we may call it devastating; we may call it revelation or we may call it rubbish; but if we call it dull, then words have no meaning at all.
Dorothy Sayers, Creed or Chaos, as quoted in The Gospel Driven Life by Michael Horton, pp. 63-64
This is a very powerful message.
“If this is dull, then what, in Heaven’s name, is worth being called exciting?” wrote Sayers. And she’s right.There is nothing more exciting.
But, if the drama of the Christian faith doesn’t excite us, if it doesn’t captivate us, what is wrong in our hearts?
What will remind us of the grandness of the gospel?
For me, reading Hebrews over the past month, a book saturated by visions of God’s majesty, has been a helpful reminder of this:
Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.
Hebrews 1:1-4 (ESV)
Jesus, the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of His nature, upholds the universe by with but a word.
This is the One who came to reconcile us to God. It’s mind-boggling. It’s awe-inspiring.
And if it doesn’t excite us, “what, in Heaven’s name is worth being called exciting?”