What does a ‘Sola Powered Faith’ and ‘Concrete’ have in common?
It’s a strange question but considering the recent events surrounding the short-lived career as Essendon’s CEO, Andrew Thorburn’s pressured resignation demonstrates two present-day threats, especially for Christian leaders.
- Wokeness can be external, attempting to erode a Faith Foundation from outside. (See ‘Waves of Wokeness Lapping at a Firm Foundation’)
- Wokeness can be internal, attempting to retard/spoil a Faith Foundation from within.
Surprisingly, the Andrew Thorburn issue might be a combination of the two. Put simply, Andrew Thorburn was previously a former chief of the National Australia Bank and is the first ASX-listed Top 10 company CEO to run an AFL club. Essendon President David Barham described Thorburn as “a man of great integrity and exceptional vision”. The only problem is, he is also a Christian who attends an Anglican church that believes the life of an unborn baby is precious and should be protected, and that God’s plan for a healthy family includes a loving marriage between a woman and a man.
But if the Melbourne ‘woke’ media and their Premier are to be believed, these ‘views’ make a person ineligible to run a football club. So, Andrew Thorburn had to make a choice, his footy or his faith? As a result of his convictions, Essendon lost ‘the game’ that day and potentially their ‘best off-field player’ as well. In the short term, it cost him his profession as the next CEO of his favourite football team. The external eroding effects of wokeness on a firm foundation are plain to see, but what is meant by the retarding effects of wokeness from within?
Firstly, what does a ‘Sola Powered Faith’ and ‘Concrete’ have in common?
Let’s start with a quick lesson in Concrete. What are the essential elements in a mixture of concrete? And what is its purpose?
- Portland Cement (10-15%) and
- Water (15-20%) makes a paste. This paste is then mixed with,
- Aggregates (65-75%) such as sand and gravel, or crushed stone.
- Steel can be added for extra re-enforcing.
As the cement and water mix, they harden and bind the aggregates into an impenetrable rock-like mass, suitable to form a strong foundation called concrete. This is the outcome, every time unless the mix is sabotaged with a foreign compound like sugar acting as a retarding agent which disrupts the chemical process from occurring.
The retarding effect of sugar mixed with concrete will spoil the whole batch from fulfilling its purpose, which is to set hard and provide a strong foundation. So, what does this have in common with a Sola Powered Faith?
Approximately 500 years ago, out of the Protestant Reformation emerged the five essential points of Christian belief known as ‘The Five Solas’. These Latin slogans serve as a short summary of the core beliefs that mark Biblical Christianity from other ideologies that could retard the Christian faith. They serve as a firm foundation for Christian learning and life.
What are the 5 essential elements in a Sola Powered Faith?
- Sola Gratia – Grace alone. Our relationship with God is initiated by His grace alone; His mercy and forgiveness are undeserved, but lovingly provided.
- Sola Fide – Faith alone. Our relationship with God is through faith alone; trusting in His payment for our sin by Jesus’s death and resurrection. This settles our debt once and for all and is not earned by our good works or boasting.
- Solus Christus – Christ alone. Our relationship with God is in Christ alone; no one else and nothing else can restore us to a right relationship with our Maker.
- Sola Scriptura – Scripture alone. Our relationship with God is according to the scriptures alone; there are no additional texts, man-made rules or ideologies that are necessary for saving faith. The Bible is sufficient.
- Soli Deo Gloria – The Glory of God alone. Our relationship with God is for His glory alone; He chose, actioned, and sustains our faith in Him, therefore, He alone receives the gratitude and thanks.
The retarding effect of ‘woke’ ideology mixed with Sola Powered Faith will, like sugar mixed with concrete, spoil the faith from carrying out its purpose which is to provide and maintain a strong faith foundation.
Unfortunately, some in the church haven’t yet understood this and instead believe that if Christians somehow embrace wokeness, they might still be viewed ‘acceptable’ by secular society. It didn’t work out that way for Andrew Thorburn though. It was the journalist James Morrow, from the Outsiders programme, who stated that “the Andrew Thorburn resignation is an attack on western civilisation.”
Another journalist Rowan Dean went on to say, “There’s a lesson here for the church as well. When he was the chairman at the NAB, Andrew Thorburn pushed the whole ‘woke’ …. agenda to the hilt and a lot of people were thinking this might be going against Christian values, while others in the church went along with this. Well, here’s what happens to you guys, if you sacrifice your principles and you go along with this stuff, then you’ve got nowhere left to stand. It’s your own fault, I would argue.” A chilling observation from a journalist who’s recognised the retarding effect of wokeness on the Christian faith.
In his recent bestselling book “Christianity and Wokeness”, Dr Owen Strachan declared – “The wokeness that emerged from the social unrest of 2020 has swept through schools, businesses, and even sports. Driven by the radical ideologies of Critical Race Theory and intersectionality, it has destabilised public and private life – including the Church.”
Maybe Owen and Rowen are both on to something similar here, other than just the last 4 letters of their first names!
Well-meaning Christians might imagine that blending wokeness with Christian morals is the answer to the problem, but it’s not. As the short-term CEO from Essendon can testify, it works about as well as mixing sugar with concrete! Instead of strengthening the Christian foundation as a witness to the world, it has a weakening effect. Fortunately, Andrew Thorburn ended up choosing Christ over his career, and now his Christian conviction is admired by many.
So, what does a ‘Sola Powered Faith’ and ‘Concrete’ have in common?
- They are both intended to be strong but can be eroded from the outside and spoiled from within.
- Unless your concrete truck is broken down, don’t put sugar in your concrete mix, because you’ll end up with a jelly foundation rather than a strong foundation.
- And, if you want a strong faith foundation, avoid wokeness and go ‘Sola’. It might cost you in the short term but will save you in the long run. It’s why a ‘Sola Powered Faith’ is essential for authentic Christian living.
“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:13-16 ESV)
Andrew Lucas, Acting Head of Christian Studies.