Friday, June 12, 2009

Please Understand the Situation

II Tim.4:3-4 – For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

Col.2:8 – Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments (principles) of the world, and not after Christ.

There is a man who is an up and coming phenomenon in the emergent church movement. His name is Peter Rollins and he is from Belfast, Ireland with a degree in philosophy. I would like to present to you some of his teachings that I have gleaned from some of his interviews and writings. You are welcome to google his name and peruse his teachings for yourself. Here are a few meanderings that are accurate representations of his overall theology.


“The desire to get a God’s-eye view of the world is reflected throughout history in theology, mythology and philosophy. In much of the Western intellectual tradition there’s a strong desire to name and capture God in conceptual form. I am trying to explore the ancient idea that God transcends all names. We can’t reduce God to a theological idea without making an idol out of words. Instead of thinking of God as a noun it is perhaps more useful to think of God as a verb. For God is known through action.”

“We see this in the word "doxology" which doesn’t mean belief, but rather worship. So orthodoxy actually means correct praise not correct belief. In that kind of a way, it becomes less about the affirmation of a theological approach—important as theology is—but a way of being like Jesus. We have to rediscover this idea that orthodoxy isn’t belief -oriented but praxis-oriented.”

“To bring love into the world is to know God, for God is love. This is not the knowledge of creeds and theology but the knowledge of a transforming relationship with the source of all love. Truth in Christianity is thus different from the way we understand truth in the world, for the truth of Christianity is life, not description.”

“The parable of the mustard seed grasps this. It speaks of a seed becoming a tree that will provide a nest of birds. The traditional interpretation is that this tiny movement will become an institution that will house people. But then there is another interpretation which says that the birds of the air are symbols of evil. In this reading, the movement will grow into an institution that will house that which stands opposed to God. What if neither interpretation is true but rather they both are?”

"In other words I don’t think we experience the truth of Christianity but the truth of Christianity is hinted at in the renewed way we experience everything else. In this way the truth of faith is not one thing among other things but rather is that which brings us into new relationship with all things. The way we explore this within Ikon is by attempting to create a gathering in which Christianity is not fundamentally about an understanding or experience but rather a way of being and interacting in the world."

Taken from here.

"Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for joining us this evening at our intimate, humble gathering. Take a seat, make yourselves comfortable and prepare yourselves. Tonight we would like to share a secret with you, a sacred secret that must be kept strictly between us. To be honest it is a secret which cannot be told, for it cannot be understood or even experienced, but only birthed within us and lived through us. Nonetheless this evening is a futile but necessary attempt to place this sacred secret into some kind of language, for language is the only messenger we know, fallen angel though it may be.

My first encounter with this secret occurred a number of years ago while I was walking home, late one evening. As I weaved my way through the half-dead trees that inhabited a piece of wasteland connecting my origin to my destination I heard an inner voice calling my name. I stood still and listened intently to what I took to be nothing less than the solemn, silent voice of God. As I stood there, rooted to the ground, God spoke to me, repeating four simple words, “I do not exist”"

Taken from here.

"You sit in silence contemplating what has just occurred. Moments before you had been alive and well, then the screech of brakes and the darkness. Now you stand in line waiting for your call to stand before the judgment seat of God. As you reflect upon the last moments on earth your name is called and you find yourself in a huge room facing an awesome throne. Sitting on this huge throne is a breathtaking being who looks intently at you before speaking, ‘My name is Lucifer the angel of light’

You are immediately filled with fear and trembling. ‘I have cast your God from His throne and banished Christ to the realm of eternal death. I hold the keys to the kingdom, I am the gatekeeper of paradise and it is for me to decide who shall enter and who shall be forsaken’.
Then he stretches out his vast arms, ‘In my right hand I hold eternal life and in my left I hold death. For those who would bow down and acknowledge me as Lord I shall let them pass through the gates of paradise, but for those who refuse I will vanquish them to death with their Christ’

"After a pause he moves his arms so that each of his hands are placed before you, ‘What do you choose’?"

Taken from here.

"What if one of the core elements of a radical Christianity lay in a demand that we betray it, while the ultimate act of affirming God required the forsaking of God? And what if fidelity to the Judeo-Christian scriptures demanded their renunciation? In short, what if the only way of finding faith involved betraying it with a kiss? By employing the insights of apophatic theology and deconstructive theory this book seeks to explore the subversive and clandestine nature of a Christianity that dwells within religious institutions while simultaneously undermining them."

Taken from here.

At the outset please note the absence of any mention of the cross and resurrection. And anyone with a semblance of impartiality can see that Rollins has dramatically reinvented Christianity and presented it as a set of works rather than a born again experience by believing on the Risen Christ. Missing among all the philosophical gibberish is the gospel itself, and yet millions of professing Christians have accepted his “message” because he is emergent and endorsed by men like Rob Bell and Doug Pagitt.

I will not insult your Biblical intelligence by an elongated comparison with his words and the Word of God. But I wanted to present you with just a small sample of evidence of this man’s spiritual position along with the men who endorse him. And the tragic issue is that many believers who are already enamored with a man like Rob Bell will not even give an impartial assessment of these aberrant views. In fact, there is no statement and no teaching so Biblically deviant that some cannot manipulate them to say what they obviously do not say. Many lack even the most elementary discernment concerning redemptive truth because they have become followers of men rather than followers of Jesus and His Word. This is not due to any deeper duplicity or evil intentions in their beings; it is simply due to a profound deception as to what is happening and their complicity in this falling away. I alternate between anger and a deep sorrow.

The immeasurable tragedy has gained momentum through both the weariness of orthodox Christianity and the modern allurement of everything new and spiritually inclusive. There is little reasoning with those already caught adrift in this post modern tide, and it becomes somewhat irrelevant to some when we address even the most doctrinally violent teachings of men who have garnered emergent credentials. To be sure we must guard against any hint of haughtiness or hubris, and we ourselves must never believe we have arrived and are licensed to sit and evaluate all others but ourselves.

Pray and watch both for the deceived and ourselves.
The apostasy has long since gained a beachhead and moves forward with lightning speed. God help us…


Jon Daley said...

Hi Rick. While I do think it important to point out doctrinal errors, I wanted to put in one comment about watching yourself, and only you can know where you are on this -- at least until you are posting things like this every hour, and then I'll either be back to write again or stop reading... :)

I have seen other bloggers turn into a "watchdog" blogger of sorts, where it seems that they go out of their way to find people to talk about, and I haven't really found that edifying or useful.

I guess it partly has to do with confronting the person directly, and in person, which seems to me to be a better model (I've seen various "debates" on controversial topics by way of people writing books, or speaking about the other person when they are invited to speak, and in each case, when you hear the one side, it sounds quite good, and they talk about how the other didn't pay attention to such and such a point, and it goes back and forth for years, with no end in sight)

So, anyway, I'm all for standing for truth, and having opinions on things, so I'm not trying to say "let's just all get along and let people believe and teach whatever they want to", but just wanted to mention it for your consideration.

paula said...

"I alternate between anger and a deep sorrow." As do I, Rick.

I thank you for having the conviction and courage to expose the deception. And, too, for doing so with grace.

While I understand Jon's comment, having read far too many increasingly bitter repudiations (of both emergent and prophetic) by the "watchdog" bloggers, I do not find that to be your attitude or purpose. I appreciate the simple truth and fair warning you offer.

"To be sure we must guard against any hint of haughtiness or hubris, and we ourselves must never believe we have arrived and are licensed to sit and evaluate all others but ourselves."

To be sure, indeed.

Thank you for these posts.