Friday, November 06, 2009

Another Emerging Church

There are teachings and teachers who reinvent the Person of Jesus Christ so dramatically that their portrayal of Christ is no longer authentic. There are those who deny His deity and make Him just a good man. Some deny His literal death and resurrection and make Him and His life a metaphor for life principles. There are some who deny He even existed at all. We call those teachings apostate since they have left the teachings of Scripture and no longer present the true gospel, or they have burdened the gospel core with so many other unnecessary artifacts that it has become another religion and not Christianity, even while the words that would make them Christian are buried deep within their teachings and can be excavated if given enough time and energy.

I am not attempting to be melodramatic here, but I have seen a shocking increase in ministries and blogs that have left the gospel almost entirely. The ones of which I speak would be orthodox in their statements of faith, but they have completely left the gospel building. And just as they would accuse men like Rick Warren of having one thing in his statement of faith but practicing something quite different, so do these blogs.

The specific trend I have seen are blogs that claim to be Christian but now have become secular stations that deal with moral and right wing political issues. They can no longer be considered Christian, and in fact, they have left Christianity for another gospel and another message. They are consumed with political issues and not just issues of abortion or gay rights, but monetary issues and taxes and illegal aliens, all of which they project in a decidedly unchristian tone, and in some cases, an unchristian position.

It is sad to see how the western church has succumbed to seducing spirits and left their first love. And this current propensity can be seen even among those who call themselves “discernment ministries”. The sirens of politics are being successful in luring ministries away from Jesus Christ and His redemption into the constant harangue of carnal battles over positions about almost everything. These blogs chaperone elected officials and are quick to pounce upon their votes and positions with little or no weight given to their spiritual standing or profession of faith. In essence they critique people and issues as if there were not an eternal stake in their lives.

This stems primarily from an unwholesome love of a particular country and a complaining spirit, as well as a rejection of the sovereignty of God, at least in large part. But it has slowly led unsuspecting readers into becoming entangled with the affairs of this world, compromising their testimony for Jesus Christ. Paul warned, “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier”. What affairs was Paul referring to? Since the Scriptures command us to work and do all the things that apply to surviving in this life, Paul must have meant getting involved in the schemes of men as they attempt to change the world without Christ.

You will notice that the unbeliever does not get involved with the affairs of the gospel, and in fact, he rejects it. So why then do we as believers feel it necessary to get involved with the affairs of the ungodly and the unbeliever? Two reasons. First, as I have already observed, is a sanctification of a country in our hearts. How blasphemous it is to display an American flag in our places of worship? And to add sacrilege upon sacrilege many churches pledge allegiance to that flag on Fourth of July celebrations (another heresy). When God provides something to help further His kingdom, He never desires His followers to fall in love and pledge allegiance to His provision. The distressing homage that some believers pay to the place in which they were born providentially compromises and dilutes the gospel. This has presented to the world a nationalistic hubris that suggests that the Creator has some affection for America, even above every other country. The truth is God has no affection for any country, only people, about whom He is no respecter of their race, gender, or national origin.

But the reason that so many “orthodox” blogs have strayed and are no longer Christian is for one obvious reason – they refuse to imitate Jesus. One can be so very orthodox in your theology but so unlike Jesus. Isn’t that a mindboggling truth? We can become so enamored with our systematic theology, etched out so precisely and orderly, that we have birthed a box full of doctrinal puzzle pieces that we suggest is Jesus. Some of these harsh, nationalistic bloggers should be thankful that some of these emergent men are not orthodox in their theology. They should be jumping for joy that Mother Theresa wasn’t a solid evangelical Calvinist. Why? Because some of these bloggers would be exposed as frauds when compared with these people; if they were orthodox in their theology.

What's in a name? that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet;

Juliet understands that Romeo is not a Capulet and is of the house of Montague, both at odds with each other. But her point is “What is in a name?” Romeo is who he is regardless of his last name, Montague.

Peruse the internet and you will find the phenomenon called blogs from almost every kind of genre. But let us constrict it to the assortment that call themselves “Christian”. There are devotional blogs, political blogs, theological blogs, chat room blogs, teaching blogs, personal blogs, discernment blogs, and other types of blogs that would consider themselves Christian. Of course the word “Christian” is a wide and catch all description that is sometimes accurate as it pertains to a blog, but other times it is just a seemingly non-functional tag that is nothing more than a tortured talisman.

In order for a blog to be Christian it must be…well…Christian. It should be Biblical and it should project the Person and Spirit of Jesus Christ in its tone and its calling. That definition in and of itself probably makes many blogs short of living up to being Christian. And if we cannot even agree upon what being Christian means, then we are all emergents. But we should know at least the basics of what a written revelation of the life of Jesus Christ would look like, and even while admitting no blogs are perfect in their Christ reflection, there are some who cannot be considered Christian even though they would claim a spiritual kinship to the reformers.

Any blog that searches news sources to find dirt about people, lost and saved, is not Christian. I am not speaking of blogs that deal with doctrinal issues and teachings, I am speaking of blogs that revel in regurgitating negative things about any and everybody. And some add their own giddy “I told you so’s” just to sprinkle some effervescent self righteousness. These blogs are void of grace, void of redemption, and void of any hint of the Person of Christ. And they not only draw like minded people to them, they reinforce and energize the same self righteousness in their readers.

You may call it “discernment”, but gossip by any other name is still gossip. And you may read an article such as this and see that these gossipers have a mental cache that incubates and cures like a fine piece of meat, and when the time is right, they heave out the record of people’s sins and juxtapose them against any present circumstances to provide a platform for sarcasm and “I told you so” to the applause of many. Of course these people wail loudly when others bring their past sins forward against them, oh yea, their sins are under the blood but the sins of others are fair game for a wolf-like re-digestion. These blogs and their magisterium are an affront to the cause of Christ and they represent the darkest underbelly of the evangelical world.

They rejoice in spreading the personal failures of others and they have taken on the carnal mantle of the sower, broadcasting the seed of judgment and demeaning attacks that excite the flesh of those who enjoy using people as piƱatas and by that reinforce their own confidence in themselves. It’s quite a clique, and the show combines amounts of satire, comedy, hate, self righteousness, and an array of news articles about everyone who has the “approved target” painted on their backs. And if you were a fly on the wall at many churches you just may hear such a gossip feast being consumed after church in the halls, the parking lots, and the local eatery. Sorry, people, but this isn’t discernment, this is gossip and it is a cancer of the flesh.

I hope and pray that some of you will see this for what it is and repent and avoid such viciousness. Here are a few things to look for if a blog is not pursuing the redemption of Christ:

* Do they demean and castigate the President?
* Do they call people creative demeaning names?
* Do they link to secular news articles that keep a record of people’s sins?
* Do they make morality their cause at the expense of the gospel?
* Are they strongly political?
* Have they made America an idol?
* Do they delete comments with which they disagree?
* Do women berate ordained pastors?

Yes, the blog hyperbolically named “crosstalk” is one of the more egregious examples of such a blog, but they are by no means an isolated case. And even blogs that are not nearly so appalling as CR but link to and approve of such spiritual horror are complicit, enabling, and on some level culpable as well. The devil isn’t confined to deceiving the emergent church; he continues to deceive across the board and targets all of us. The two greatest deceptions are related:

One deception removes redemption from the doctrinal statement.

The other removes redemption from their lives.
Both are emerging.


mrs k said...

"A rejection of the sovereignty of God" as seen in the convenient forgetfulness of some that anyone who bows in repentance at the foot of the Cross has a huge debt of sin canceled (forgiven) by the grace and mercy of Jesus' redemptive work there. The forgiven sinner is admonished by Christ in Matthew 18:21-35 to extend that same grace, mercy, and forgiveness to others. As you put it, to project the Person and Spirit of Jesus Christ. A Sovereign God will have the final say on a lifetime practice of refusing to do so.

I join you in prayer, Rick, that this post bring revelation and conviction to readers.

Anonymous said...

The "blog hyperbolically named 'crosstalk'" would be better named "drosstalk."

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