Per Fidem Intrepidus means "Fearless Through Faith". My courage isn't my own, it comes from the Holy Spirit, it's my faith in God and my personal savior Christ Jesus that calms my fears and allows me to move forward in this fallen world. Personally I'm afraid of a lot of stuff, but having the faith that Jesus adopted me as his little, sin filled, brother keeps me going.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Emergent Monday - Do These Sheep Smell Like Dogs To You Too?

In the emerging culture, darkness represents spirituality. We see this in Buddhist temples, as well as Catholic and Orthodox churches. Darkness communicates that something serious is happening. - Dan Kimball The Emerging Church: Vintage Christianity for New Generations
4 But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief; 5 for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness (1 Thes 5:4-5)
Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” (John 8:12)
Is it just me or once upon a time could we actually walk into a Christian church and hear the word of God preached without apology? Having grown up in a liturgical church a lot of God's word was lost in pomp and ceremony, but I knew that his word was in there somewhere hidden among the candles and processions. As I matured I found that most of what I was raised on was exclusive to my Roman Catholicism, and imagine my surprise when I joined the USAF and found out a missal (missle) was more than just a book with Latin on the left page and English on the right. Back then it seemed like there was two kinds of Christian faith; Roman Catholic and everything else, but regardless of church, God's word reigned over all. As my horizons expanded I found this was an overly simplified view but I did expect that in each church, with a few exceptions, that Biblical scripture would be the predominant word du jour and that the End Times was a very far away. 

However several years ago things changed. Churches started getting bigger and bigger, Robert Schuller is one of the first Mega-Church ministers and built a crystal cathedral to glorify... something. Suddenly it's all about church growth. No longer is the little white neighborhood clapboard church the point to gather for worship and glorification of God, but the huge mega facility where thousands of tithe bearing worshipers can gather in multi-media splendor to be lulled into a stupor by contemplative prayer and have their eardrums assaulted by 10,000 watts of guitar driven rock anthems based on the heresy of The Message  paraphrase of the Bible.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying all large congregations are wrong and that all modern worship music is bad, I'm positive there's a lot of good out there. Some of these churches are actively teaching the Word of God and intentionally assaulting peoples high frequency hearing capabilities in order to attract young church goers. I'm sure some souls are being saved, some new relationships are being made with Jesus. What I am saying is that not all of those sheep you're seeing are eating grass, some have a zipper hidden in their fleece and a taste for red meat. 

I'm not talking just about Big churches, I'm talking about emergent churches. According to Matt Slick at CARM an Emergent church is a church that has many of the following traits:
  1. An awareness of and attempt to reach those in the changing postmodern culture.
  2. An attempt to use technology, i.e., video, slide shows, internet.
  3. A broader approach to worship using candles, icons, images, sounds, smells, etc.
  4. An inclusive approach to various, sometimes contradictory belief systems.1
  5. An emphasis on experience and feelings over absolutes.
  6. Concentration on relationship-building over proclamation of the gospel.
  7. Shunning stale traditionalism in worship, church seating, music, etc.
  8. A de-emphasis on absolutes and doctrinal creeds
  9. A re-evaluation of the place of the Christian church in society.
  10. A re-examination of the Bible and its teachings.
  11. A re-evaluation of traditionally-held doctrines.
  12. A re-evaluation of the place of Christianity in the world.
When he says "Re-evaluation" that's a polite way of saying "Change" and when he says "de-emphasis" what he means is "Ignore what's inconvenient" The emergent church puts more value on works than on faith, more emphasis on acts rather than salvation. And when it comes to Salvation they have their own version of salvation:
Salvation is the entire universe being brought back into harmony with its maker. This has huge implications for how people present the message of Jesus. Yes, Jesus can come into our hearts. But we can join a movement that is as wide and as big as the universe itself. Rocks and trees and birds and swamps and ecosystems. God’s desire is to restore all of it.
-Rob Bell,  Velvet Elvis
Whoo Hoo! Not only is everyone saved, everything is saved too! And I was so worried about by bottle cap collection! As completely whacked as this sounds Rob Bell was actually the pastor of an emergent Mega-Church when he wrote that: the Mars Hill church. If you look at their theology they speak of Jesus and the biblical narrative, but they don't say they believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God, they say that God inspired authors of scripture by his Spirit to speak to all generations of believers. Hey - Mark Twain inspired generations of believers, and nonbelievers also, Betcha it didn't do much for their eternal salvation however. They say that God created all things good, which very quietly states that God did not create all things. They say that God "was and always will be in a communal relationship with himself" but they never, ever say "Trinity"

They call Adam & Eve's fall from grace a "people's rebellion" but never once to they mention Satan's role in said rebellion (or Satan at all for that matter). They continually use the words narrative and story, both words have a connotation of something that not necessarily is true which gives their theology 'plausible deniability'. Their theology speaks about restoration of a broken world, and reconciliation with God but they never mention heaven, never mention Christ's sacrifice nor its meaning, and they never mention a need to repent, because:

Their theology never mentions salvation.

What does God actually say about salvation?
14 “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; 15 so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life. 16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:14-16)
Unlike Mars Hill Church, God has a lot to say about eternal salvation. But to the emergent church, at least the Mars Hill church, heaven is earth, which probably explains why top-name emergent pastors don't want you to read the bible.Steven Furtick, pastor of Elevation Church in Charlotte NC calls parishioners who want to study the bible "potbellied Christians who want to shove more food of the bible down their throats."

Perry Noble, Pastor New Spring Church Anderson SC calls parishioners who want to learn more of the bible "jackasses", and says "You want to learn more about the bible let's see how you serve man, let's check your tithing records." Is Pastor Perry stating that only members of his church who are caught up on their tithes are allowed to study the bible, that the Word of God is dependent on the Cash In Perry's Pocket? He goes on to state that he believes most Christians are educated in the bible ‘way beyond their level of obedience anyway.

Mark Beeson, pastor of Granger Community Church in Granger IN makes fun of parishioners by sitting in a high chair on stage screaming and squalling "Feed me!" mocking members of his flock who are starving for God's word. My response would be a (loud) request to be taught at least 1 Timothy 1:8-10

And "America's Pastor" Rick Warren is also on the 'ignore the bible' bandwagon. He's stated that he  (and C. Peter Wagner) discourages the study of Bible prophesy because it's actually a diversion by the devil. Of course you realize that emergent Pastor Warren knows full well 1/3 of the Bible is prophesy. What does Jesus say about studying the bible?
 But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’ ” (Matthew 4:4)

Heavenly Father
Please find it in your divine mercy to change the minds of those that are polluting the hearts of your faithful with their heresy, please move those aside that dare stand between your word and the starving worshipers that long for your direct guidance. In places like North Korea and the middle east people are being killed for possessing mere scraps of copies of scriptures while here in the land of the free charlatans are telling us that study of your word is gluttony. Please bring these once good leaders back to your flock, touch their heart so they will repent and restore your word to the center of their world. In Jesus name we beseech you.

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