Friday, June 13

Another view.........

A brother in the Lord, whom I respect and value his input, sent me a comment regarding my post on the "emerging church movement." Some things I agree with totally with him, some things I don't, and some portions of the comment made me want to ensure that I clarified that while I do not 'trust' the emergent movement insofar as doctrinal truth, there is a benefit of that forcing me more and more into examining my weaknesses, strengthening my faith, and solidifying my beliefs. Do I hate the emergents? No, but I caution the hook-line-sink approach many christians are taking.

I disagree that we do not have an avenue to the perfect Truth. Perfect truth stands beyond our ability to alter it and Christ gave it to us.

Salvation is key. Faith is given as a choice for us to use wherever we do. But there is several absolutes given that God will not back down on.

Christ is the Truth, the Way, and the Light and none shall come to the Father but through Him. By the blood.

I have published my friend's comments below, as well as on the blog comment section, so that you can verify, if need be, to show I've altered nothing.

Those “emergent” authors you mentioned, NT Wright, Brian McLaren, Dallas Willard, Scot McKnight, John Howard Yoder, Stanley Hauerwas, comprise much of my reading list. But also in that list are Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Martin Luther, Luke Timothy Johnson, C. S. Lewis, Charles Swindoll, and Billy Graham who are as “orthodox” in their Christianity as anyone.

It is true that the “emergents” cover a wide swath that overlaps non-orthodox (non-Nicean) views of Christianity. Be that as it may, it is also true that the Emergents have also helped us by illuminating our blind spots. A big blind spot has been ignoring the Beatitudes. While I don’t agree with everything that McLaren says, he is correct when he states, "If you thought your house was going to burn down tomorrow, there's no incentive to clean up your room." Jesus taught about an imminent Kingdom, breaking in on the groaning Earth of Romans 8. If all that matters is “the End Times”, then why did Jesus ask his disciples to pick up the left-overs of the miraculous feeding so that “nothing would be wasted”?

How arrogant of any of us to presume that we have “perfect truth” in spite of our personal predjudices, our upbringing, our cultural context, and information passed down through the generations. If we have Perfect Truth, then we are right and everyone else is wrong. Jesus, who was perfect truth incarnate, became sin for us by allowing himself to be judged “wrong”. Jesus didn’t have to be “right” nor did he have to prove anyone “wrong”. His opponents proved themselves wrong the moment they opened their mouths “seeking to justify themselves”.

Many of us see Salvation as purely transactional, i.e. the “Roman Road”. Indeed the transaction of Jesus’ blood paid for our sins is essential to our salvation. Unfortunately we see Salvation as only a contract where we must have an exact understanding of the terms to receive it. But if that’s all there is, what do you do with Luke 15:11? Where the father embraces the wayward son who spent half the father’s wealth on wild living and harlots. Where is the transaction when the father embraces his son and weeps over him? What theology explains the hug? It seems to me that the transactional emphasis was manifest by the elder brother. How could the father pour out lavish grace on the prodigal brother when he himself had fulfilled requirements of righteousness.

Jesus taught us who would be first to become last, who are rich to become poor, who are wronged to endure it, forgive, and not lift a hand in response. To be a light. To restore the sin-marred imago dei in the most broken of us. Most importantly, Jesus taught us to pick up our cross and follow him. The cross is where our will is broken. It is where we have totally given up control of our lives to the Father. If we have not reckoned ourselves dead so that Christ can live through us, I don’t think any cognitively correct understanding of Salvation can save us. The Emergents are the least of our worries.

P.S. Let's all manifest some more of that blood-bought grace, even to those we don't understand and don't agree with.

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