Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The EC and Scripture

Never mind me and my Rickenbacker. I would have posted a photo of just the Ric, but shots of me actually playing are so rare, I thought at least one should be captured for posterity. I can see right now that at least 15 pounds needs to come off pronto.

In my first post on the subject of the Emergent Church (EC), I listed at least eight areas of concern. The next one I want to tackle briefly is the low view of Scripture many adherents of the EC seem to have. I say "seem" to have because one is never really certain of what they really think. Certainty is, after all, anathema to a postmodern. (Okay, that was a bit tongue-in-cheek).

I had mulled over several approaches to this until EC leader Brian McLaren lobbed a water balloon filled with limberger cheese into the blogosphere - his suggestion at the Leadership Journal blog that Christian pastors, leaders, theologians etc. put a five year moratorium on making comments about homosexuality until we can figure out what we think about it. You can read the text at the link in my previous post to this one. Brian's blog entry, of course, unleashed a firestorm. When I read Brian's initial statement, I was aghast. Then, when I read his response to those who have rightly taken him to the woodshed, I was even more aghast. But for my purposes at least, this couldn't have come at a better time as it illustrates beautifully the point I have been wanting to make about the EC and God's Word.

The EC and those who embrace the postmodern mindset love to throw all sorts of ambiguity and doubt into any crystal clear, unambiguous assertion one might make. While Brian and others in the EC might not know what to think about this issue, God's Word leaves no such doubts as to what God Himself thinks. Deuteronomy 18:22 sets God's view bluntly. "You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female. It is an abomination (tow 'ebah or to 'ebah in the Hebrew). Abomination is defined as a "disgusting thing" in a ritual sense as well as in an ethical sense. Far from this merely being an Old Testament/Torah prohibition, strictures against this type of behavior are also found in Romans chapter 1 and other New Testament locations.

Only in the postmodern mind (whether drug induced or spiritually induced) can these Scriptures somehow be interpreted other than their plain meaning. Wishful thinking, maybe. You really have to either redefine them or reject them outright. But we are not to look at God's Word through a postmodern prism. Scripture makes it very clear that God will not grade on the curve when it comes to His Word. People can blind themselves through their own stubbornness and rebellion. Having done so, they will not be excused for their blindness and stubbornness.

We need to understand the ramifications of this as it goes beyond the issue of homosexuality. To not believe God's Word is to not believe God Himself. What is the opposite of "Abraham believed God and it was reckoned to him as righteousness?" If Abraham had not believed God, it would have been reckoned to him as unrighteousness. What does Scripture tell us of those who do not believe? It tells us they are condemned already. If we can't believe what God said about human sexuality, how can we believe what He said about how one is made right before Him? How can we believe the Gospel, by which we are saved (1 Corinthians 15)?

We had best stop playing eeny meeny miney moe with the Bible. And before someone attempts to throw it at me (Brian tried this argument in his response post), don't bother telling me that we don't stone people to death any more for violations of Mosaic law. I learned in Sunday school class as a child the differences between the Old Covenant and New Covenant..the differences between ceremonial and moral law etc. When the EC or other liberal theologians try this, understand that it is merely a smokescreen designed to throw people into a thousand bunny trails away from the key issue being discussed. If a pastor is uninformed about the differences between the Law of Moses and the New Covenant, then he has no business wearing his clerical collar and Birkenstocks. Unless his obfuscation is intentional, which makes it all the more repugnant.

In time, we'll explore the other "low views" of the EC.


Rattlesnake6 said...

Well said. What was merely vague innuendo in "A Generous Orthodoxy" has finally blossomed--in the negative sense--into McLaren's true colors (Colours for those in Canada). To my mind, it was simply a matter of time before he showed where he truly stands. What remains sad is that anyone would remain faithful to such pseudo-intellectual gibberish.
Good job!
Rattlesnake 6

SolaMeanie said...

Thanks, rs6...

As an aside, I am curious as to what the breakdown would be as to Arminians vs. Calvinists in the EC panoply of stars. I have had some call themselves Calvinists (I prefer the term Doctrines of Grace), but one has to wonder how one could hold to all five points and come away with an EC understanding of soteriology, Christology, the Godhead, etc.

Mystifying, isn't it?

Call Me Ishmael said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Call Me Ishmael said...

I think the Emerging Church version goes:
"Eeny, meeny, miney, moe / Find a doctrine that you loathe / Cut the verses--out it goes! / Eeny, meeny, miney, moe."

Or something like that.

crownring said...

Pretty nice bass you've got there, Sola. Believe it or not, my husband is thinking about an electric guitar again......this time a Strat! [/biggrin] With musical tastes as diverse as Ritchie Blackmore and Carlos Santana....Hubby is gonna end up as The Cat with a Strat! [/laugh]

As for McLaren's five year moratorium, what can he possibly hope will be accomplished? McLaren is playing with religious politics and setting himself up to be an authority figure in the church like Bishop John Shelby Spong, a heretic who would have been excommunicated had he not powerful political allies and is busy tearing the Church asunder. Where is the fruit of the Spirit in McLaren's life and speech? Is not what Brian McLaren proposes the complete opposite of Paul's teachings in his letter to the Galatians?

Galatians 5: 16-26

So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.
The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

SolaMeanie said...

Good comments all. I especially liked the Eeny Meeny Emergent nursery cryme. LOL.

Crownring, good verses..but that's exactly the problem. They seem to disdain Bible verses and will either try to refefine them or lessen their authority in some fashion. People are catching on, though..and that's good.

crownring said...

My question is, Sola, how can these people even justify Christianity without the Bible, let alone their version of Christianity? Spong is busily trying to turn the Episcopal Church into a social organization (like we really need more huge charities) and he even denies the deity of Christ! Why that heretical tickler of ears hasn't been excommunicated (let alone has kept the title of Bishop) can only be explained by his having powerful and wealthy friends in the right places. God help us if McLaren openly joins forces with the likes of Spong......

SolaMeanie said...

The Episcopal Church has been riven for some time with this conservative vs. liberal theological battle. If you've followed the news, you might remember that the African Anglican bishops were rightly incensed when the American Episopal leaders backed an openly homosexual bishop. Bible-believing Episcopal bishops and priests seem to be in the minority. The ones who objected to the ordination of the gay priest and left the diocese had the local bishop come in and seize property etc. It was quite a scene. The good bishop Spong is a notorious heretic, and he indeed should have been defrocked a long time ago. These people have a very low view of Scripture and aren't even saved. And I am not making that judgment..they're making it evident out of their own mouths.