Don’tcha just LOVE Postmoderns? As a matter of fact, as a Christian I do. That is why every chance I get I want to show where their wishy-washy approach to life is not only incorrect, but detrimental to both the cause of Christ and to their own peace of mind (ironically!).

Justin Taylor
Justin Taylor

This morning, Justin Taylor of the Between Two Worlds blog (another blog definitely worth the time to read) quoted Kevin DeYoung, author of “Why We Love The Church” (one that is definitely on my reading list, if only I didn’t have to eventually sleep!) who took postmodern Christianity to task by illustrating the inconsistent nature of their criticisms of the traditional church. Not that there are not things that the traditional church can at least ponder and some things maybe even repent of, but if you are going to level criticism, make sure it is consistent with the Bible and at least with logic.

Here is Justin's post:

Kevin DeYoung, in Why We Love the Church (pp. 87-88, line breaks mine):

But then again, consistency is not a postmodern virtue. And nowhere is this more aptly displayed than in the barrage of criticisms leveled against the church.

The church-is-lame crowd hates Constantine and notions of Christendom, but they want the church to be a patron of the arts, and run after-school programs, and bring the world together in peace and love.

They bemoan the over-programmed church, but then think of a hundred complex, resource-hungry things the church should be doing.

They don’t like the church because it is too hierarchical, but then hate it when it has poor leadership.

They wish the church could be more diverse, but then leave to meet in a coffee shop with other well-educated thirtysomethings who are into film festivals, NPR, and carbon offsets.

They want more of a family spirit, but too much family and they’ll complain that the church is ‘inbred.’

They want the church to know that its reputation with outsiders is terrible, but then are critical when the church is too concerned with appearances.

They chide the church for not doing more to address social problems, but then complain when the church gets too political.

They want church unity and decry all our denominations, but fail to see the irony in the fact that they have left to do their own thing because they can’t find a single church that can satisfy them.

They are critical of the lack of community in the church, but then want services that allow for individualized worship experiences.

They want leaders with vision, but don’t want anyone to tell them what to do or how to think.

They want a church where the people really know each other and care for each other, but then they complain the church today is an isolated country club, only interested in catering to its own members.

They want to be connected to history, but are sick of the same prayers and same style every week.

They call for not judging “the spiritual path of other believers who are dedicated to pleasing God and blessing people,” and then they blast the traditional church in the harshest, most unflattering terms.

Excellent points all!

What is most striking to me is that by taking this approach to criticism of the traditional church, the Postmoderns refute their own argument. By their approach, they postulate that all truth is valid truth and that the details of your belief in Christ are not as important as what those beliefs mean to you. (Sounds like humanistic drivel if you ask me!) But, if all truth is valid truth, why is my belief in:

1. The literal, historical, Jesus, and His death, burial and resurrection (otherwise known as the doctrine of substitutionary atonement, our faith hinges on this point!),
2. The infallible, inerrant, Word of God known as the Bible, (the objective written standard on which our faith is built),
3. The doctrines of Grace as enumerated in the Scriptures, and espoused throughout the centuries by well respected Church fathers,
4. The doctrine of Justification by Grace, through Faith, and not of works, but unto good works, and among other things,
5. Truth is by definition objective, knowable, and ultimately exclusive,

Not a valid belief system? If all truth is valid truth, if you even HAVE a criticism of someone else’s belief system, isn't that a contradiction of your own? It looks at least like a validation of the objective, knowable, and exclusive nature of truth itself. They just may need to reevaluate their truth claims!


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“I the LORD your God am a jealous God…” – Exodus 20:4

“He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’” – Matthew 16:15

Back in the mid 90s, Joan Osbourne asked the musical question, “What if God was one of us? Just a slob like one of us?” To even ask this question is an attempt to bring the concept of an infinite God down to the level of a mere mortal, which is a first step in creating a god in our own image, rather than acknowledging that it is the other way around. You see, we fallen human being have this thing called pride. We think that we are the center of the universe (at least in our own eyes!) and live accordingly. It’s like the old joke that asks, how does a soprano screw in a light bulb? She stands at the top of a ladder and just holds the bulb in the socket because the world revolves around her! (Oh come on, Girls! It’s just a joke! The same could be said for us tenors!)

There are just all kinds of dopey ideas that pass themselves off as so called “Christianity” out there. From Joel Osteen and his “fully loaded” analogy, to Gloria Copeland’s claims that we can command the weather (my question is that if Gloria or Ken Copeland can command the weather, why didn’t they go down to the Gulf coast in 2005 and command Katrina to dissipate? Hmmm??) to Creflo Dollar claiming that since all things reproduce after their own kind, we are little “gods” (never mind that since God is the Creator, he stands outside of His creation, has complete dominion over all of it and is not limited in any way by it. Also, Jesus Christ is the only one mentioned in Scripture as “begotten,” all of the rest of the chosen are “adopted”) to these totally weird followers of John Crowder and Ben Dunn who claim to have the “piggy anointing” or the “squirrel anointing” or even the “pheasant anointing” (if you haven’t seen this train wreck, consider yourself blessed!). The one common thread among all of these shenanigans is that every one of them has man as the central focus and not the honor and glory of Almighty God.

The Exodus reference comes directly from the law given to Moses (that would be the second of the Ten Commandments for our friends in the emergent village!) and is crystal clear in the intention that we are not to fashion any god to suit our own perception of God or even of our desire for God to be what WE want Him to be. God is serious about his Name or His reputation (as the third commandment states) and He will not hold them blameless who defame His Name.

The Name of God is serious business. This is why we need a proper Biblical theology in order to give the Name of God it’s proper reverence and to understand the sinful plight of Man in relation to God. Kevin DeYoung, author of “Why We Are Not Emergents (by Two Guys Who Should Be)” has written a great piece about our perceptions of who Jesus is and why it is so important to answer the question Jesus raised in the Matthew reference “Who do you say that I am?” You can read his piece here.

The bottom line is that many are putting their faith in a “Jesus” of their own making. And any “Jesus” that is not the true “Messiah” is no Savior at all

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“Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.” – Matthew 25:45

Brian McLaren and many of the emergent persuasion (whatever THAT happens to be today!) are very fond of quoting this particular verse to justify their social Gospel (née liberal politics, which all of a sudden has become ok to discuss since it's not us right-wing conservative Christian Coalition nut jobs! But I digress!). But in order to accomplish that noble aim (at least it is on the surface), does it not take some sort of fiscal and economic responsibility in order to properly fund the efforts? And who is ultimately responsible for taking care of the poor anyway? As with everything in life, the first place we need to go for the answer is the Bible with a good understanding of Biblical theology. Next, we need to gain a firm grasp on the principles of economics and how they interact with theology.

While there are those who through no fault of their own have great disabilities, such as handicaps, illness, and temporary setbacks of all sorts, the primary responsibility for each person's well-being is ultimately their own. “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.” (2 Thessalonians 3:10). But beyond this, the Bible does teach in Matthew 25 that we should give as though we are giving ultimately to Him. This is a solid case for benevolence ministry within the church (and every church should have a benevolence ministry).

Where most of the left-of-center brethren miss the mark is when they assume that government should be involved in benevolence. (I also find it interesting that the same brethren who created the Matthew 25 Network are the same ones who would downplay the encouragement to investment (Oh no! Not CAPITALISM! OH THE HORROR!) in verses 14-30 and the references to a place of eternal torment referenced in verses 30 and 46) According to the Constitution of The United States, the federal government is instituted primarily to “establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.” Notice that it does not “provide” any welfare, just “promote” the “general” welfare. Welfare is not the job of government because once that Pandora’s Box is opened (as it now fully IS open!) people realize that they can obtain basic sustenance from the government and then there is no incentive to get off of the dole. It is a catch 22 because many who attempt to get off the dole end up making less money at a job than they were on the government program they were on previously. This is a true disincentive to finding work and gaining independence from the government.

Also, when the government tracks programs by how many people are on the program, there is also no incentive to actually help the beneficiaries get off the program and fend for themselves. Ultimately, these welfare programs, while they may have had some who pressed for them with a pure motivation of compassion for those in need, end up as a source of power and control for those creating and running them. With economic education so inept in our schools and universities, it’s no wonder that so many people fall for the lie that government can actually do it better than the private sector. The information is available, however, in works by Thomas Sowell (Basic Economics), Thomas W. Hazlett (Public Policy Toward Cable Television), Friedrich Von Hayek (The Road To Serfdom), Ludwig Von Mises (Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis), Adam Smith (The Wealth Of Nations), and Milton Friedman (Capitalism and Freedom).

But how are charity, economics and theology reconciled? There is a book that has just been released (it is definitely on my wish list) that appears to fill the bill. Author Jay Richards has authored “Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism Is the Solution and Not the Problem.” and was interviewed by one of my new favorite authors, Kevin DeYoung, co-author of “”Why We're Not Emergent, by Two Guys Who Should Be” (By the way, I highly recommend this book!) and quoted on the “Between Two Worlds” blog (one of my favorites!). Here is a direct quote from the interview:

“KD: On page 35, you write “Spiritually you're better off a little mixed up about economics than indifferent to human suffering. Economically, though, only what you do is important, whatever your reason.” This seems to be a very important point for the book. What are you trying to say in these two sentences?

JR: When I wrote: “Spiritually you're better off a little mixed up about economics than indifferent to human suffering. Economically, though, only what you do is important, whatever your reason,” I was trying to balance but capture Gilson's “Piety is no substitute for technique.” To me, this is one of most important points I've tried to make. Motivation IS important when we're considering our spiritual state before God. It's just that our motivation for a policy has nothing to do with the real world effects of the policy. I think that Christians often weight our (and others') motivations far too heavily on economic matters. It's as if we think feeling bad about poverty is more obligatory than actually doing something that helps the poor. For instance, several times in churches I've pointed out why minimum wage laws don't really help the poor in the long run. I've never had anyone try to debunk the argument, but several times I've received the complaint that my argument shows that I'm not really concerned about the poor. It doesn't of course. But even if it were evidence that I weren't concerned about the poor, the argument's validity (or lack thereof) would remain the same.”

Read the entire interview here.

This is a great point. I have struggled with the motivation question all of my life. “Why” do we do anything? As Christians, we should be concerned for the poor and help in any way we can. But this will take fiscal discipline that is glaringly absent from the minds of most Americans today (especially politicians, from both sides of the aisle, I might add!)

“Money, Greed, and God” promises to be a beneficial read, at least from the reviews that I have read. I am looking forward to it!

Brian MacLaren
Brian MacLaren
Brian MacLaren

Ok, I am now officially fed up with these guys that pass themselves off as some kind of Christian leader. I found a page on the website of Brian McLaren, founding pastor of Cedar Ridge Community Church in Spencerville, MD, with the heading, “Theory of Atonement.” The text is partially quoted here as follows: (original link is found here)

“Could you elaborate on your personal theory of atonement? If God wanted to forgive us, why didn't he just forgive us? Why did torturing Jesus make things better?

This is such an important and difficult question. … Short answer: I think the gospel is a many faceted diamond, and atonement is only one facet, and legal models of atonement (which predominate in western Christianity) are only one small portion of that one facet.

Dallas Willard also addresses this issue in “The Divine Conspiracy.” Atonement-centered understandings of the gospel, he says, create vampire Christians who want Jesus for his blood and little else. He calls us to move beyond a “gospel of sin management,” to the gospel of the kingdom of God. So, rather than focusing on an alternative theory of atonement, I'd suggest we ponder the meaning and mission of the kingdom of God.”

I find these statements to be so offensive that I must comment on them. First of all a little background. Atonement is not just one facet of the diamond of the Gospel, it IS the Gospel. In order for God to be God, He must be Holy first and foremost. The fact that He is the Creator and Giver of life in and of itself demands that we bow to His authority and that if He declares a matter to be true, by definition, it must be true. It also stands to reason that He has all rights to do as He pleases to, or with anyone He chooses.

Man is the rebellious creation of the most righteous and Holy God. When given the choice to serve God and enjoy fellowship with Him, Man made the choice to strive to be like God, which is the sin that banished Lucifer from God forever. At that moment, Man's spirit died (Ephesians 2:1) and his will became enslaved to his sin nature, and God would have been just to send Adam and Eve straight to Hell without any recourse. Isaiah 64:6 says “…all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags…” If our righteousnesses are sickening to God, imagine what our sin is to Him!

But God chose not to immediately banish Man to Hell (I know, some of you emergents don't BELIEVE in a literal Hell, but that's fodder for another discussion). Romans 5 tells us that by His grace and through our faith (which itself is a gift of God Ephesians2:8-9) we are reconciled to God. Only by the work of Jesus's death on the cross and His resurrection is atonement made for our rebellious sin. The ONLY payment that can be made for sin is the shedding of blood (Hebrews 9:22).

Second of all, Dallas Willard's comments that “atonement-centered understandings of the Gospel … create vampire Christians who want Jesus for his blood and little else.” This is highly offensive to me because it demonstrates that Mr. Willard has no regard for the sacrifice that the blood of Christ accomplished and that that sacrifice it is not enough for the payment of sin. Life is in the blood and atonement can only be made through the shedding of blood (Leviticus 17:11). In order for Man to be redeemed and have his sin atoned, a perfect sacrifice had to be made and Christ was that perfect sacrifice.

I am growing so tired of hearing these emergent pastors talking about questioning everything. The way they are questioning seems to come from a doubter's heart. Do we really want to be led by someone who doesn't even know what they believe or worse yet, bases their belief system on the shaky foundation of their own intellect. All questions are able to be answered in the proper context of the Bible. It is the infallible Word Of God and is relevant to all generations. Doctrine must be taught and must be studied in its proper context in order combat this kind of heresy. Our concern must be for the souls of those that these emergent pastors are leading astray. The Bible has stood the test of time and will forever stand. Doctrine is the foundation that is strong and sure enough to build all of our lives upon. Psalm 94:16 asks us, “Who will rise up for me against the evildoers? or who will stand up for me against the workers of iniquity?” Are we willing to stand for the truth, or are will more willing to let people die in their sin, but feel really good about themselves in the process. I pray that God makes me one of the former!

questions-1151886

I am making an attempt to get through a particular book written by one of the most visible pastors in the Emergent Church movement, and it has been a real struggle. While none of what he says can be called an outright lie or heresy, he is definitely coming from a more humanistic perspective, and what disturbs me is that many people with whom I would associate have been caught up in this kind of thinking. First of all, Please forgive me for not giving the name of the book or the author, but my purpose here is not merely to attack an individual, but to encourage the reading of God's Word and the study of theology, from which many Liberals and Emergents have attempted to dissuade us. Second, the main concern that I have regarding books like this is that since they approach their subject from the “God wants you to be happy now” philosophy, they deny the importance of preaching the whole Gospel. This includes the part that we are wretched sinners only deserving the full wrath of God and that just by the fact that He does not insinerate us immediately is the beginning of His grace to us, which is then completed in the work of Christ on the cross and in His resurrection.

In this particular book, the author is encouraging the reader to question what they believe about the Christian Faith in order to find a “new” perspective. While some questions are good, many can come from a rejection of what has been substantiated for centuries as sound doctrine. 2 Timothy 2:23 says, “But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.” When we begin questioning things such as the divinity of Christ, the inspiration of Scripture, the doctrine of original sin, and the very existence of Hell itself, we are in danger of denying the established foundation of the Christian Faith, which causes the very disunity many Liberals and Emergents accuse more conservative and orthodox believers of effecting. Many of these questions are already answered in the Scriptures, but many times the questioner simply does not want to accept the answer.

But it is so important that we take the time to read and study the Scriptures in their proper context in order to rightly understand the truth that God has provided for us in His Word. Paul earlier in 2 Timothy taught the importance of the study of God's Word, and in 2 Timothy 2:15 he says, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” When we commit ourselves to the study of God's Word, we can be rock solid in our defense of true Christianity and not be swayed by anyone who is just not satisfied with the answers that are right before them in Scripture.

I am concerned that many who follow these pastors who preach an easy to believe “gospel” are living with a false sense of security and will have a rude awakening when they stand before a righteous and holy God and He tells them “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matthew 7:22-23) It's frightneing to think of how many false converts there may be in the pews of our churches. If we are not willing to stand for the preaching of the Gospel (law to the proud, grace to the humble,) we only show that we do not care about the souls of men (Romans 1:16.) Worse yet, when we neglect the Gospel and theology, we are showing that we do not care about the character of God and are not delighting ourselves in Him. The greatest danger of the “God wants you to be happy now” philosophy is not what they actually say, but what they refuse to say regarding sin and repentance.

We must be willing to trust that God has His ultimate glory in mind when he gives hard answers to hard questions. The fact the He IS God validates His very words and actions, and that in and of itself shows that those words and actions are righteous. God is not only the standard bearer, but is the standard Himself. If we do question God, we must do so with an attitude of humility, a desire for clarity, and a heart seeking only His Glory.