Monday, September 10, 2012

Were Under Attack Part 2!

    Hey everyone, sorry I have been absent from the blog, I have been extremely busy with work, school, and taking care of a crazy, two-year old son. I hope you all enjoyed last weeks blog interview with Apologist and former Navy SEAL, Chad Williams. This week I am going to continue the “We’re Under Attack” series. In my last post, I briefly went over the idea of the Emergent Church, and the views that are associated. It is incredibly easy for you to find yourself in one of these churches; in fact, you may be in one now! The reason I say this is because I found myself in one about 3 ½ years ago. I was one of the college leaders at this church, and started my own Bible study, which many college students attended. I was going through Grace Walk curriculum by Steve McVey. The group started off great; there was about ten of us and we met once a week. When we were about 3 weeks into the study, I was pulled aside by one of the elders of the church and was told I was too formal and structured in my way of leading this group. He continued to say it needed to be more “conversational”.  What did this change look like? It went from an interactive study of the Scripture and use of the Bible as means of explanation,  to what each person thought and felt. As this Bible study continued on, the rabbit hole got deeper, wider, and way off the topic at hand. We were looking at Ephesians 2:8-9 “For it is by grace you have been saved through faith, and not of yourselves it is a gift of God, not of works so no man may boast”. This is pretty cut and dry, wouldn’t you agree? What this says is we are not saved by our own actions or something we can do on our own. We cannot earn salvation and in Isaiah 64:6 this is made very clear. I was hearing stuff like, “Well, I think that if I do enough good works, and help people enough then God will be happy with what I am doing and then I can become a Christian,” or “Well, I don’t think what Paul wrote here applies to us today. It’s too outdated”. As I was hearing this, I wanted to pull my hair out! I finally stood up and said, “Guys, enough! What you are saying is in contradiction to what the Scriptures say.” It was too late, I had already lost the group. They then began to say, “Well Ethan, that’s what you think is true, and that is fine. What’s true for you may not be true for me and it’s left up to each person. It’s ‘relative.’” Does this sound familiar guys? Deconstructonism maybe?

            You are probably wondering why I told you this story; well I want you to see how easy it is to find yourself in a situation in where the “Emergent” way of thinking can trump the believers mind and interpretation of the Scripture. Well, to make a long story short, that was the beginning of my experience within the church. I wont go into more detail about how the pastor would play Semisonic- “Closing Time” before church, or how he referenced certain movies as sermon illustrations, or how I never needed to bring my Bible cause he never used it -- but my eyes were opened. I was in this church for almost four years before I realized what had happened. I then noticed they were endorsing authors and pastors such as Brian Mclaren, Rob Bell, Joel Osteen, and Rick Warren. The church was more concerned with questioning everything; they did not have time for Scripture. Let’s look at Brian Mclaren: he is a Christian pastor within the Emergent movement. He is a post-modernist (truth cannot be known), and endorses progressive Christianity. He was recognized by Time magazine as one of the 25 most influential Evangelicals in 2005! He sounds like a guy who is doing great things in the name of the Lord, right? Mclaren wrote a book called “A New Kind of Christianity.” In this book, he pokes fun at evangelicals and calls to question EVERYTHING they believe. An excerpt from his book says this about what he thinks of the Bible: ”The Bible is a portable library of poems, prophecies, histories, fables, parables, letters, sagely sayings, quarrels, and so on.” 

So if the Bible is a library of poems, prophecies, and fables, what does he base his life off of? What is his source of truth? Romans 14:22-23 sums it up “…whatever is not of faith is sin.” Where is his faith? Think about this statement and what it means. If he does not believe the Bible is from God, written by man through being filled by the Holy Spirit, then you must question your very existence! What then do you have to base your knowledge of right and wrong? What is your source of truth? It cannot be us, we are born into sin (Eph 2:1-3, Psalm 51:5, Romans 3:10-12, Romans 5:19, Romans 3:10-12.) I could share reference after reference where he Bible states we are born into sin, and unless we have a Savior there is no redemption. If you doubt the Bible, then by default you doubt the very basis and core of your belief. And if you don’t believe the Bible is perfect, then you must also doubt the very existence of God! This is a very dangerous path, and where it leads is to destruction. Matthew 7:13 says, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.”

            Here’s some advice I would like to give you. This is a test for you to ask yourself the next time you are at church. (However, I’m sure many of you may go to a great Bible-believing/preaching church and you may not need to ask these questions but it’s always good to re-evaluate from time to time.)

1. Do I use my Bible? Is the message based upon Scripture or is the message based upon a story or experience. Are there multiple supporting verses from Scripture or is there only a single verse used with lots of quotes and stories supporting it? Do you spend a majority of your time in the Bible during your church service or do you spend the majority of your church service listening to stories?
2. Am I hearing a lot of words like: conversation, post-modern, mystery, truth is relative? Is the pastor’s message leading you back to the cross or is his message leaving you further questioning the Bible in the name of “awe” and “wonder”?
3. What authors, or other pastors does my church endorse or support? Do the author’s agree with the church’s doctrinal statement? Do these supported authors or preachers support Biblical truth?

            I know this post was on the long side; however, there are so many people being pulled into the experiential based faith. It is also tough for me to try and sum up the Emergent church in a small blog post. It has been said, trying to describe the Emergent church is like nailing jello to wall. I will be posting more about the Emergent movement, and things to look out for, but hopefully this gets your gears spinning about what to look for. I leave you with a verse from 1 Peter 5:8, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”

Resources and further reading:
Further reading on Brian Mclaren, and a review of the book by Scot Mcknight from Christianity Today.' A New Kind of Christianity' review <---Click Link

This is a great message from Bobby Conway on the Emergent Church, Brian Mclaren,Rob Bell, and many other Emergent leaders.

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