A mainstream denomination just finished their “Change the World” weekend, in which 80 million members concentrated on “creation care” (environmental issues).
Maybe they ignored this Biblical warning: “They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator.” (Romans 1:25)
Here are some of their catch phrases: “imagine there’s no malaria”, and “food banks”. Their motto? “Open minds, open hearts, open doors.” Their slogan? “Rethink Church, change the world.”
Is this church, changing the world? More likely it’s the other way around.
If you haven’t been paying attention, there’s a lot of that “rethink church” thing going around, championed by a handful of influential pastors who insist that the new century demanded a new theology, and whose dubious doctrinal declivities have influenced the general Christian culture.
Reimagining Christianity, by Alan Jones, who says that there is no objective authority. He said, “The Church’s fixation on the death of Jesus as the universal saving act must end, and the place of the cross must be reimagined in Christian faith. Why? Because of the cult of suffering and the vindictive God behind it.”
Reimagining Evangelism, by Rick Richardson, who says that evangelism has an image problem and we should tell people stories instead of pushing something [Jesus] on people that they don’t really want.
Reimagining Church, by Frank Viol, who says that book as well as his other, Pagan Christianity, is meant to shake the foundations of Christianity as we know it.
The New Christians, by Tony Jones, who said that we should stop looking for some objective truth when we delve into the text of the Bible. (He also calls the Bible a f***ing scary book.)
Subversive spirituality, by Eugene Peterson (author of The Message) who said, “I don’t want to do away with or denigrate theology or exegesis, but our primary allies in this business are the artists… Why do people spend so much time studying the Bible? How much do you need to know? (Christians) should be studying it less, not more… I’m not at all pleased with all the emphasis on bible study as if it’s some kind of special thing that Christians do, and the more they do the better.”
And A new kind of Christian, Everything must Change, The Church on the Other Side by the founder of this branch of Christianity (generally known as Emergent), Brian McLaren, who that said the Bible was a “scrapbook of memorabilia”, that Scripture is neither authoritative (in a modern sense) nor a foundation for faith. That “no doctrines are to be absolute and that truth or doctrine must be considered only with personal experiences and traditions.”
Reminds me of another warning: “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.” (Colossians 2:8)
Brian McLaren, who said that the church has been preoccupied with the question, “What happens to your soul after you die? As if the reason for Jesus coming can be summed up in, ‘Jesus is trying to help get more souls into heaven, as opposed to hell, after they die’…I don’t think the entire message can be boiled down to that. If they want or need to talk about hell, I’d talk about hell as waste – since Gehenna was a garbage dump. I’d encourage them to think about how they could waste their life – and think about how they could, with God’s help, make their life full, fruitful, and significant for good instead. I’d help them understand saved as meaning “being saved from wasting my life.” Lots of folks would be better off if they “got saved” in this way!”
Never-mind the pesky God breathed scriptures that declare, “But For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.” Luke 19:10
Brian McLaren, who said that, “For too many people the name of Jesus has become a symbol of exclusion, as if Jesus’ statement “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through me” actually means “I am in the way of people seeking truth and life. I won’t let anyone get to God unless he comes through me.”
But that is exactly what God says, almost word for word.
McLaren has a new Christianity, Rethought and Re-imagined. The Christianity on the Other side. The dark side.
One of the myriad of problems that this “reimagined” Christianity has is that there isn’t a shred of support for their “reimagining” in Scripture.
In fact, quite the opposite:
But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (II Timothy 3:14-17 NKJV)
Test all things; hold fast what is good. (I Thess 5:21)
Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. That good thing which was committed to you, keep by the Holy Spirit who dwells in us. (II Timothy 1:13-14)
Now I praise you, brethren, that you remember me in all things and keep the teachings just as I delivered them to you. (I Corinthians 11:2)
Not much room for reimagining in there.
In fact, the word “imagine doesn’t occur in the Bible even once, and the only relevant verse that comes to mind is II Corinthians 10:5 that exhorts us to walk not in the flesh, but to cast down “imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God… bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”
I guess they’re confusing Jesus with a certain purple dinosaur.
The other problem is that the theme of the entire Scriptures has escaped these people. It’s not about changing the world. It’s about redeeming mankind.
And that redemption only comes about through Jesus the Savior, the Sacrificial Lamb that was slain. The Lamb whose blood washes away the ugly stain of our sin.
Not Jesus the social worker. Or the psychiatrist. Or the soup kitchen cook. Not that there is anything wrong with those things, or the church doing them. But that’s not our main reason for being, nor Jesus’ reason for coming to earth.
“For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” (John 8:36)
Funny. The Bible says that, “in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power.”
It also tells us what the power of Godliness is: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.” (Romans 1:16)
That’s the Biblical definition of salvation.
Alan Jones said that; “the church’s fixation on the death of Jesus as the universal saving act must end, and the place of the cross in our doctrine reimagined. He calls that idea that Jesus died for our sins a “vile doctrine”.
But the Bible is pretty clear: “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (I Timothy 1:15)
The emergent church says that instead of evangelizing, we should invite others to accompany us on our “faith journey”.
But Paul said that he, “determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” (I Corinthians 2:2)
And Jesus said, “He who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.” (John 5:24)
Crossed from death to life. In a moment. In the twinkling of an eye.
The new emergent church says to quit evangelizing and invite others to accompany us on our “faith journey”.
Well my faith journey was in the twinkling of an eye. So it was a pretty short trip.
(taken in part from an article by Wendy Wippel)