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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Posting from my own comment

Not that anyone really reads (or writes on) this blog anymore, so basically I'm just doing this for myself. But I was reading a comment I had written awhile back in response to a guest who had commented on my post regarding "Emergent Values" (no link, just scroll down), and I was impressed with myself (something that happens often, requiring continual repentance). Perhaps I plagiarized it, I don't know. Anyway here it is:

We find that throughout the history of the Church there have been periods when theological convictions have been tied more closely to cultural values as opposed to Biblical virtues. This is certainly the result of theology shaping itself to a particular zeitgeist. However, in the midst of that, there have always been those who have sought to protect true truth. American Christian culture and institutionalized church betray a weakening of conviction and a clinging to religiosity. If the ECM (emergent church movement) is to be seen as a backlash to that (which it is) I think it is one that has over shot its mark and made the same error on the opposite extreme. Both modernist and post-modernist Christian culture use the Bible to substantiate values that are not particularly Christian. Modernists used the Bible to create intolerance for all manner of "sins", speaking far beyond the Scriptures in many cases and advocating for the legislation of aesthetic morality(right wing politics). On the other side, post-modernists use the Bible to create tolerance for all manner of sin, speaking far beyond the Scriptures in many cases and advocating for the legislation of aesthetic morality(left wing politics). The error in both instances is the Christian faith being turned into mere religious expression.

I think if one commits to a deep understanding of the journey of the church through history, it is possible for any Christian to discern true Gospel truth. Read the early Church fathers, or the Reformers, or the Puritans, and one finds their observations and exposition of Scripture wholly relevant to life and Godliness regardless of cultural context. In addition, we must humble ourselves and believe God truly wants us to know his plan from the alpha to the omega of all time. We must believe that he has given it to us in his Word. We must believe that we are "transformed by the renewing of our mind", and that this comes first by knowing the Gospel as given in the Scripture; a Gospel that was initiated outside of our reality and is the relevant and transforming message for all generations. A robust theology in regards to the attributes of God, the nature of man, the incarnation of Christ, God's sovereign purposes in salvation and the mission and nature of the Church, are the strongest guard against the err of "time borne framework."

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  • This is unrelated to your current post, but I did read it and enjoy it.

    In response to your comment on my semi-book review, thanks. The review you linked to was very informative and well-written and pointed out some things I missed.

    My only real quibble with it was the section about downplaying the importance of the Bible. I agree that The Shack does that to some extent, especially in the quotes he pulled out, but I didn't like the examples he used to argue against "fresh revelation." He said that mankind has always needed a mediator and described them up through the old testament, while failing to mention that Christ has become the final mediator and gives us incite into God and relationship with Him far beyond anything a priest could facilitate. Beyond that, I do believe that we can learn things about the nature of God through prayer and the guidance of the Holy Spirit (not to mention life experiences), but those things must be measured against the ultimate truth of the scriptures of course.

    In my review, I decided not to get into the theology of the book for a few reasons. First of all, I didn't have it in front of my any longer and couldn't quote it verbatim. Secondly, I didn't really take the time to parse out each individual piece of theology in the book when I was reading it, mostly because there were so many ideas thrown out there. It definitely bothered me that 75% of the book was Young ranting and existentially spit-balling through his fictional God. Presumptuous to say the least.

    As far as the writing being "terrible," I don't know if I'd go quite that far. I guess you could say I've read worse, but it's certainly much lower caliber than the stuff I normally read for pleasure. I feel like most of the mistakes could have been fixed by a halfway competent editor. I mean, neither of us work as a professional editor and I'm pretty sure either of us could have whipped the manuscript into much better aesthetic shape than it's in right now.

    At any rate, "subversive" is definitely a good word for The Shack and while I've told some other people that they should check it out to see what all the hype is about, it scares me to no small extent that so many people seem to be taking it so seriously. A second Pilgrim's Progress? Not so much. A second Prayer of Jabez? That sounds more likely. If we're lucky, it'll be forgotten as quickly.

    By Blogger Sam, at 10:37 PM  

  • Replace "incite" with "insight" please.

    By Blogger Sam, at 10:39 PM  

  • "A second Prayer of Jabez>" lol. That's about right.

    "it scares me to no small extent that so many people seem to be taking it so seriously"

    Me too. I read it because my parents got it for Christmas from my aunt. And every time I criticize the book I hear, "You don't get it." The problem is I DO get it, and that is why I am so concerned.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:16 AM  

  • A while back I did exactly what you advocate a study Christian history of a doctrine. Defense against patriarchy. In this case the Christian view on sex, marriage and the role of women. What I found was something completely consistent with the ECM, that the views had shifted with culture and in reaction to culture. There was no evidence at all for a steady biblical view through time, rather the bible was seen to support a very wide range of opinion.

    An honest reading of history does not support the conservative positions, though selective reading can.

    By Blogger CD-Host, at 9:34 PM  

  • I should have posted this link in the other comment, but as a follow up I actually did debate this with one of the teampyro guys (at length):

    link post.

    By Blogger CD-Host, at 9:36 PM  

  • "An honest reading of history does not support the conservative positions, though selective reading can."

    Who is the arbiter of what is "honest" and what is "selective"? Gnostic writers are not on equal ground with an Apostle, not by a long shot. It all comes back to authority. I would like to know on what basis one is able to discern the difference. It seems to me that the hermeneutic looseness you promote is of its own particular selectiveness

    The scope of my reading is not selective, but my discernment definitely is.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:26 PM  

  • My guess is you just read the 2nd part that had gnostics covered. The point of the gnostics was not what the gnostics were doing but what the gnostics show about what orthodox / proto-catholics were doing. Nor do I cover the 1st century. There is no appeal to authority anywhere in the piece.

    By Blogger CD-Host, at 6:40 PM  

  • wow! I so appreciate this. thank you.

    Prophecy news watch

    By Blogger Bishopjordan, at 5:01 AM  

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