Friday, May 9, 2014

Excerpt from my schoolwork

In my Christian Perspectives class we had to watch a lecture by Dr. Peter Kreeft, a "well known" professor of philosophy at Boston College and Lutheran pastor.  He is known for his writings and thoughts on moral relativism, modernity, and the postmodern movement.  I was asked to write a brief review on his most recent work, ‘How to Win the Culture War: A Christian Battle Plan for a Culture in Crisis.’ Here is the link to the lecture, it's about 45 minutes long (I recommend it if you have the time, otherwise my review will give you an idea of where he's coming from):  My review of his lecture is below and I did not hold back.

Kreeft comes across as an angry and cynical human being. Understandably so given the state of society as a whole, but to the extent that he should presume to know how to combat cultural warfare by telling Christians how they should treat and approach non-Christians, he probably shouldn't be the ringleader.

Kreeft makes some good points with respect to his "P.H.O.N.E.Y" acronym. (Politics, happy talk, organizationalism, neo-worship, egalitarianism, and yuppydom)

I agree that God is love and that the very essence of politics is force. However, I also believe that the realm of politics, because it is so influential, can provide a substantial platform for Christian activism.

Regarding "happy talk", I have no issues there. I agree that we should "shut up and fight."

"Organizationalism" is a tough one to be on board with, but I think I agree. We should be real and meditate on God always. Being fake subtracts from who we are in Christ. That being said, "not being fake" is a good way to be martyred.

As far as "neo-worship" is concerned I have never been a fan of "newer is better", however, I see it all the time within our culture (Christian). While I continue to learn and expand my horizons, I do not fall victim to believing everything that claims to enlighten me or allow me to be more open-minded. The Bible has withstood the test of time, do not interpret it to be something it's not.

As humans, well, we are all humans. In that regard we are all equal. But anyone who thinks that people in general are equal, is silly. Look around. Men and women are different, respectively. As far as "moral relativism" is concerned, as long as people have a conscious that can eat at them, we will have people justifying their behavior. Egalitarianism.

Cheerful giving and self-sacrifice is very nearly the definition of being a follower of Christ, and selfishness is the opposite of that. I do not agree with what Kreeft said about why Islam is growing faster than Christianity. What I mean is, he may be right about the rate of growth, but I think he is wrong about why. I do not particularly care to expand here.

I agree with Kreeft and what he said about spirituality. Don't be concerned with stuff (yuppydom), be concerned with people. I also agree that the more we love on our neighbor and reach out to them, the more likely we are to see them in heaven.

Overall, I think Kreeft has some valid points and I like where his head is, but I question if his heart is really in the game. As I mentioned, I think he is angry at the world and possibly angry at God for letting it get this way. I don't know that his "plan" could help win the cultural war because I believe that it lacks love. He speaks of love as a primary driving force for Christianity, but yet he is cynical and is often steered in his thoughts by his own anger.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

It doesn't really matter in the grand scheme

My previous post with respect to the Emergent Church movement explained my take on the matter.  But what it did not do is clarify that a Christian is a Christian is a Christian is a Christian.  For those that believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as their savior, no amount of arguing over which doctrinal interpretation is correct can rob that salvation from you.  The Lord showed me this very fact a month or so ago.  I make no qualms about it.  I myself was struggling mightily with the concepts being taught from my own textbooks.  There was arguing over the continuing providence of God, whether the Holy Spirit still performed miracles since the resurrection, and that we should love our Christian brothers and sisters even more so than our own blood, strangers, and unbelievers.  For now, I will not go into the details of the arguments and I may never.  Then again I am tempted to all the time.  These topics threatened to become a stumbling block for me, but the Lord helped me through.  You see, while you and I may not agree on every interpretation of Scripture, every topic or doctrine, what I do know is that my salvation (and yours if you believe) is intact.  I struggled because I felt that there were students that would be told and taught something other than what I know to be the truth.  Thing is, who am I to judge the truth?  All I know to be true is what the Bible tells me is true.  I generally feel that if an argument can be made with much scriptural basis, it is a good argument, but what happens often is people like to infer or cause you to infer and that is dangerous.  My red flag goes up anytime I hear, "what God meant was.." or "what the Bible is saying here is...".  Yes there are parables and a goodly amount of poetic (figurative) language that should not be taken as literal.  That is where prayer and study come in.  Without prayer and study we can not hope to understand the Word of God.  The Bible is written and interpreted in many languages because God knew that we humans would be able to communicate through written/spoken words.  Scripture is meant for us to understand and not be a source of great confusion.  The point is that God wants us to understand the Bible as The truth, The whole truth, and The only truth.  Whether the Bible is in Greek, Hebrew, Latin, NIV, KJV, ESV, it doesn't matter how much, if anything, was lost in translation.  The Bible is God's Word and it is infallible.  Believe that when you read it.

Friday, May 2, 2014

The devastation of the Emergent Church

First, the emergent church (hereinafter, “EC”) is an upstart of an “event” that now threatens to spread like a plague, or should I say, an epidemic.  Its reaches are clearly global and that means up to, and including, the infiltration of Bible-believing churches.  It began in the late 20th and early 21st century, and the movement’s attraction is phenomenal.  The EC is recognized for its daring breaks from the mold of traditional church and tendency to venture into blasphemous beliefs.  EC members prefer to live their life as a "post modern" society and are often impossible to differentiate between secular society.  The gist of it is that most of them are upset that they can’t hang with genuine "organized religion."  Truly institutional church rules are way too hard to comply with and they figure the best way to be the Christian they WANT to be is to create a new version, Version 2.0 if you will.  Because of this “re-branding” of the church, bible discipline, church organization (government or polity), the sacraments, and church offices, are all being snubbed with the greater implications being the compromising, ongoing, unrepentant sin to exist throughout the Body of Christ, i.e., the church.  Further, Paul and the other apostles taught that church discipline for blatantly sinful and generally unrepentant members hurts the Body of Christ and diminishes  the witnessing abilities of the church.

The EC is very pro-active in its quest to change and sway society.  This of course means the use of political leverage to create and operate from a platform of social activism, and trying to overtake or displace a well-standing system presently being viewed as “harsh” by most lay people.  What the world should see in both missions and evangelism, is emphasis on the love of God as one of the primary attributes of God.  Instead, the EC frames its beliefs around the “stripping” of the gospel, of the necessity of a Savior.  To a repugnant degree they neglect to preach sin, repentance, confession, church discipline, and the shining fruits of the Holy Spirit.

One defining characteristic of the EC is the lack of presence of the Lord’s Supper.  I don’t fully understand why, but I suspect that it is because they don’t like the idea of “eating” and “drinking”, even as a symbolic gesture, the body of Christ.  Paul discussed the importance of the Lord’s Supper in 1 Corinthians 11:23-26, “For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”  Then, with the cup after supper he said, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”  For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.”

EC claims that we cannot know the full truth regarding the sinfulness of homosexuality, among other doctrines in the Bible.  They say “truth is relative.”  Another defining feature of the EC is denial of the inerrancy of the Word of God (Bible).  They figure that it was written by men regardless if it was under the divine influence of the Holy Spirit.  Go figure.  Not all EC’s are alike and not all follow the methods I’ve described above.  The overwhelming tendency of people nowadays is to venture from church to church looking for something “not so strict.”  They don’t want to tithe and they don’t want to be told that they need to repent of their sin.  Taking accountability and trying to be a better person really isn’t so bad of a thing, is it?  Postmodernists want good music that has near secular tendencies and they are more concerned with being comfortable in church than they are of hearing the truth of God’s Word.  It has been said, and I tend to agree, that most EC members are very much involved with religion for selfish reasons, i.e., they really aren’t all that interested in serving others.

Popular culture is attempting to change Christianity into something it is not.  Truth is truth and anyone who believes that truth is a relative concept has been blinded.  Paper is made from pulp. Concrete is hard.  A forest is comprised of trees.  Hurricanes are devastating.  All truths.  Not fiction and not “tailored” to be true for one person and not another.  People and churches can be sincere but still be sincerely wrong.  Ignorance is no excuse.  Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6) and “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). These are blanket statements.  They are true for everyone.