As I read Steve Camp's blog post today, I found myself recalling the Emergent church attitudes and errors that were blatantly obvious within the theme of "UnChristian." The philosophy, premise, and theological opinions of the book authors stand in stark contrast to the biblical truth of the matter that John MacArthur points out in his new book, "The Truth War."
On the back cover of the "UnChristian" book it says in large black type:
1. Christianity has an image problem
2. Leaders offer vision for the future.
Note this very telling sentence:
"Find out why these negative perceptions exist, learn how to reverse them in a Christlike manner, and discover practical examples of how Christians can positively contribute to culture."
Steve's warnings in his blog post expose the conceptual errors inherent in the "UnChristian" book.
Temporal vs Eternal
Emergent Christianity guts the faith to appeal to culture; and their myopic view of the kingdom of God predisposes them to be more concerned with the temporal, than the eternal.
The ECM has two Fundamental Flaws:
1.) a lack of reverence for God and His Word; and
2.) the unquenchable need to contextualize the Christian faith in adapting it to culture.
This is gangrenous to authentic Christianity. Erosion of the truth always begins with the subtle wandering away off the path of the essentials of the faith.
I have found that the Emergent church movement and several of its errant offspring movements, have the bad habit of moving towards either a "cross-light" (i.e. - "light" meaning, severe de-emphasis of the depravity of man and his need for repentance at the foot of the cross of Jesus Christ in order to be reconciled back to Holy and Righteous God) or, just tend to ignore the subject altogether. Some have become so steeped in cultlike error that they have even gone so far as to actually call Christ's sacrifice for man's sin as "insane" and, thus 'celebrate' a totally cross-less Gospel.
Since the authors of "UnChristian" are so concerned with "negative perceptions" about Christian faith, why would they want to preach the Cross of Christ which is "offensive to those who are perishing?"
They wouldn't...and they don't!
In their skewed worldview, tolerance trumps the need to preach repentance.
I am currently reading John MacArthur's "The Truth War." It is EXCELLENT! I think that I first heard about the book at Steve's Camp on This blog.
EVERY CHRISTIAN needs to read this book! You will then be better able to discern the truth, that is, Orthodox, Biblical Christianity and recognize the falsehoods and deceptions of the Emergent church, gay "christian" movement, and "seeker-sensitive" false teachers (like Brian McLaren).
MacArthur's subtitle says, "Fighting for certainty in an age of deception."
Deception is rampant in today's culture. It's not only deceiving those who have absolutely no Christian beliefs, but many deceptions disguised as "Christianity" are fooling many who claim to be Christians.
Those who deem themselves as Christians, yet are ignorant of what the Bible teaches, could end up going to an emergent church without having the discernment ability to recognize any errors being taught by the leaders there. This is especially problematic when the teaching and preaching at these churches are not biblically sound. The attraction of the "emergent friendly" atmosphere might "tickle their ears" but will, unfortunately, lack the sound doctrine of the true gospel of Jesus Christ.
MacArthur has so many great quotes in his book that it is hard for me to choose which ones to share today.
As I continue to read through The Truth War book, I plan to blog about portions of this important book that will definitely help readers have more of an ability to discern truth from error.
For now, I want to show how MacArthur demolishes the "UnChristian" authors' premise in their book. Here are just a few of the relevant quotes:
"The idea that the Christian message should be kept pliable and ambiguous seems especially attractive to young people who are in tune with the culture and in love with the spirit of the age."
"People are experimenting with subjective, relativistic ideas of truth and labeling them "Christian." This trend signals a significant departure from Biblical and historic Christianity."
"The postmodernist recoils from absolutes and does not want to concede any truths that might seem axiomatic or self-evident. Instead, truth, if acknowledged at all, becomes something infinitely pliable and ultimately unknowable in any objective sense."
[Time out. For those who might be interested in seeing a debate that shows how a "postmodernist recoils from absolutes," I invite you to view a video that shows the exchange between New-Age guru Deepak Chopra and Christian Apologist and Ambassador for Christ, Greg Koukl on a program called "Faith Under Fire." The video is a bit grainy, but it's certainly worth your time to see that as the dialogue progresses, Chopra takes pride in "embracing his uncertainty," yet, verbally indicates that his relativistic worldview causes him to recoil from Koukl's certainty in his faith about the Person of Jesus Christ.]
Back to John MacArthur's quotes:
"Uncertainty is the new truth. Doubt and skepticism have been canonized as a form of humility. Right and wrong have been redefined in terms of subjective feelings and personal perspectives."
Here is the crux of the emergent movement. The notion that certainty about anything is inherently arrogant.
I have read countless blog posts from people who refuse to repent because they want to hold onto a particular sinful lifestyle; yet, make want to make the claim that they are Christian. This is wildly popular today in this age of postmodernism. The "UnChristian" book was filled with applause for the "do not judge" view!
How ironic is it that the belief that no one can really know anything for certain (e.g. "my" truth tells me differently from "your" truth mantra) is emerging as virtually the one dogma postmodernists will tolerate!!
MacArthur provides a biblical definition of truth.
Truth is that which is consistent with the mind, will, character, glory, and being of God. Even more to the point: Truth is the self-expression of God.
He goes on to support this claim with Bible quotes, including what Jesus has said about truth. He also shows the necessity of absolute truth, why we can only get it from God, and how all other definitions which try to omit God, hopelessly fall short.
If you took the time to view the video of Chopra and Koukl's debate, you would have noticed that Chopra holds to the idea that his own cynicism should be regarded as the most splendid of all virtues! You can actually see the contempt on his face and his dislike for Greg Koukl when Greg shares the fact that (paraphrased here) "since all religions claim different things, logically, it is impossible that each religion can be true all at the same time."
Chopra thinks that his view is more "tolerant." He thinks that his view is more "noble." Chopra even naively claims that unlike Koukl, he does not "impose" his beliefs upon everyone else.
Greg nailed it when he came back at Chopra's hint of having "humility" with the fact that Chopra has sold millions of books promoting his views about his "uncertainty."
This claim of uncertainty on the part of Deepak's worldview is supposed to be an indication that Chopra isn't "imposing his views" upon others? C'mon!! How hypocritical is that?
Greg Koukl's book, "Relativism: Feet Firmly Planted in Mid-Air" describes Chopra's worldview and exposes the irrationality of it.
Absolute truth does exist. It can be found in the pages of the Bible.
To claim religious neutrality is a fallacy. There is no such thing. Even the religions of atheism, skepticism, and secular humanism all have an object of worship. Namely, the self!
What is really sad, my Christian friends, is the fact that false teachers like Brian McLaren have much more in common with Deepak Chopra than with the Truth of Orthodox, Biblical, historic Christianity.
What does this tell us?
It tells us that the emergent church movement is moving away from the truth into a spiritual oblivion, similar to the one that Chopra embraces!
Listen, for example, to how Brian McLaren sums up his views on orthodoxy, certainty, and the question of whether the truths of Christianity are sound and reliable in the first place:How ironic that I am writing about orthodoxy, which implies to many a final capturing of the truth about God, which is the glory of God. Sit down here next to me in this little restaurant and ask me if Christianity (my version of it, yours, the Pope's, whoever) is orthodox, meaning true, and here's my honest answer: a little, but not yet. Assuming by Christianity you mean the Christian understanding of the world and God, Christian opinions on soul, text, and culture...I'd have to say that we probably have a couple of things right, but a lot of things wrong. 1
1 Brian McLaren, A Generous Orthodoxy (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2004), 293.
McLaren suggests that clarity itself is of dubious value. he clearly prefers ambiguity and equivocation, and his books are therefore full of deliberate doublespeak. In his introduction to A Generous Orthodoxy, he admits, "I have gone out of my way to be provocative, mischievous, and unclear, reflecting my belief that clarity is sometimes overrated, and that shock, obscurity, playfulness, and intrigue (carefully articulated) often stimulate more thought than clarity." A common theme that runs throughout most of McLaren's writings is the idea that "there is great danger in the quest to be right."
Doesn't McLaren's doublespeak (which is masterfully pointed out by Dr. MacArthur's comments about McLaren's quote from his book) eerily remind us of Satan's encounter with Eve in the Garden of Eden and how he (Satan) led her astray by saying, "Did God really say....?"
Camp On This
Faith Under Fire
The Truth War
******* to be continued *******