Christs call to friendship VS coexistance
I would like to post today on a trend in the church in general that I believe needs to be addressed.
Recently I saw a speaker named Stefan Van Voorst. He is a talented singer / speaker, and he led worship and gave the sermon at a church I attended. The series of messages they were doing, as I understand it, is based around the concept of Gods greatness on the one hand – and his intimacy with us on the other. I had not heard the normal pastor speak on this yet – so the theme is a bit hazy to me at that point – but that is not really what is important. What I want to post today on is the message given by Stefen, and the “inclusive / emergent ” heresy that is very alive and well in the church as a whole, to its detriment.
Stefan’s angle was an emphasis on understanding others views or perspectives, even when you don’t agree. At least that was what I got out of it. He mentioned friends, face book, politics, opposing views with an emphasis on Muslims and gave some real life examples of how we as Christians might befriend those that are not in agreement with us. He emphasized ‘dialogue’ and talking to people – which by itself is not such a bad idea. When dialogue is hoisted as more important than offending someone – especially when in disagreement about lies and falsehood of the enemy or false religions – well, then we are on another track altogether – one the emergent’s prize as a core belief.
This ideology may be a good bumper sticker, but it is not the gospel.
During his message Stefan spent more time talking about Muslims and their belief – than he did about the gospel of Christ and Him crucified, and Stefan is not alone. In our churches there is a great cry to be inclusive, to embrace diversity, to not judge, to get along. The emergent church movement is largely about the above bumper sticker, but its real danger is far more devious. It is a form of religion without the power thereof.
The power of Christianity comes with acknowledging sin, repenting, asking Christ into our lives and being filled with the Holy Spirit, as we seek Gods will for us on a daily basis through obedience to His word and a lifestyle of seeking His will over our own. The emphasis in Christianity is in Gods perspective and His will for our life.
The emergent church hoo-ha is about a partial knowing God (open theism) – who seemingly changes his mind to do our will, whose knowledge is incomplete – whose ways are like mans ways, who doesn’t mind homosexuality, Allah, Buddha, familiar spirits, new age – since it’s all about love baby… L – O – V – E. And it certainly isn’t loving to say a Muslim is wrong – or homosexuals can’t be legitimate Christians, or a heinous political leader (promoting and ensuring the deaths of millions of innocents through abortion agendas) is evil and condemned. That just wouldn’t be nice, and hey, God is a heck of a nice guy…he’s my buddy buddy.
I disagree. And more important than my disagreeing is the point that this position is not supported by the bible in any way shape or form.
God is love, but his love is surrounded by his holiness, and the only way to get into a loving relationship with God is through acknowledging our sin and repenting. Here is an unpopular topic in the “we are the world” emergent church. The only way we can consider ourselves friends of God is if we do His will.
John 15:14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.
If I don’t tell a homosexual he is condemned, or a Muslim – he is not saved through Allah THAT is unfriendly. That is unloving. That is wrong. True love seeks the best for the one loved, and the greatest we can hope for every person we know is an authentic loving relationship with Jesus Christ. Everything else is coexisting.
Telling the truth, separating the wheat from the chaff so to speak, and bringing people to making a decision for or against Christ might not win friends, it might even force us on a lonelier path than if we were just nice – but it is preaching the gospel, and that is not what the emergent folks are about.
Stefan emphasized how important it is to understand the perspective of a Muslim. I believe the bible teaches we are to understand Gods perspective first, follow that to the best of our ability and understanding – and let the opinion of man go by the wayside, and you don’t have to look very far in the old or new testament to see what God thinks of idols, man centered wisdom and man made religions (Isaiah would be a great primer).
Stefan talked about having a kind of constant tension as he tries to mediate these varying opinions and positions of his friends. I call that a lack of peace. That lack of peace comes from regarding the opinion of man too highly, and Stefan is suffering the just consequence. I would prefer however – that he would keep his distracted lifestyle to himself and not get on stage and advise others to follow him in his uncertainty.
This too goes out to those espousing the emergent dung / leaven. It will not help you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, it will not bring peace and it certainly will not help you be friendly or loving in the way the bible instructs us to be.
I debated a number of reactions to the sermon, among them asking the church board if they screen messages given by guest speakers, asking Stefan why he did not preach the gospel, and even walking out of the service. When it was all said and done I chose this route. Primarily becaue the heresy of Muslim inclusiveness, and the emergent apostasy is a very clear and present danger. My desire is that you would be edified and know Jesus Christ more and more. I desire this more than anything else – even if it seems unfriendly.
Christs peace be with you.