Sunday, July 30, 2006

Emerging Church Asks Questions the Modern Church Ignores

Emerging Church Asks Questions the Modern Church Ignores

Recently a challenge was set out for “EC’ers worth their biblical salt”, (what ever that means) to answer some questions about Brian McLaren… yet I have not seen one Modern really address the issues we are discussing in the EC conversation. Many seem to deny that this is the “postmodern age” thus one is by default a “postmodern” just as living in the “modern age” made one a modern.

Yet, as a person of faith in Christ Jesus, it is not in the age we get our identity, not in the (Often vain) philosophies and ideals of that age, but rather in Christ Himself… In that the bible is clear we are to engage the culture in which we live, just as the early believers did following the Resurrection… as nothing has changed from the time of the Great Commission. That is to me the simplified understanding of being missional. To engage culture to spread the Good News, the same one they spread in scripture… that Jesus Christ is risen. (Acts 5:42).

We are to live out our faith… not let it stagnate in gospel ghettos, or Christianized national theologies (which is the reason that Hitler rose o power in Germany and no Christian churches stood up to him but accepted that the “Jews killed Jesus, so we should kill the Jews). To me if one reads some of the outtakes of
Hitler's speeches one will realize he had a form of Christianity… I see it as the pinnacle of “modernism” as it stood for supremacy through brute force… and even love was redefined as being radical politically and in their religion… in other words they combined the two in some sick hybrid Christianity of a National Faith…. Much like both the liberal left and conservative right to with their faith… it becomes a weapon of destruction instead of having the power to restore, heal, and reconcile… it is set on devouring those who oppose the ideals of that nations religious structure.

Now we can participate in our govt and I see that as the ‘right’ thing to do as a citizen. Yet, it should always be done by Christians from the view that we are not of this fallen world any more. We are citizens of Heaven now. Yet, I still see that that is where the modern church is heading… and the symptoms are in their speak… like “God hate fags” on the extreme along with abortion clinic bombings and on the other as God is used as a political tool to get votes by using the churches to promote govt social programs.

Jesus and the Church were never meant to be pawns or tools in man’s political structure. Jesus and the Church were never intended to spread an empire other than the Kingdom of God. To attach it to man’s agenda, we only see a sick twisted religion which faintly looks like Christianity (like the case of Hitler) or a weak anemic Christianity that is nothing but a nicety in it’s symbolism.

So the first real question I will ask is this:

  1. Why is modernism content with mixing Jesus and the church with a worldly political agenda?

In an article By Will McRaney FIRST-PERSON: Sharing Christ with the confused Feb 12, 2004 Baptist Press

“We live in a postmodern context in which people no longer are looking to the institutional church for answers to their deep spiritual questions and needs as their grandparents and parents did. Therefore, of the three major categories of evangelism -- attraction, projection and media -- projection strategies will have to play an increasing role: Like Jesus depended upon His disciples, the church will become increasingly dependent upon its body to communicate its message outside the walls of the church.”

Yet, the focus is most often not about “going to the lost”, but rather getting them to come to church… it is as though we replaced Jesus with the institution of church-ianity. It seems that the modern view of the gospel is to just sit in churches as send delegates (missionaries) to reach the world. Instead, we Christians are called to engage and live and to be like the Romans when in Rome… as Paul taught in 1 Corinthians 9. This is not as some accuse Brian McLaren as saying, to “smoke, drink, fornicate, or party down” or whatever silliness moderns accuse EC’ers of teaching and doing… to quote Brian McLaren… and in context I might add as that is often not the case (most miss his sense of humor and tongue in cheek approach even if he points it out in the footnotes, they seem to see that twisting his words and adding their interpretation of what he says is the same as what he said… it seems that it is not just the Bible they do it with). Here is a quote from A Generous Orthodoxy on being Incarnational page 251:

“There are two things this incarnation ministry is not. It is not some kind of a dishonest spy network, where one pretends to be something one is not, like an internet pedophile who pretends to be a teenager so he can enter their trust, or like a network marketer who pretends to be your friend so he can add you to his down-line. And again, neither is it a kind of “everybody-is-okay/all-religions-are- equally true” relativist/pluralist tolerance, where I smoke weed with the Rastafarians, chant with the Hare Krishnas, bow toward Mecca with the Muslims, and dance with the Pentecostals because” it’s all good, it’s all fun, it’s all mellow, and it doesn’t matter which religion (if any?) you believed as long as you’re sincere, man” If you take what I am saying and turn it into either of these approaches, you’re smoking some kind of weed yourself, I think.”

With that I would agree entirely and the amazing thing I have seen Brian accused of saying that by people who claim to have read this very book! It is classick, “missing the point”. But I digress.

So the question is this:

2. Why are we focused on growing our own little empires, (Churches/denominations) and not focused on getting people to Jesus?

“Programs! Get your programs!” One of my personal critics is that we have become a programs driven church…. I hear it many times that “my church has some great programs.” And I fight from saying,”but do you know Jesus… have you ever been taught by the Holy Spirit?” I guess I am afraid they might not know how to answer. It seems we have become complacent with developing programs (which in and of themselves is not a bad thing) and instead of letting the Holy Spirit teach and lead, we make “converts” go through programs to show they are ready for ministry… this is also happening in our seminaries as young minds go to find more out about the church and Jesus and come out having reduced it all from a “LIFE LIVED” to a “system of theology” or “better programs”. I see great danger in losing sight of direct discipleship and becoming more of a program driven church… as we may fall victim to have a “form of godliness” and miss out a real opportunity to find Jesus. This also runs the risk of the error of the Pharisee who would keep perfect doctrine himself, yet give those under him a less stricter doctrine, which led Jesus to say, “ you make others twice as fit for hell as you are yourself.” (Matt 23)

So the question is this:

3. Why are modern churches content in programs over the Holy Spirit?

I will have more questions later… I am sure this is enough to chew on for a while.


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RC said...

i don't think your questions are fact I think they're pretty good...especially as I attend a no program church (well we have small groups and a church I attend a 2 program church).

Otherwise everything else is just life w/ Christ.

But I've wondered if this model will be the same model I look for as I have my own children? Or if somehow my needs changed.

So, I guess that's my question for you...

let me reword it.

What do you see redeeming in the modern church?

--RC of

iggy said...


Thanks for the question. I will post an answer on my blog soon...