A Letter: The Emergent in need of Detergent Church!September 7, 2012 by Brock Lawley
The world is for all of us not only what it is- it is what we believe it to be. I have begun to see clearly the wide gulf between our modern attitudes about truth and truth itself. Our forefathers saw clearly what many now refuse to see. Sin, the devil constitute one force; God and righteousness the other. These forces are forever opposed in grave irreconcilable hostility. Humanity, because of our nature is caught in the middle. Evil is bent on destroying us; the gospel of Christ seeks to save. Human beings must choose sides. Neutrality is not an option!
This fight is real and deadly and lasts as long as life itself. Believers once looked forward to heaven as a lying down of the spiritual sword to enjoy a peace not afford them in life. Old hymns and sermons had a trace of homesickness. This view of the world is unquestionably scriptural.
How different today. The facts remain the same but our interpretation has changed. Instead of seeing this life as a pilgrimage in a foreign land many modern Christians now call it home. This changed attitude can be seen no more clearly than within the mindset of what some call the emergent church. Like a child’s arithmetic, these well intended believers have juggled the figures. They add up the column wrong and yet claim they have the right answer because it feels correct. They are lost in the woods, yet no longer trust the compass because their gut tells them differently. This novel way sounds extraordinary but is it true?
When does the Christian faith call us to recognize and lay aside our bias and judgment and when does it call us to stand beside what is timeless and true? God created men like Assisi but also men like Tozer. Much like a marriage the church needs such balance and is benefited by these different dispositions.
Trying to grow in number is often a very different thing than simply preaching the straight gospel and caring for the poor. Multimillion dollar buildings and plasma stadium screens sometimes get “butts in the seats” but often only to hear a trendy eco-gospel or a politically laced rant about so-called social justice. More troubling still, is the fact that they keep salty believers inside those attractive walls instead of going to where the people are.
The emergent church has become a flock of trend chasers. Like the carrot of popularity on the proverbial stick of high school, many modern believers will justify nearly anything and betray virtually every traditional value to shove their round faith into a secularist square hole. From conceding our supposed primordial origin to the very fight for the unborn, the emergent church has chosen to give the gospel what they feel badly needs a facelift. They confuse the macro with the micro when dealing with every social issue from Healthcare to foreign aid. They have convinced themselves the Gospel condones Robinhood style theft. They fail to see that God intended charity to be a two-sided blessing. When the individual obeys the clear command to feed the poor the giver spiritually receives as well. When you force wealth transfer at the end of a legislative gun, you rob both rich and poor alike. You deprive them of much more than money. You rob them of the spiritual wealth attached to the personal call to Biblical charity. I am convinced; the emergent church’s attitude on this matter robs both rich and poor of the spiritual growth that follows healthy Christian giving because they want to feel good rather than do good. I know these words and accusations are harsh generalizations, however, I honestly feel they need said.
The emergent church foolishly views the world as a sandbox instead of a minefield. If you ask them bluntly they will hedge around the question but their conduct gives them away. The gospel of Christ will never win popularity contests. How it breaks my heart to see fellow Christians like Derek Web, Donald Miller and Rob Bell slit the throat of the church publicly for little more than secular accolades. These men have become ashamed of the narrow road. They have choosen instead to become Christian panhandlers begging for the crumbs of secular affirmation alongside a wide and worldly road of fools. They have traded Paul’s unyielding zeal for Peter’s rooster cry of compromise and betrayal.
To such men and the millions who follow them, I say the world is lost on a wide sea and Christians alone know the way back. The world needs them desperately, and it needs that despised Bible, too. For written on those politically incorrect pages is the chart that guides us on this rough and unknown ocean. The day when Christians should meekly apologize is over. You will get the worlds attention not by trying to please, but by boldly declaring the truth of divine revelation. You will make yourselves heard not by compromise but by taking the affirmative and sturdily declaring “Thus saith the Lord.”
No night can be dark enough to put out the light of truth.
The timeless truth of God’s word must not be rejected because it is perceived old as we long to be new.