mē genoito

May it never be! Let God be true, and every man a liar. As it is written: “So that you may be proved right when you speak and prevail when you judge.” (Ro 3:4)

Trojan Christianity Comparison

I’ve put together a chart that shows the distinctives of Christian, Seeker, and Emerging churches.

Orthodox Christianity Seeker Churches Emerging Churches
God Centered (Sovereignty) Self Centered Community Centered
Epistemology & Practice
Chief end of Man is to Glorify God1.

Truth is Absolute and not relative2.

We are commanded to know God through our reasoning, logic, and our entire being3.

God gave Man dominion over His Creation on earth4.

God is Sovereign and does not need communal consensus with His Creatures to carry out His will5.

6The search for an experiential faith, a religion of the heart, not of the head. It’s a religious expression that downplays doctrine and dogma, and revels in direct experience of the divine-whether it’s called the “holy spirit” or “cosmic consciousness” or the “true self.” It is practical and personal, more about stress reduction than salvation, more therapeutic than theological. It’s about feeling good, not being good. It’s as much about the body as the soul. 7Postmodern deconstructionisti Ambiguity reigns; words like – God, love, world, Jesus, hope; truth; cultural, sexual, economical tolerance have different meanings from orthodoxy; anti-Dogma.

Narrativeii postmodernists Truth is communal; no universal standard to judge diverse truth-claims; cannot appeal to ultimate truth to convert non-Christians.

Liberationistiii Postmodernism God is not male; God is not white; earth has been raped and debilitated in the name of God.

Revisionaryiv Postmodernism Theistic evolution; interaction between creatures and the Creator are central to understanding reality, panentheism.

Salvation
Consumer need: Sinners dead in our trespasses, awaiting judgment and hell. 8 Grace alone, faith alone, and Christ alone, but Churches need to market and sell her product to her consumers, much like Wal-Mart and Sears9v. Through grace, faith, and Christ, not exclusive but inclusive.

God is only love, propitiation is “child abuse10” therefore does not exist.

We need a better understanding of judgment, justice and hell. It makes

God look like a torturer.11

Be a part of the solution.12

“It bothers me to use exclusive and Jesus in the same sentence. Everything about Jesus’ life and message seemed to be about inclusion, not exclusion,” “Maybe God’s plan is an opt-out plan, not an opt-in one. If you want to stay out of the party, you can. But it’s hard for me to imagine somebody being more stubbornly ornery than God is gracious.”13

Gospel: Faith in the sovereign grace of God’s incarnation, death and resurrection of imputed righteousness we are saved.14

The gospel exposes sin, condemns pride, convicts the unbelieving heart, and human righteousness are filthy rags.15

The gospel is marketed as something that works (i.e. relieves pain and provides happiness)vi

The gospel is the answer to felt needs, low self-esteem, loneliness, excitement, way to heart’s desires.

Jeremiah warned in his day, “They have healed the brokenness of My people superficially” (Jeremiah 6:14). Sin is reduced to sickness and addiction. The sinner is not seen as depraved, but as a victim. The seeker-sensitive church provided psychological prescriptions for life’s issues rather than biblical ones.16
Bible (The Word of God)
Inerrant and God breathed17 Inerrant and God breathed Works of men and error prone
Scripture is God’s guide for our sanctification and transformation to a more Christ-like life. 18 We need a new approach to teaching the Word. Unchurched Harry gets bummed out by the straight reading of the Bible. Don’t mention about sin, hell, righteousness, judgment, holiness, and no admonition. We need to accept people wherever they are at. Ethics and morality is a matter of consensus. We need to accept everyone (except those who don’t accept everyone) and make the environment a better place. That is glorying God.
Hell / Afterlife
Hell is a real and physical place. Hell is a real and physical place. Hell is an invention by insecure Christians who wants to put others down.
There is a second coming, judgment, eternal life, and eternal punishment. We need to preach it for the salvation and the hope of those who believe. It is also a warning and condemnation to those who are perishing. The afterlife is something that exists but the Church is here to meet the “needs” of the community “now”. It is not something we need to talk about. The afterlife is a mystery and it is up to the individual’s conviction. Christians must reject Hell because it portrays God as a cosmic torturer. Christians must rethink the idea of Hell. Create new ways to attract Postmoderns to Jesus.

i Modernists base their knowledge about the world upon a linguistic foundation they believe is certain, secure, and unambiguous. They assume that words, propositions, and sentences capture the truth about reality. — Deconstructionists point out, however, that language cannot be nailed down. Words inevitably contain meanings that the author did not intend. Communication is never crystal-clear. Just when we think we have a word that corresponds fully to reality, we find it inadequate. Propositions cannot deliver the full truth about reality that we want them to deliver. — In fact, the meaning of words depends on their context, and we can never understand contexts fully. As a consequence, ambiguity reigns. Even our most cherished words – God, love, world, Jesus, hope are ambiguous. — Deconstructive postmodernism promotes tolerance, because it reminds us that we can never corner the market on truth. If we realize that no certain foundation or monolithic worldview exists that fully accounts for reality, we would be wise to tolerate those who are culturally, sexually, economically, or intellectually different from ourselves. Dogmatism and discrimination have no place. Realizing that no foundations exist to tie us down may inspire us to engage creatively the multifarious world in which we live.

ii Narrative postmodernists believe that understanding reality as story overcomes two main problems in modernism. One modern tradition claims that the only things worth taking seriously are logical propositions that “picture” the world. The real world is comprised of independent elementary facts capable of empirical investigation. – The problem with modernists is they think logic, mathematics, and the natural sciences are the only adequate bricks for building a meaningful worldview. — The second problem inherent in modernism, say narrative postmodernists, is also an aspect of deconstructive postmodernism. Modernists and deconstructionists believe that each individual decides for him or herself what is true or meaningful. Truth is individualistic. I decide what is true as I interpret texts and contexts. Radical relativism is the foul product of the modern view that people are isolated individuals and the deconstructive view that truth is relative to each particular perspective. — Narrative postmodernism argues that meaning is found in, and arises out of, particular communities. Truth is communal, not individualistic. — There is no over-arching or universal standard by which to judge the adequacy of diverse truth-claims offered by communities that disagree. One cannot appeal to ultimate truth, for instance, when seeking to convert nonChristians.

iii Many postmodernists argue that modern ideas, beliefs, and ways are largely to blame for third world suffering. — Many postmodern feminists resist calling humans “men” or God “Father,” because these terms exclude women or influence us to worship traits commonly identified with masculinity. — The truths that women grasp from pregnancy and childbearing, for instance, arise from embodied knowing. Although these truths cannot be captured by logical syllogisms and scientific analysis, this knowledge is as real and as important as almost any other knowledge. — Modernity considered the world a machine and its creatures in need of human control. This mechanization of nature provided no grounds to affirm the intrinsic value, freedom, and purpose of nonhumans. Coupled with the evolutionary notion that humans are part of this nature machine, modernism also denied that humans possess intrinsic value, freedom, and purpose. — God is not male. Ethnic postmodernists argue that minorities have been conquered and slaughtered in the name of modernity’s White Man’s God. God is not white. Ecological postmodernists believe that the earth has been raped and debilitated in the name of the God whom modernists believed placed nonhumans under the domination of humans. God is not andocentric.

iv Hard-core commonsense notions, however, allow one to overcome radical relativism. They point to features of existence we all share. In this, revisionary postmodernism continues the premodern and modern beliefs that at least some universal standards exist. But because many other beliefs are not inevitably presupposed in experience, revisionary postmodernists embrace the diversity that arises from divergent forms of life. The “other” is not reduced to the self. Therefore, discerning tolerance is a moral imperative. — Revisionary postmodernists join feminists in arguing that knowledge is not confined to logic or facts obtained through our five senses. Because of nonsensory perception, revisionary postmodernism takes seriously and affirms that creatures have direct interaction with God. The invisible Spirit works in all creation, and we have direct access to this Spirit. Nonsensory interaction with God provides our awareness of right and wrong, true and false, beautiful and ugly. For in God we live and move and have our being. — Many revisionary postmodernists also adopt the theory of theistic evolution, because it affirms a necessary place both God and evolution in an adequate explanation of creation. One can affirm both the main contours of contemporary science and the belief that God continually creates. — An important plank in revisionary postmodernism is its doctrine of God. Revisionists are in many ways premodern in their belief that God is actual, active, and interacting in the world. God really lives and truly loves. Revisionary postmodernists do not believe that creatures and their integrity should be swallowed up and regarded as unnecessary in light of theology. A revisionary postmodern worldview reserves an essential place for both creatures and the Creator. And this worldview regards the interaction of both as central to understanding reality. Some call this panentheism. Others call it participation or cooperation.

v Warren and the new paradigm churches are geared to reaching the lost. While many churches are wasting precious energy fussing over the color of the drapes in the foyer — Willow Creekers know Harry’s interests and passions, his goals and his hang-ups. They understand how his mind works and are doing all they can to make Christianity relevant. — How do we market such a product? By changing the package. Note the subtle bait and switch in Barna’s philosophy,

Ministry, in essence, has the same objective as marketing — to meet people’s needs. Christian ministry, by definition, meets people’s real needs by providing them with biblical solutions to their life circumstances (p. 21).

By repackaging ministry, including the gospel message, as we will see, Barna has made it attractive. If we can convince people that Christ died to meet their needs, they will line up at our doors to buy our product. — The new paradigm church would have no problem agreeing that Harry’s true need is salvation from sin. But they do not believe that Harry will respond to such a gospel unless we dress it up with other enticing offers. Felt-needs is the porthole, they believe, through which Harry is reached in order that his true spiritual need is met.

vi Written into the bylaws of Saddleback is this sentence, “This church exists to benefit the residents of the Saddleback Valley by providing for their spiritual, physical, emotional, intellectual and social needs” (p.220).

1 31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Co 10:31 36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. Ro 11:36 25 Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. 26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. 27 For behold, those who are far from you shall perish; you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you. 28 But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, that I may tell of all your works. Ps 73:25-28

2 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Mt 5:18

Jesus used the phrase “I tell you the truth” (NIV) or “Truly, I say to you” hundreds of times. This is the emphatic Greek word “amen”; a formulas of certainty. al?theia – 1 objectively. 1A what is true in any matter under consideration e.g. Mt 6:2,5,16, 8:10, 10:15,23,42, 18:3,18, 23:36 Lk 4:24, 9:27, 12:37,44

17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. Jn 17:17 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. Jn 16:13 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. Jn 14:6

3 18 “Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: Is 1:18 2 Hear, you mountains, the indictment of the LORD, and you enduring foundations of the earth, for the LORD has an indictment against his people, and he will contend with Israel. Mic 6:2 26 Put me in remembrance; let us argue together; set forth your case, that you may be proved right. Is 43:26 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ Mk 12:30

4 26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” Ge 1:26 6 You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet, Ps 8:6 5 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. Col 1:16-17 11 “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” Re 4:11 16 You turn things upside down! Shall the potter be regarded as the clay, that the thing made should say of its maker, “He did not make me”; or the thing formed say of him who formed it, “He has no understanding”? Is 29:16 21 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honored use and another for dishonorable use? Ro 9:21 2 “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. Job 42:2 15 For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. Ro 9:15-16

(WCF 3:1) God from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass: (Eph. 1:11, Rom. 11:33, Heb. 6:17, Rom. 9:15,18) What happens when the suffix ai is added to adon to form the word Adonai? The majority of scholars believe that the suffix intensifies the meaning of the word, so that Adonai means “high lord, supreme lord, lord of all.” From this we see that Adonai as the title of God, calls attention to his sovereignty. Sproul, R. (2000, c1993).

6 Richard Cimino, American Demographics, April, 1999 CHOOSING MY RELIGION

7 Thomas Jay Oord, The Ooze, Oct. 23, 2006 POSTMODERNISM FOR THE EMERGENT CHURCH

8 Romans 3:23; Romans 5:1-12; Romans 3:10-18; Romans 1:18; Hebrews 9:27; Romans 6:23; Revelation 20:11-15 (ESV)

9 Pastor Gary Gilley of SVC, Think on These Things, The Market Driven Church, June 2000

10 In the United States, the EM is often associated with the name Brian McLaren. In the United Kingdom, Steve Chalke (pronounced “chalk”) is an increasingly popular figure. A few years ago Chalke said the following about substitutionary atonement in his popular book The Lost Message of Jesus:

The fact is that the cross isn’t a form of cosmic child abuse–a vengeful Father, punishing his Son for an offence he has not even committed [as the doctrine of penal substitution makes it out to be]. Understandably, both people inside and outside of the Church have found this twisted version of events morally dubious and a huge barrier to faith. Deeper than that, however, is that such a concept stands in total contradiction to the statement “God is love”. If the cross is a personal act of violence perpetrated by God towards humankind but borne by his Son, then it makes a mockery of Jesus’ own teaching to love your enemies and to refuse to repay evil with evil.[9]

Notice what Chalke is saying: The doctrine of propitiation–that Christ removed the wrath of God by absorbing it himself–is labeled “child abuse.” Not only does Chalke think that propitiation is untrue, he thinks it is immoral and reprehensible. Brian McLaren suggests that Chalke’s book “could help save Jesus from Christianity,” which is not surprising since McLaren places the “cosmic child abuse” argument on the lips of one of his characters in one of his books.[10] And never does McLaren refute this idea. It seems as if this is McLaren’s passive way of saying something without saying something. – Justin Taylor, An Emerging Church Primer Sept 2006

11 Brian McLaren The Emerging Church PBS July 15, 2005

12 The gospel, McLaren said, starts “with God’s concern for the world, in which God creates a community called the church, comprised of persons who stop (or repent of) being ‘part of the problem’ and choose instead to join God as ‘part of the solution’–thus simultaneously entering a mission and a community in which one is accepted by grace, through faith in Jesus.” Brian McLaren Emergent Evangelism Christianity Today, November, 2004 So the gospel is to stop being “part of the problem” and join a community and be “part of the solution”. This is what the Bible means to be save by grace through faith. 18 “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Jn 15:18-19 14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Jn 17:14-16 20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 1 Co 1:20 12 Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. 1 Co 2:12 17 These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm. For them the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved. 18 For, speaking loud boasts of folly, they entice by sensual passions of the flesh those who are barely escaping from those who live in error. 19 They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved. 20 For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. 2 Pe 2:17-20 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience– Eph 2:2

13 Gary Gilley The Emerging Church Think on These Things May 2006 – Volume 12, Issue 5

14 Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 5:8; Hebrews 2:17; Romans 10:9; Romans 4 (ESV)

15 6 We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. Is 64:6

16 Pastor Gary Gilley of SVC, Think on These Things, The Market Driven Church, June 2000

17 616 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. 2 Ti 3:16-17 7 The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; Ps 19:7 20 knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. 21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. 2 Pe 1:20-21 13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. 1 Ti 4:13 16 as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. 2 Pe 3:16 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Mt 5:18

18 3 His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. 5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins. 2 Pe 1:3-9 6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. 7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 2 Co 4:6-7

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