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)

A New Kind of Christianity: Parable of the Flower Power

I want to tell you a story about a man name Gene Orthodoxy, who grew up in the turbulent 1960s and ‘70s. Gene Orthodoxy became a committed Christian in the ‘70s through the Jesus Movement. What was the Jesus Movement? It was a movement in the late ‘60s and ‘70s where born again Christians came from former hippies, drug addicts, occult and eastern religion practitioners, rock and roll musicians, basically postmodernists from the beatnik generation. The hippies adhered to a counter-culture movement, rebellious of authorities, anti-war, anti-doctrinal orthodoxy. Hippies espoused peace, love and personal freedom.

Gene became a Christian in this postmodern backdrop. Becoming a Christian is a radical change. It means an about-face. It is 2 Co 5:17 ”Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” and Ro 12:2 ”Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Gene wanted to be an English teacher and as such, being a Christian, C.S. Lewis naturally became his role model. While Gene participated in Christian activities, he was never transformed. It is not uncommon for individuals to profess and even think they might be Christians without ever being born again. They have not been regenerated and their hearts and minds have never been transformed, Gene Orthodoxy is such an individual. Gene is able to go through the motions of Christian activities but void of its power. (2 Timothy 3:5) ”having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.”

Gene taught Bible study even though he was not a born again Christian. The old things such as the postmodern values that he grew up in was still firmly entrenched in the core of his being, the new has not come into Gene. Gene recalls how prevalent postmodern philosophy was in the ‘70s at the campus where he was a graduate student. Gene thought WOW, I really dig these questions that’s being raise through this postmodern philosophy and the Christian faith just don’t have any good answers. Gene couldn’t find the answers in the Christian faith because he was not a Christian. 1 Co 2:12-15 ”We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man’s judgment:”

Fast forward a bit into the ‘90s, Gene is now a pastor. A man without the Spirit of God does not teach the things of God. So when people who attended his church started asking him those postmodern questions that he thought was so powerful and he had no answers to, he knew he had to do something. Gene Orthodoxy thought to himself, I am a pastor now, I don’t want to get fired from my job and lose the “love gifts” that flows in every month. (Gene also made a mental note to himself that if he ever writes a book this would be a pretty good line to use to criticize the traditional Christians.)

Gene Orthodoxy thought long and hard digging deep into his own soul. Gene realized that although he calls himself a Christian but he still deeply believes in many of the values from the hippie era. He knew he couldn’t find the answers in the Bible, so the answers must come from within. Gene reasoned to himself, why I should dispute these great postmodern questions that share many of my values, I should embrace these questions. At the same time they seem to be in conflict with the traditional Christian values. I don’t want to deny that I am a Christian because of that “love gift” thing and besides what the hippie movement lacked was something like this god thing to anchor their value and give it meaning. Once Gene decided that his values must be the priority therefore the rest is elementary as Sherlock Holmes would say. As Einstein has discovered if light is constant then time must be relative. And in Gene’s case Christian values must be relative and it needs to change.

Gene recognizes from the beginning if he wants to change the Biblical values, he must first deconstruct the long held historical beliefs of the Bible. Gene is also a student of history so he knows that he cannot directly declare that the Bible is wrong. That has already been done by the liberal Jesus Seminar types and they have failed spectacularly. Gene’s method for deconstructing the Bible is much more devious. Instead of saying the Bible is filled with errors like the higher critics, he will say the way that Christians read the Bible and their constructs are in error.

How would this work? For example, Gene’s hippie values say that human history has been bias toward a patriarchal dominated society. This bias has led to Christians referring to God as father and a male figure. Gene’s hippie values demand that this injustice must be rectified therefore Christianity must change. So let’s start by referring to God as a chick. Nevertheless, Gene is devious enough to know that the idea of a goddess will not be widely accepted in the liberal Christian circle. Instead Gene chose to attack the Christians as misogynous males still mired in Roman-style pugilism. This was an ingenious tactic because by mischaracterizing Christian values which was strictly based on the inerrancy of Scripture, he can deconstruct the Bible without firing a direct shot at the Bible.

Some have raised the objection to Gene that the Bible is replete with references to God the Father; all three Person of the Trinity are referred to in the masculine. How could you possibly use a gender neutral or feminine reference to God? Gene might respond by agreeing with one of his friend that the Bible is a human product not a divine fiat. And as a human product written by a male dominated society they have completely misunderstood who God is. So eventually Gene’s unchristian beliefs do surface.

Gene is also intent on subverting the moral laws of God. For instance, Gene opposes the Bible when it says that homosexuality is a sin and an abomination. Once again Gene insists that his position is the correct view of Scripture because the Bible never condemns homosexuality but only condemns homosexuality in the context of adultery. The current Christian view of homosexuality is interpreted by hateful homophobic Christians who don’t like anyone different from them. Gene also claims that there are scholars who debate what the Greek words that are interpreted as homosexual act really mean and therefore the homophobic Christians cannot take a dogmatic stance on this issue.

The problem for Gene is that the Bible is crystal clear on homosexuality. It is an abomination not because it is licentious. It is an abomination simply because of the homosexual act itself. Gene also likes to reference mostly liberal scholars who gravitate toward the fringe of Christian orthodoxy often for the same reason as Gene does, i.e. to sway to the winds of contemporary secular opinions. By citing these so called scholars, who are in the minority by far, is a farce but Gene only needed some pretense of legitimacy for cover. He doesn’t really need to explain how many of these scholars hold this view, who these scholars are or the merits of their view. Just by using the words “scholars disagree” on the issue of homosexuality is sufficient to give him cover to perpetuate his deception.

Some have explained to Gene how these liberal arguments are not reasonable understanding of the Greek text. Gene’s response is that he doesn’t see the Bible in black and white and he doesn’t have such a simplistic view of the Bible. Gene is using smoke and mirror to give the illusion that he is the only one who has given serious thoughts to the Bible. Gene must think the vast majority of Christians are a bunch of doofus who blindly follow what has been fed to them. Others have also pointed out to Gene that just because he throw out a few scholars to support his postmodern view of homosexuality is irrelevant. The fact that “scholars disagree” is nothing new. There have been false teachers as early as the first century, such as Docetism and Ebionism. Gene’s teaching is just one in the long line of heresies behind Modalism, Arianism and Pelagianism. Therefore just because some “scholars disagree” does not make Gene’s teaching more thoughtful or legitimate. Shouldn’t we give more consideration to (Jude 4) “For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.” Many have urge Gene not to make moral/acceptable what God has declared immoral.

Gene approaches all his postmodern anti-Christian values the same way as the examples above. Whether it is on the issue of nature worship in the form of global warming or pro-abortion through social justice, Gene rewrites what the Bible says to fit his interpretation and at the same time demonize those who disagree with him as hateful, close-minded and bigoted.

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