Saturday, June 4, 2011

What is an Evangelical? (part 1)

Mark 1:14-15 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel."

Christianity in Western society is often encumbered with heterodox labels that orthodox Christianity should understand so as to intelligently reject in the process of promulgating Biblical belief. These attacks frequently come from within the church. Therefore their proponents are adept at cunningly couching their heterodoxy in sentiment & language that can seem entirely benign & even benevolent to a Scriptural Gospel- in the same way that, for instance, a Pakistani could much easier reach other Pakistanis than a born & bred American could. We are naturally less guarded in the company of those who are culturally & linguistically akin to us.

“Emergent” is one label that becomes patently false to us as we contrast its teachings with the Bible. They believe in eviscerating the Gospel so as to make it acceptable to all. They teach a social gospel, not towards a goal of unifying Christianity, but instead all world religion. They are often the ones we see with the “coexist”, “peace”, & “believe” bumper stickers which morph the symbols of various religions into the letters that form these words. Their principle leader, a guy who deceptively takes the title of “Christian” himself, is Brian McLaren; his watered down “gospel”, which is really no gospel at all (Gal 1:6-7), leads to statements such as:

“I don't believe making disciples must equal making adherents to the Christian religion. It may be advisable in many (not all!) circumstances to help people become followers of Jesus and remain within their Buddhist, Hindu or Jewish contexts…”

Now if he had in mind by “context”- the cultural effects of these religions, he would of course be correct. A Indian convert to Christianity is simply going to have to practice his newfound belief within the context of a largely Hindu society (1Cor. 5:10). But he is not saying this at all; he is stating that new Christian can continue to be a Hindu, changing nothing more than those aspects of Hinduism that seem (in McLaren’s eyes), to violate Christianity- like Sati rituals & the caste system of social stratifications.

This elucidates what McLaren sees as the Gospel; to him, it is something that is soteriologically centered around simply trying to become a “follower of Jesus”. Cedar Ridge Community Church teaches WWJD not as a response to the Gospel of a crucified & risen Savior, but instead of that one Way & His Gospel message. They enervate the good news of Christ by presenting a soteriology that has our potential for righteous morality as its base, instead of presenting Christ’s utter fulfillment of all righteousness as the only possible basis for salvation. But it is only therein, in this type of belief structured around Christ alone holding the key to our salvation, wherein the believer becomes bonded to Christ; only thus achieving for God His goal, spelled out by John 4:23, of a people worshipping Him in both spirit & truth.

Titus 2:11-14 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, (12) training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, (13) waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, (14) who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

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