by Ken Silva
Jesus answered them, âIs it not written in your Law, âI have said you are godsâ? If he called them âgods,â to whom the word of God cameâand the Scripture cannot be brokenâwhat about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, âI am Godâs Sonâ? Do not believe me unless I do what my Father does.â
Let Us Nail Down Some Jello
The purpose of this short work is to show you what Brian McLaren, one the major spokesmen for the Emergent Church movement, has to say on the subject of the Bible. As has been stated elsewhere, this can be likened to the frustrating attempt to nail down jello. On his own website McLaren is asked a direct question: âWhat do you believe about the Bible? Do you believe that it is the inerrant word of God?â His answer is:
About your last question, I believe the Bible is uniquely authoritative for Christians. Nearly every Sunday for over twenty years I have preached sermons at my church (and elsewhere) that are deeply rooted in Scripture. Some of them are available at the Cedar Ridge website. This is probably the best answer to your question. I intentionally avoid including a lot of Biblical references in my writing because the method of âproof-textingâ is terribly problematic. Yes â it can show the Biblical roots beneath a statement, but it also can be used to give the appearance that a statement is supported by Biblical authority when it isnât. I have a chapter on my view of Scripture in âA Generous Orthodoxy.â Perhaps it would be reassuring to you. But again, my many years of preaching would be the best answer to your question, as would my daily life, which â though far from perfect â is lived in the light of Scripture. http://www.anewkindofchristian.com/archives/000406.html
Notice the sentence I highlighted â âI believe the Bible is uniquely authoritative for Christians.â The logical inference then becomes: The Bible isnât necessarily âuniquely authoritativeâ for non-Christians. I tell you in the Lord that the rest of McLaren’s muddied answer could also have been stated by retired âBishopâ John Shelby Spong, the heretic who wrote the book Rescuing The Bible From Fundamentalism: A Bishop Rethinks The Meaning Of Scripture. Does that term ârethinkâ remind you of anyone in the Emergent Church community?
As a pastor-teacher sent by Christ someone is welcome ask me the exact same question: âDo you believe that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God?â Answer: Absolutely; it is the only Book inspired the one true and living Godâthe Creator of mankindâand as such it is the sole source of authority for how God wishes all of His creation to live their lives, no matter what culture they may be part of. My reason for stating it like that is because this is exactly how Jesus Christ of Nazareth approached Holy Scripture, and no one has the right to call themselves Christian without having the same view of the Scriptures that His Master had.
In the statement below I finally find a place where Brian McLaren and I can agree. In a short interview on Beliefnetâa very liberal religious websiteâcalled Beyond Business-as-Usual Christianity McLaren correctly says:
The most important thing is that we stop being content as members of the Christian religion and actually aspire to start living in the way of Jesus http://www.beliefnet.com/story/165/story_16589_2.html
Don’t Be Like Pontius Pilate
Iâm not going to do an exhaustive apologetic here for the inerrancy of the Bible, I will use but one argument for your consideration in prayerful hope this will awaken people from the growing demonic delusion of men like Brian McLaren and other leaders of the Emergent Church. From the Apostle John we have the following eyewitness account from our above text we see here that Jesus calls the existing Hebrew Scriptures (now our Old Testament) the Word of God. Taking into account Matthewâs own recollection of Jesus telling the literal person called the Devil the absolute Truth that â âIt is written: âMan does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of Godââ (Matthew 4:4). We don’t then want to be like Ponius Pilate, the foolish skeptic who once asked His own Creator â âWhat is truth?â
Men and women, here in Matthew’s eyewitness testimonyâas clearly and succinctly as possibleâis the Masterâs way of handling Godâs Word, and thus the model for the true Christian, or disciple of Christ. The so-called âreligionâ of professing Christians is a whole other matter entirely and has nothing to do with the actual subject at hand: Living in the way of Jesus. It is written â where is it written; in Deuteronomy 8:3 of the Old Testament. Could Jesus have been more direct in teaching us how we are to live as ChristiansâHis followers? What in the world is there to ârethinkâ here; or to reinterpret/re-approach?
It’s quite obvious here to anyone who wants to see that Christ is appealing to Godâs Wordâwhich He called Scriptureâas His ultimate source of authority about how He should live. And since Heâas the Creator God Himself in human formâsaid that man (and not just His followers mind you) but mankind of all races creeds and cultures (very inclusive, we should like that) man is to live on every Word that comes from the mouth of God. This is where the doctrine of inerrancy finds it root; if we are to order our lives by every Word that comes from the Mouth of God then it becomes obvious we must have every Word that comes from the mouth of God, and further it is also plain that our Lord is assuming the reality of our being able to understand what words actually mean.
Oh, but there are still the growing number of fools who say: âBut Jesus was not exclusive in His message of universal brotherhood and love.â Is that so; look at verse 37 of the opening text â I do what My Father does. Oops, but that wasnât a âpolitically correct,â man-pleasing message was it? âMy Father,â not our Father or your Father. Keep in mind no Jew at that time would ever have dared to refer to God as âFather,â let alone as My Father. Sadly, the charge leveled at orthodox Christianity by Emergent Church leaders that we are reading a western culture into an eastern book is fallacious because 1) Christâs message as the Creator of mankindâalthough expressed in the eastâis emphatically clear: All of mankind must live by the very Word of God; 2) He is speaking to all of mankind down through the corridors of time, and even to arrogant postmodern America, and 3) it is actually their own western idea of inclusivism that is clouding their understaning of what Jesus says here quite plainly saidâand in the presence of many eyewitness.
Christ Was Killed Because Of His View Of Absolute Truth
Let us finally get this straight: Jesus was not killed for telling people that God understands that whatever way is acceptable in your culture shapes how you will worship Him; or for saying âI have my views, you have your views and weâll just love one another because in the end we’re all God’s children, and the important thing is that we have to put our differences aside to take care of the poor and work together to give every person a faith-based life.â We need to understand that sometimes the best thing for someone is to be poor, or sick, or in a downtrodden culture in order that they will cry out to the God of the Bible for help. Our omniscient Lord knows that this may be what it takes for them to say: âYou know this statute Iâve been praying to hasnât exactly done much for me; Godâif You are there, help me!â
Let us not forget that there were also many poor people in Christâs day and the people expected that Messiah was going to come and solve all their problemsâmost notably to deliver them from Roman oppression. Jesus Christ of Nazareth was killed because He said: âThis is what God says; these Hebrew Scriptures testify of Me; the Words I speak are from God Himself, so when Iâm speaking, it is actually My Father that is speaking!â Is it really any wonder then why the Devil has vigorously attacked the Gospel of John; kick out an eyewitness testimony, sow confusion? Why would Satan do so; is it because propositional truth can’t be known? No quite the opposite is true, and now he is currently attacking the Gospel of Matthew within current Evangelical scholarship in an attempt to get rid of yet another eyewitness.
Emergent Church leaders like Brian McLaren donât think we should approach the Bible like this, to correct his huge misunderstanding in this most critical issue, one need only look at the intro to Lukeâs Gospel. The fact that God chose to preserve this as Holy Scripture just might give us an inkling that He approves of this approach:
Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught (Luke 1:1-4)
Uh-oh, accounts from eyewitnesses, I myself have carefully investigated everything, seemed good also to me to write an orderly account, you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught. A funny thing happens when you actually read what the Bibleâthe infallible and inerrant Word of the one true and living LORD God Amightyâactually says: You find the absolute truth. You see, our Lord is a God of order (seeâ1 Corinthians 14:33 for this stated in the negative); gravity doesnât just work for one culture and not anotherâit is a universal law that works everywhere in the world. Gravity doesnât keep on the ground one day, and then the next we suddenly fly up into the air. God is trying to tell us something; Christ is â sustaining all things by his powerful word (Hebrews 1:3). God the Holy Spirit communicated in real words through a book; then our Lord came into our world of orderly laws He created to talk to a people He made with the ability to comprehend rational thought. And the absolute truth is that deceptive spiritual movements like the Emergent Church grieve our Creator tremendously.
The Apostle John offers this eyewitness report that while the Master was on His planet, Christ Jesus said â âIf anyone loves Me, he will obey My teaching.â I submit that this would be very difficult to do if we canât understand what it is that He even taught in the first place. And I offer this as a sincere appeal to those of you who are considering entering the labyrinth that is the Emergent Church. Think about this please; if we have to spend 400+ pages in multiple books redefining what it means to redefine how to reinterpret the way we might attempt to re-examine how our postmodern culture is redefining the process of reintrepreting something, then we must come to see that we are splitting a hair well past its fine micro-particles.
But then again, that is a whole lot safer than actually taking a stand; why that could get a person crucified you know.
Other articles concerning Ermergent Churches
“Emerging With Christ’s ‘Un-Christian’ Approach To Christianity” : http://apprising.org/2005/11/emerging-with-christs-un-christian-approach-to-christianity/
“Emergent Church: Where Is The Truth?” : http://apprising.org/2005/11/emergent-church-where-is-the-truth/
“Emergent Church: Is There Absolute Truth?” : http://apprising.org/2005/11/emergent-church-is-there-absolute-truth/
“Emerging With Christ’s ‘Un-Christian’ Approach To Christianity” : http://www.apprising.org/archives/2005/11/emerging_with_c.html
“Emergent Church: The Emerging Cult” http://apprising.org/2005/11/emergent-church-the-emerging-cult/