October 06, 2011

neo-calvinist vs. emergent - two ditches?

listened to an interesting podcast this morning entitled "The Christian Humanist" which was three guys talking about the phenomena of the neo-calvinist and the emergent church movements in North America.

I don't personally "have a dog in this fight" although I have many friends who would be fit into one of these two camps (some even unknowingly), although I am probably more critical of the neo-calvinists because they hold a vision of God that was not only NOT shared by pre-Augustine Christianity, but was actually held by the Gnostics!  I have never met a Reformed person who is familiar enough with pre-Nicene Christianity to realize how ridiculous some of their claims to upholding "historic, Biblical" Christianity!

as for the emergents, these guys were able to articulate some of my concerns/observations in ways that were helpful.  Forever asking questions, and discussing possible answers, but never seemingly able to come up with any definitive answers.

what I found interesting is that these men who have had their feet in both of these camps at different times and in different ways would seemingly view them as ditches on either side of the road (which one of those ditches they believe to be deeper is up to you to decide).

why put a blog post up on this subject on a blog committed to the pursuit and documentation of the miraculous?  for one thing, and I've already hit on this above, the neo-calvinists are saying something about the nature and goodness of God that radically affects the expectations (aka faith) of Christians for the miraculous.  on the one hand, if God somehow is "allowing" cancer (aka sending it as part of His plan), then I will never rise up and be able to fight it.  "Who can oppose the will of the Almighty?" (as Augustine/Calvin and their descendants would ask).  In other words, what we believe about this issue of God's goodness and what He does/doesn't directly control in the world is a massive concern for those who want to move in supernatural, Kingdom ministry.

on the other side of the street, the emergents are so skeptical about everything - it is "cool" to doubt in their ranks.  let's question the doctrine of hell, or the exclusivity of Christ, the Virgin Birth or sexual orientation, or....(fill in the blank).  I know literally hundreds of Christians who whether they know it or not fall into the same philosophical camp and disbelieve much of what I write on this blog, or at least question the vast majority of it.  "How do you know they were 'really' blind"?  The glazed look comes over their eyes when talk of miracles is brought up.  I think Bill Johnson's famous description of "unbelieving believers" is maybe the best way to describe them.

I too am a product of many of the same influences, both theologically and philosophically that these two camps have arisen from.  they did not "emerge" (to take one of their terms of 'self-identity') out of nowhere.  whatever that "road" is that is in the middle, that avoids the pitfalls of the ditches on either side of the highway, may we find it and walk on it faithfully "until He comes".

October 02, 2011

i had a dream

last night I had a dream in which the Lord clearly was encouraging me to be more explicit in my invitations to people I meet to surrender their lives to the Lord AT THAT TIME.  I guess He will be bringing people to me who are more prepared and ready to make that commitment.  I'm excited to see what this week will bring.  I also guess that since it is the "old men [who] will dream dreams" (Joel 2/Acts 2) that I am getting to be more in that category now than in "young men will see visions" one.

we have been seeing that as soon as people are ready to be free from the demonic forces that are tormenting them (and believe me, many are being tormented even in the West regardless of the whether the Christians who are ministering to them believe that is the case!) they are ready to invite the Lord to come into and take control of their lives.

it is a new day - I really believe the Lord's dream to me last night was a reminder to cast the net and bring it in at that very time and see what's He will bring.

Christ told us that the harvest was ready - that was 2000 years ago.  I assume that we will continue to do more sowing and casting the net broadly, encouraging people along in the process of coming to Christ, but I need to, we need to assume that more of the people we are encountering are ready now to cross over and leave the Kingdom of darkness for good.