Thinking is so hard. There is such a temptation to just stop doing it. How easy, how relaxing it would be to just ride the waves of group-think that I am surrounded with daily. Put my feet up. Give a big group hug. Smile and wave, smile and wave!
But reality gnaws at my heartstrings. The repulsive smell of the devil's handiwork fills my nostrils and slaps me awake. The words in my Bible simply won't disappear either — each time I look they are still there (and unfortunately, it feels, become more and more clear with each reading).
The most current stewing in my mind? The Emerging Church.
I just read a fabulous article by Bob DeWaay called The Emergent Delusion. Though the article is long and not the easiest to think through, I feel as though I have just run a few miles, done 50 crunchies, and enjoyed a nice tall glass of fresh cold water. Ahhhh. There now! Some good thoughts for the old brain to chew on!
DeWaay's article is mostly a review of Brian McLaren's book, The Generous Orthodoxy (This book is actually subtitled Why I Am a Missional, Evangelical, Post/Protestant, Liberal/Conservative, Mystical/Poetic, Biblical, Charismatic/Contemplative, Fundamentalist/Calvinist, Anabaptist/Anglican, Methodist, Catholic, Green, Incarnational, Depressed-yet-Hopeful, Emergent, Unfinished CHRISTIAN).
A reviewer from Amazon.com, under the title "Nobody Can Tell You You're Not Jewish," aptly describes what seems to be the main idea of McLaren's book:
"The idea here (which McLaren blithely appropriates) is that words, even concepts, can mean anything I want them to mean, and no one can tell me any differently. Or, you can challenge me if you want, but I don't care; that's just your position and anyone can think anything they want and why can't we all just be brothers?"
Its enough that this book denies that the Bible reveals to us many absolute truths about God, but the truly disturbing thing is that this way of thinking represents mainstream Christianity. This book is published by Youth Specialties, a popular group I have always loved and trusted. McLaren is welcomed to speak at mainstream Christian gatherings all around our country. You can even McLaren to "coach" your church into organizational success (somehow I am reminded of the 40 Days of Purpose craze).To the untrained eye, McLaren is just another brother, promoting love and unity amongst the brethren.
Be afraid! Be very afraid!
McLaren is suggesting we move further from the truth rather than back to it. We need to move BACK to the Word of God! Back to the truths and triumphs brought forth by the Reformation. Back to the idea of sola scriptura. We do not need to "emerge" into a group of touchy-feeling New Agers who think God is whatever we'd like Him to be, saying along with McLaren,
"If I seem to show too little respect for your opinions or thought, be assured I have equal doubts about my own, and I don't mind if you think I am wrong. I'm sure I am wrong about many things, although I'm not sure exactly which things I'm wrong about. I'm even sure I'm wrong about what I think I'm right about in at least some cases. So wherever you think I'm wrong, you could be right."
Read McLaren's book. Read DeWaay's article. Search the scriptures.
Just go find your thinking cap, dust it off, and tie it tightly to your head.
We cannot afford to be lazy thinkers. The Church is headed into a direction of danger, and we all need to be awake enough to notice.
The Emerging Delusion