Emerging/Emergent Errors; Puerile Pomo Prattle; Abominable Antinomian Aberrations; Novel New-Perspective Nonsense; Crazy Charismaniac Charlatanism; Sanctimonious Sacramentalist Superstitions; Cynical, Condescending Catholicity; Private Prophetic Phantasms; and Seeker-Sensitive Silliness: What Do They All Have in Common?
by Frank Turk & Dan Phillips, but not Phil Johnson—because you people wear him out
The primary point of this post is to really bring all the people we have had consistent adversarial interaction with out of the woodwork to see if we can't make a comment thread go past the 1,000 mark—because after all, we get thousands of readers every day. Everyone should have something to say for himself.
(There's a possible counter-bonus to being so open about our aims. All our friends among the jolly-raunchers and tongue-waggers and shape-shifters and gutless-gracers might read our goal, and think "Well, I'll be [EC verbiage deleted] if I'm going to oblige those judgmental pinheaded legalistic dead-lettered haters!", and stay away. Net result? We get to whack away to our hearts' content, unopposed. See? Win/win!)
So we're going to write a post determined to engage all of the above categories, and it's going to work like this:
- We're going to assume that when we type phrases like "inerrant scripture," "personal sanctification," "indwelling of the Holy Spirit," and "regenerate believers," they will be blithely ignored or recklessly misconstrued, and will instantly cause someone in one of the adversarial camps to post a comment which has nothing to do with the point we were making.
- We're going to take it for granted that all of these groups are actually engaged in more important things—you know: like ministry, or real, high-flown academics—than blogging.
- We're going to have a calm assurance that, no matter what we say, Steve Camp will find a way to disagree and show us how much better his Kung Fu is than ours.
- We're going to gratuitously post graphics like this one:
And this one:
Inspired by remarks left in the combox below
And this one:
And this one:
And this one:
And this one:
And this one:
But not this one:
And the reason for all of that is this—after our concurrent 3-ish years of blogging, we have come to realize that blogging cannot be serious business. Investing a lot of time in posts which say things like God's provision is usually exactly what we need, or that the sufficiency of God's word far exceeds any experience we could hope to encounter, or that we often discount what God has already done never seems to work out for us. People don't remember them. They're not what people come here to see.
And that, frankly, is a shame.
So no sense in wrecking the rest of our week with prayer, reflection and the real meat of God's word. This is what the people want—verbal meat-chubbery—and frankly, from what we understand, giving people what they really want is called missional these days.
We're down with that, because we've listened, heard, read, dialogued, and it keeps coming down to the same thing: the Bible. It seems to be such a problem for so many of our critics.
If you take the Word at its word, it is God's Word. Because it is God's Word, it is truth (John 17:17), it is inerrant (John 10:35), it is sufficient for every Christian need (2 Timothy 3:15-17). Are you a real disciple ofJesus? The way you treat the Bible tells the tale (John 8:31-32). It is the end result of a long, deliberate process (Hebrews 1:1-2), done through men moved by the Holy Spirit who wrote out God's self-revelation, rather than products of their own will (2 Peter 1:20-21).
And it's markedly complete. No essential God-breathed book has been found that antedates Genesis, nor any that post-dates Revelation. The whole vital, need-to-know story and all the details are there: God, man, the universe, the meaning of life and everything. How it all started, how it all ends, what we're to be believing and doing (and not believing nor doing) in the meanwhile.
And there's so much of it. Sixty-six books chock-full of revelation. So much that most professing Christians (to our shame) have never even read it all.
In the light of that, what explains a movement that in effect trivializes it all? A movement that's fascinated with low-voltage pale imitations, so much so that they will redefine Scripture itself to accommodate them? Why (on their view) did God make this perfect thing, then go mostly silent for long centuries, then recently start muttering and stammering and stuttering? It's like they think God is a one-hit wonder, who made one really great album, and then kept making a succession of tired, hackneyed thrift-shop nothing-bombs.
If these mutterings and burblings are actually meaningful, why did God bother to write the Book in the first place?
Or what of another movement that basically has to stare emptily at so much of the Bible? A movement that makes every imperative into a suggestion, treats the commandments of Christ and the apostles as more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules? That turns every vivid and hard warning into a Nerf-bat? That makes the road to Glory wide and easy, but the road to Hell narrow and hard?
If these commandments, warnings, and conditions are actually meaningless, why did God bother to write the Book?
Or what of yet another movement, a vowel/consonant movement, that reduces the clarion calls, the proclamations, the crystal-clear, black-and-white razor-edged demands of God to a "conversation"? A movement that sometimes seems to love community over clarity, dialogue over die-to-sin, leaven* over Heaven, good feelings over Good News, crass over Cross, reinvention over regeneration, edginess over edges, and hipness over holiness? A movement that has all the wisdom of a 20-year-old who's decided he's smarter than his elders (or smarter than all the wisdom of the ages) and approaches the issues of life as if no one else ever saw anything plainly before him...
...and (more particularly) as if God never said anything about the issues of life, or even if He did, as if no one has wrestled with His words before?
If none of the lines or limits of truth has been discovered, uncovered, and well-covered over the last twenty centuries, it makes you wonder why God bothered to give that Book as long ago as He did.
And if the most central issue of the Bible—how can man be just before God?—has been misunderstood by basically every one of the holiest, godliest, most consecrated and devoted men of God for centuries; if, that is, our most elder brothers in the faith have, every one of them, answered that question wrongly, and only a specialist engaging in specialized sub-category studies can unearth the true answer to this basic question...
...it makes you wonder not only why God wrote the Book, but why He made such a poor job of it. Why couldn't He manage to get it
And what if we lump together all those bustling, bristling groups that have found (invented) such wonderful ways of packing churches—by substituting arts and crafts, skits and dances, jokes and stories, gimmicks and gewgaws, rather than the red-hot, passionate, truth-full, straight-up, eternal-God- talking-to-you-today (Hebrews 3:7-13) preaching of the Word?
Why, really why, did He bother?
See, we may be really old guys, but we wonder things, too.
Don't you? Shouldn't you, anyway?
*Well, at any rate, yeast.