I had the following exchange with Dan Kimball this evening in the meta of his thread entitled “Do some Christians want to be “hated”.
Dan hails from the emergent camp which is itself a cultic version of modern neo-liberalism which has been laced with a poisonous dose of New Age Mysticism. Much has been written on the so-called “emergent conversation” and there’s a veritable mountain of evidence which demonstrates the spiritually venemous nature of this movement, therefore I won’t take the time in this post to further decry the dangers of the emergent camp.
Comparatively speaking Dan Kimball is among the more orthodox in the movement, which sadly doesn’t say much for the emergents since Pastor Dan is generally confused about what is to be considered as orthodox, and his position on creedal Christianity is shaky at best. Below are the comments we exchanged tonight:
The main thrust of my original post wasn’t to question your observation that many self-professed Christians behave in a manner that seemingly or actually opposes scripture – this is an indisputable fact.
My thoughts on the matter at hand are two-fold and perhaps weren’t clearly communicated in my original message:
A) The behaviors exhibited by professing Christians – such as the example provided in this thread – aren’t always the behaviors of true Christians.
False converts and false teachers abound in today’s melting pot of Christendom and discerning true believers should always be careful not to equate a positive or even non-antagonistic attitude toward Christ as something akin to evidence of saving faith. This is because there is a demonic faith that intellectually assents to the truth claims of Christ, but which never results in contrition, repentance, and true saving faith (see the parables of the Sower and the True Vine and Husbandman).
B) The apologetic method you’ve advanced here both in the body of your main message and in your brief reply to my comment is – at least in my understanding – Biblically unprecedented insofar as your assertion that the Gospel message is somehow beholden to the “opinions or attitudes” of men. When Christ Himself “hung out” with the vilest of sinners – prostitutes, publicans, et al – He never once gave occasion to nor offered a winking nod toward their licentious lifestyles, but rather He challenged them to turn away from their sins (repent). Yet it’s interesting to note that those whose sin weighed heaviest upon them were those who most desperately sought ought the Lord and His forgiveness. Those who were righteous in their own hearts were those who despised Him the most vehemently and ultimately conspired to bring about His execution. This exemplifies sinful pride at its worst.
To your point it’s certainly true that poorly equipped messengers can – and do – corrupt the Gospel, and this is the root cause for the existence of many if not most of the cults of Christianity.
But the Gospel message itself is very simple and direct and not the least bit confusing. All mankind stands guilty and condemned before the Infinite Creator and Judge of the Universe but for Christ crucified, the ultimate truth of the ages – the hinge upon which all of human history turns.
Clearly there’s much more to be said on this subject than can be contained in a simple blog comment, but suffice it to say that salvation isn’t the sterile transaction many think it to be. It isn’t the shiny turnstile of heaven dully clicking as the saved are recorded as “in” while the lost are simply scratched off the rolls of the Book of Life and recorded as “out”. God isn’t an omnipotent accountant with His angels busily and dutifully filing their paperwork.
In closing I believe that when we as the church, the Bride of Christ, really get it – no I mean when we REALLY GET IT – when we by the grace of God grasp what this is all about, the magnitude of the task set before us, the weapons and armor He’s given to us, and the battle plan He’s laid out for us to execute in simple and humble obedience ; then maybe we’ll see the type of revival that godly gray haired old men fondly and faintly recall, and of which the young men of our time have not yet dared to dream.
Thankfully God is still in the “seeking and saving” business, and it is for this purpose that Christ came into the world – to save sinners.
His Word is sure, His grace is sufficient and His mercies are everlasting – Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty Who was, and is, and is to come. Amen.
Posted by: Coram Deo | June 24, 2007 at 08:03 PM
“I can’t fathom a true born-again believer in the Lord Jesus Christ harboring a secret desire to be hated as some sort of perverse spiritual litmus test.”
I don’t think any Christian wants to be hated… but so many times I am hearing this as an excuse for why some feel they shouldn’t be out in the world hanging out with non-Christians. Or that it does bring a sense of “I am doing the Lord’s will” when they get into confrontations about the gospel with people, when after listening to the story or assessing what happened, it wasn’t about the gospel they got mad at the person, it was the way they had attitudes, poor explanations and apologetics, didn’t listen to the other person’s opinions etc.
I am really not talking about anything crazy here – simply being friends with one or two or three people those outside the church who we pray for, hang out with etc. I have several non-Christian friends, and although at this time they reject the gospel, I don’t think they “hate” me – but I also don’t give up on them as human beings and care about them, so I am not going to abandon them if they choose at this time not to put faith in Jesus.
Posted by: Dan | June 24, 2007 at 04:49 PM
It might have been beneficial if you’d shared some scriptural examples of the type of apologetic suggested above being employed.
I can’t fathom a true born-again believer in the Lord Jesus Christ harboring a secret desire to be hated as some sort of perverse spiritual litmus test.
This being said I have no doubt there are innumerable false converts both in the pulpits and the pew who view evangelism in this manner. Sadly the professing church is awash in tares and goats and due to their demonic faith they bring shame and dishonor to our King.
The key for the true believer is godly discernment which grants us the ability to tell the bad tree and the bitter spring from the good.
A dearth of godly spiritual discernment is perhaps the single biggest problem in the modern professing church today.
Posted by: Coram Deo | June 24, 2007 at 04:13 PM