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« What the Emerging Church Needs, pt. 2 | Main | Disconnecting on Purpose »

August 02, 2004

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"People can smell the stench rising out of the rot in our doctrine and so they go looking elsewhere.There are many out there that have questioned why doctrine matters at all. This is why."

Dan, this is the main difference between the modern and emerging church. Many of us would strongly disagree with your overemphasis on believing the right things. God's power and Spirit are not linked to correct doctrine. Its about lifestyle.

Benjy wrote:
"Dan, this is the main difference between the modern and emerging church. Many of us would strongly disagree with your overemphasis on believing the right things. God's power and Spirit are not linked to correct doctrine. Its about lifestyle."

The modern church allowed the rot to happen and the emerging church is, in many cases, actually reveling in the rot, particularly when we get stuff like, "It's all about love."

While that may be true, it's also overly simplistic. Doctrine matters. The reason why we have this syncretism problem is largely because we abandoned good doctrine for good feelings. If God says, "Don't!" it is not up to us to try to figure out how we can get around that. If God says, "Do!" it is not up to us to determine whether He means it or not. Doctrine addresses this.

The entire Bible is about believing the right things. The reason Man fell was because we believed the wrong things. God's power and the Spirit are ABSOLUTELY linked to correct doctrine, or are we going to say that the Jehovah's Witnesses are the next wave in the charismatic movement?

But you are right, too, in that it is about lifestyle. But lifestyle is nothing more than putting right beliefs into practice. As a man thinks, so he is. It still starts with the beliefs. Why did Paul so vehemently warn against false teachers? You try to get a church in one accord where half the people are annihilationists and the other half are fire and brimstone and I can tell you that their lifestyles are going to reflect their beliefs and ultimately split the church.

The EC acts sometimes as if the Old Testament ceased to exist the second Jesus opened His mouth. But the word of God so loved by the NT church was the OT! It all fits together.

Now I wrote something recently similar to this idea (it was mostly about inerrancy, but it applies to right doctrine, too.) You can find it at http://www.dedelen.com/2004/07/flawed-love-letter.html and I hope you read the Psalm there--it says everything we need to know.

Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God. The reason why have rampant syncretism is because some people decided to embrace a lifestyle contrary to this, and now we have the fallout. If the EC were wise, they'd get their doctrine in order. But I am not holding my breath....

the modern church is syncretistic, just as the postmodern church is. it's just a matter of which parts of our culture we are using for the syncretism. let's not make this a modern/postmodern, or a institutional/emerging, debate. it's so much bigger than that.

Benjy, to view doctrine and lifestyle as mutually exclusive would be a huge mistake, I fear. "Living out what we believe" is what Jesus seemed to contend for, over and over again. We need more of a Holy Spirit empowered synthesis of doctrine and lifestyle throughout the entire Church.

Chris: I agree. Seperating the two is like seperating God and God's Word. It kind of reminds me of James telling us that faith and deeds go hand in hand.

I see a bit of a deeper problem. Counterfeits are infiltrating the Church and perverting Christ's purpose. It's mentioned many times in scripture. We're not warned to watch out for wolves, but wolves in sheep clothing.

I hear some christians (notice the lower-case) in my workplace turning Christianity into the occult. Instead of relying solely on the perfected scripture for guidance, humanistic ideas, tall-tales, myths, and speculation has been added. I think the problem is our pride. Instead of conforming to Christ, we seem to try to conform Christ to us.

Fernando --

"Instead of relying solely on the perfected scripture for guidance..."

I think this part of your statement has also been a problem within the Church. But then, I'm a die-hard Wesleyan who believes that in addition to scripture, we must also draw from tradition, reason, and experience. Apart from that though, I agree with you that there is a lot of the "blending" you've mentioned going on (e.g. humanistic notions, neo-paganism, etc.).

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