2 Timothy 4:3 "For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry".

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Great Emergence from Biblical Authority

It is simply shocking, but there have been warning signs. What is it that emergent is emerging from, and where are they emerging to? At the great emergence conference, Phyllis Tickle-your-ears (as quoted by the blogger Jonathan Brink, claims that they want to emerge from denominations, organized churches, and central authority. The shocking claim: That the reformation transfered authority from a flesh and blood pope to one made of paper (the Bible). 
I’ve heard Tickle-(your-ears) talk about the faulty logic of Luther’s choice for Sola Scriptura and the inevitable consequences of it but she mentioned something today that really caught everyone’s attention. She went extensively into the concept of division and how Sola Scriptura is naturally bent towards division, which is eventually a recipe for chaos and unending conflict. She mentioned the 26,000 Protestant denominations on record. The choice for Sola Scriptura had a positive consequence in that it did foster literacy in order for people to read Scripture on their own, but it also took away a central authority in the Pope which allowed everyone to have an opinion. Outcome: Instant division.

HT: Missio Dei/Jonathan Brink

Well, Mrs Tickle-your-ears is right; Sola Scriptura is bent towards division.  Jesus Christ himself (red letter christians, pay attention) said that he did not come to bring peace, but a sword. The author of Hebrews notes that scripture is a two edged sword, and the division it causes. The conflict is brought about when people trip over the rock which is Christ, and His Word, which is so closely associated with who He is. God literally breathed out (inspired) the Bible, and therefore, it has authority, and is useful:

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (English Standard Version)16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,17 that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work
When the light comes into our lives, we have a choice, we can cover our sin, deny the light, suppress the truth or we can confess our darkness, our sin and be forgiven:

1 John 1:5-9 5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and(I) the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

We can choose to walk in the darkness, out from under the authority of scripture. By emerging out from under the authority of scripture, the light of scripture, we are walking in the darkness. To coin an old Doug Pagitt coloquialism: 'the way of Jesus' is only presented in the Bible; it is not our opinion of how Jesus would act, it is the truth of Jesus and who He is according to the scripture. Apart from scripture, we cannot know Jesus and what He wants us to do.

Further proof of the slide away from biblical authority came when Tony Jones last week announced his opinion that GLBTQ people can live as Christians, We see that Jon Brink also notes that this has to do with the departing from Sola Scriptura:
.....Tickle’s comment that there are forty-four specific events that underline the move away from Sola Scriptura. I would love to see what those 44 are but that would be like icing on the cake. The final subject in the turn away will be how we address homosexuality in the church. She reiterated that it’s not if Sola Scriptura ends but when.

Amen, again, this is so true. If scripture is not the final authority, and feelings or our modern intelligence becomes the source of reason and rule in religion and faith. We will go with what seems the most logical to us, and not what the Word of God teaches. This is presented oh so clearly by Paul in Romans 1:18-22: exegesis
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools,

Tony Jones, Doug Pagitt, Rob Bell, and Phyllis Tickle-your-ears claim to be wise, but they have become fools, because they do not see the scripture alone as the final authority. It is as though God needs help to catch up to postmodern thought and sensibilities. The God of the universe saw this before time began, and knew that man would fall away. When you emerge from scriptural authority, you commit apostasy. Maybe next year (the the Lord tarries) they could call this conference that: The great apostasy. This great apostasy is coming; be watchful; for we see at the great emergence what Paul warned about in 1 Timothy 4:

1 Timothy 4:1 1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, 2 through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared
Those who call God a liar are liars, by saying that scripture alone is not enough calls God a liar. It is really just that simple. If they do not trust His word, then they are not Christians.

And then Peter in 2 Peter 3:
I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, 2 that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles, 3knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires
Many of these scoffers can be found in emergent fellowships around the world. They scoff at God's law like the serpent did in Genesis 3 : Did God really say? 
14 Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. 15 And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, 16 as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. 17You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

We are called by God to be diligent in holiness. We are told to avoid those who twist scripture (or cast it aside) to their own destruction. We should not be carried away by their teaching, because we will lose our stability (found only in Christ. We are called to grow in the knowledge and grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus; the only way to do that is by loving His Word, reading His Word, and obeying His Word by the power of the Holy Spirit. 


Ken Silva said...

Hey John,

It's a good thing Jonathan Brink made you aware of this.

jazzact13 said...

Jones tried to make a joke about his 'slide to the left', apparently to hide the truth behind it. But I favor a 'truth in humor' approach, even in cases like Jones'.

But the only real surprise, if anyone read much emergent work, is that they are becoming more straightforward in this (maybe the demands for clarity are actually being heard, though it is hard to get them to leave the pomo haze).

And do they think that moving from 'Scripture only' will not cause even more division? If not, what will their highest authority be? While I have some suspicions, I'm uncertain what that will be, though I dread to think of what it will be.

Pastorboy said...

He didn't, you did. Your post refered me to his post, and I was SHOCKED at what I read...

Well, not really shocked. You have been seeing this departure from biblical authority for all the years I have read your posts at www.Apprising.org

You should also follow Tony Jones' comments...horrible

Blue Collar Todd said...

Soon these Liberal Pharisees will have the power to implement their version of "faith". There is a war coming over the heart of the Gospel and the one and only Savior and Lord Jesus Christ.