Thursday, March 11, 2010

Gotta Stand for Something

A great article appearing on Christianity Today's website brilliantly examines the issue of doctrine. Titled "We're All Theologians," the article looks at data provided by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. The data supports what was found in the National Study on Youth and Religion, which was analyzed by sociologists Christian Smith and Patricia Snell. They found that:

"Instead of appreciating differences, emphasizing diversity tends to devalue distinctive beliefs."

It's about time the religion of diversity as it is practiced by its most vociferous proponents is seen for what it is: something that shoots down any absolute that differs from their absolute and something that celebrates anything but True Christianity (the "tolerant" and "all-inclusive" camp is just as legalistic and exclusive as any other religion). I once asked a friend who attends a Unitarian church if I, a born-again Christian, would be welcome in his church. He answered, "No." How's that for "all-inclusiveness?" I've yet to see a born-again Christian's belief system "celebrated" amongst those who wear "diversity" on their sleeve.

Getting back to the article, it goes on to explain that the current obsession with "experiential, relevant" worship is, in fact, turning church-goers into milk-toast.

The article summarizes the observances of Smith and Snell, authors of the book "Souls in Transition:"

"...young adults hold their religious beliefs in abstract, 'mentally checked off and filed away.' Doctrine does not determine their lives. Religion is about being good and living a good life, not believing the right things. But this approach draws a false dichotomy between belief and behavior. In fact, the idea that religion boils down to good works is itself doctrinal, if erroneous from an orthodox Christian perspective. It makes a doctrinal distinction by privileging Jesus' ethical teachings over his work on the Cross and in the Resurrection. It rejects Jesus' interpretation of his sacrifice as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45). Young adults who buy into this view follow a well-worn path trod by liberal theologians in the last two centuries."

Liberal theologians who would not welcome, respect or embrace a born-again Christian.

Read the article here:

Doctrine is not a dirty word. John Mellencamp sings a song in which he says "You've got to stand for something, or you'll fall for anything." Standing for something, my friends, is doctrine!! Paul, in Luke 4:16 implores us to "Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers."

Yet many evangelical church leaders today aren't giving their flocks so much as a doctrinal hook to hang their hat on. Worship is filled with navel gazing, mystery and "conversations" that esteem it best to never reach any kind of conclusion. In short, once Biblically-sound congregations are now being led to be ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But Jesus is very clear when He says, "If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels" (Luke 9:26).

"What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father's glory with the holy angels." Mark 36-38

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