The New Christians

Brian has a warning for Mark Driscoll and other expanding evangelical ministries:

Thanks for this post. This is depressing news. I don’t mean any
disrespect to these folks personally. I know they can be very kind,
good people in person. So I will offer my critique in the form of their
teachings. I think the teachings of people like Mark Driscoll and Hank
Hanegraaff are dangerous. They argue that there is one Truth in world
and they know it. According to them, their own interpretations, ideas,
and politics are the only right, Biblical, and godly ones. This makes
ONE perspective into THE perspective – and that in turn makes ONE
perspective into THE Truth. And they often use the language of battle
to talk about protecting “the Truth.”

Let me speak at a member of the Mainline Church. We thought we were
going to take over the world for Christ. We thought we were going to
spread democracy, fight poverty, convert non-believers, etc. throughout
the earth. Our magazine, “The Christian Century,” even reflects this
overly optimistic idea that our century was going to be THE Christian
century. We were the rock stars. But then World War II shook us from
our Enlightenment dream. Plus, we finally began to see that it was our
personal ideals and agendas we were spreading throughout the world as
much as it was Christianity. In fact, we caused much pain in our march
to mission. We colonized African villages. We burned people we labeled
as witches in America. We contributed to the Antisemitism that lead to
the rationalization of the Holocaust in Germany. The list could go on
and on.

My message is that we’ve been there. We’ve done that. And it caused
a lot of damage around the world. So, I urge our Christian brothers and
sisters not to make that same mistake now. We live in a pluralistic
world. The religious, cultural, and contextual landscape is all
pluralistic. And no matter how good our ideas seem to us, they may not
be good to impose on the whole world. The best we can do is speak
humbly from our own perspective – and acknowlege our words as one
possible perspective among many different perspectives.

It’s harder to do ministry as a humble group in a pluralistic world.
This must be faced honestly. Look at our congregations. They’re
shrinking every year. It’s easier to be impassioned by a miltaristic
message filled with certainty. But just because something is easy
doesn’t make it right. Somehow we need to find ways to do ministry that
acknowledges and honors diversity yet inspires passion and
discipleship. The Mainline Church and Emergent Church are both making
their way on this journey. Neither of these movements have it perfect,
but they are trying. So I urge other Christians to join us in our
exploration of and engagement in more postmodern ways of being
followers of Jesus Christ.

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