Thursday, May 19, 2005

Discerning and Staying Informed

The Emergent discussion is continuing here from this post. I appreciate it so much when we can dialogue, as Doug and others have done, without getting personally offended with one another.

I want to mention a few new blogs and some beloved websites/ministries to you that have helped me stay informed about what's going on spiritually in the world and in pop Christianity:

Slice of Laodicea is an awesome blog that Carla pointed to today. When you visit you'll see why I immediately added it to my blog list.

The same goes for Deception in the Church, which Joanna found a few days ago.

I mentioned Emergent No in a recent post.

The following are sites I have mentioned before, but they're so good I hate for anyone to miss them, and they've been quite useful to me.

Kjos Ministries

Al Dager/Media Spotlight

Both of these sites have a wide range of resources on myriad topics of interest to Christians.

I'd like to address a comment Doug made, while we're talking about discernment and exposure. He wrote,

What I was reacting to is the wholesale panning an entire movement based on the comments and behavior of some of those who associate them selves with that movement. I am certainly with you on standing against practicing homosexuals that claim to be Christians and therefore attempt to legitimize their lifestyle under the 'compassionate' umbrella of 'Christianity'. Let's call a spade a spade and sin, sin. But there's a difference to me between calling out that individual's sin and calling an entire movement - and by extension all who identify with it - false or dangerous. These sort of blanket judgments, even when some in the group deserve it, hurt the many others who do not....So what I'm saying is call out the sin of the individuals, expose their heresies. Be specific and stand up for God's standard, but let's not judge the entire group by the words and deeds of some of them. Doing so creates a label that they then have to work to overcome. Oh, your a part of the emerging church. (Emphasis mine, italics his.)

I think there are times and places to do both--to expose an individual false teacher or a movement that is, as a whole, promoting a dangerous agenda that includes false teachings. For instance, in Scripture, Paul exposes Hymenaeus and Alexander (1 Tim 1:20); Jesus denounces the Pharisees as a group (Matt 23) and in Revelation says He hates the teachings/practices of the Nicolaitans (Rev 2:6). To me, this is precedent enough to say, "Hey everyone, there's a movement claiming to be Christian, and there are some problems." Dangerous, false-teachy kinda problems.

Now, just because I decry a movement doesn't mean that everyone who is in it is rejected by me and labeled a false teacher. But I think the "label" and the concomitant caution that the movement has to "overcome" is warranted. When I was in the ICOC, the fact that it had the reputation of being cult-like was part of my wake-up call. It is my belief that people shouldn't align themselves with this EC movement--so I want them to have some reason to re-examine why they are identifying with it, and exactly WHAT they are choosing to label themselves as. "Christian" and "Disciple of Jesus Christ" have served me well for a long time. Why do we need more? To separate ourselves from conservative, fundamentalist fuddy-duddies?