Four Types of Heresy – Rejection of the Law

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During the time of the Gnostic crisis, it was common for Gnostic writers to reject the Law and most of the Old Testament. The reason the Law was rejected was that it:

a) showed all humans were sinners

b) showed one must engage in physical acts to be holy as well as non-physical acts

c) showed a God that interacted with creation

d) showed a God that created the physical world

e) showed that a Messiah would come

There are multiple groups that John lists as falling under the heresy of rejecting the Law or the Old Testament. John was not advocating following the Law, but merely acknowledging its moral value and that it was given by God. The Law stands as a testament that we need God and that God interacted with us.

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An open letter to the emergent movement

To Whom It May Concern:

Back when I was struggling in my life, reading some of your books (Messy Spirituality, Adventures in Missing the Point, A New Kind of Christian, etc) provided me an escape from the fundamentalism I had come to loath. I attended a church where every week I heard the pastor rail against women who got abortions, bash homosexuals (in private he called them “fags” and didn’t want them in the church), harp on liberals, and repeat that cycle Sunday after Sunday. All the while, I had no spiritual nourishment, so I grew bitter.

Your books, at the time, were a breath of fresh air. I saw Christians who, rather than rant and rave against the ills of the world, actually taught that we should be the solution. This meant quite a bit to me.

But as time has moved on, I have read more and, to be quite frank, I no longer see the difference between the fundamentalism I came to loath and the Emergent movement I see before my eyes. I appreciate the call to justice, I appreciate pointing out the flaws of conservative Christianity, which has become and is becoming a dead orthodoxy, but my concerns with you far outweigh the positive aspects I see.

Please, don’t take this open letter as a power play on my part, or a mockery of the Emergent Conversation. These are genuine concerns. The fact is, Christianity in the West is in desperate need for an authentic movement, but this movement must have its foundation in authentic doctrine and authentic actions. If either is missing, the movement will fail – either because it lacks the substance to hold it together (proper doctrine) or because it lacks the heart to carry on (proper actions).

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Oh Tony Jones, you’re so witty! (a rant)

Tony Jones, former figurehead of the Uppity-Middle-White-Class-Spoiled-Rotten-Brat Association Emergent Village has a recent post about the Episcopal church declaring that all members can be ordained pastors regardless of sexual orientation. What struck me was the last paragraph of his post:

But I implore them to look beyond the gay issue. The bigger issue is that they employ amedieval form of church polity strange hybrid of medieval (bishops, dioceses, sextons) and modern (legislation, amendments, committees) polities, which will inevitably fail in this postmodern, wiki-world.

What I find so interesting is that he believes the greatest issue isn’t the homosexual one, but rather that the church government isn’t modernized. Is he being serious?

I certainly hope not, because that makes little to no sense. How in the world does church government trump the issue of sexual immorality? There’s simply no escaping the fact that the Bible is very clear on homosexuality; it is a sin to participate in the act of homosexuality. So church government aside, the bigger issue would seemingly be the one that deals with sexual immorality.

But of course Tony just can’t leave it at, “We disagree on this issue.” Rather, he has to compare all opponents to homosexual marriage to Fred Phelps (Westboro Baptist Pastor, infamous for protesting at funerals with his “God hates fags” signs). Tony says:

So Evangelicals have turned their gaze on a new shibboleth — gay marriage — and the correlations are clear: replace the oversized placards of aborted fetuses with Westboro Baptist’s “God Hates Fags” signs at military funerals; swap out Operation Rescue for the National Organization for Marriage; exchange James Dobson for, um, James Dobson.

So it’s not just that we strongly disagree with Tony on what is and isn’t important, it’s also that we’re hate mongers who have no compassion for homosexuals, don’t understand their struggle, and believe God hates them. What arrogance!

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When grace isn’t enough…

I am all for church discipline. As someone that happens to believe the Bible is God’s inspired Word, believing in church discipline is a requirement. When both Christ and Paul deal with discipline, it is in the context of unrepentant believers. Jesus tells us to cast a rotten body part (or a body part that causes us to sin) aside. He also says that if an unrepentant sinner won’t change even after being brought before the church, he is to be cast out of the family. Paul says that we shouldn’t even eat with a Christian that refuses to repent from his sin. Suffice it to say, there is sufficient evidence in Scripture that when a brother or sister refuses to repent, we are to cut them off.

However, some churches tend to take this too far or tend to ignore certain contexts. How many churches are uncomfortable with homosexuals or prostitutes coming into their church even when the ‘sinner’ (we’re all sinners) lays no claim to Christ? We should be willing to accept and embrace all people who do not claim Christ and let our lives serve as an example of what a Christ-filled life is. Likewise, let our lives draw the ‘sinners’ to repentance in Christ.

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