Saturday, July 16, 2005

Through the Eyes of the Enemy

There's a hot discussion going on over at Pyromania. The curator of the sight, Phil Johnson, is troubled (and I think rightly so) at the impact political correctness is having on the "Global War on Terror." He thinks we need to identify exactly what this war really is--"a war against radical Islamists and their fanatical belief system." But Jeri Massi takes issue with Phil's argument. Seems Jeri's convinced that what's going on in Iraq has little or nothing to do with "radical Islamists and their fanatical belief system." Instead, she claims that the "facts" are that the Coalition Forces and the new Iraqi Army are fighting primarily against political militants, not religious radicals. But I think this amazing incident (be sure to view the video clip that accompanies the story) argues strongly against the naivete of Jeri's assumptions. After all, is "Allah Akbar!" just a rallying cry of the Ba'athist or Nationalist parties?

Hat tip: Michelle Malkin

Friday, July 15, 2005

Emergent or Divergent?

With all the emphasis these days on the "Emerging Church" I cannot help but think of Paul's words to the Colossian believers when he writes that in Christ "are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge" (2:3). After all, isn't the emergent "conversation" really a pursuit of wisdom and knowledge, particularly as it relates to the role the church plays in our modern cultural and philosophical climate? Consider this: the very atmosphere into which Paul was injecting these words was not altogether different from our own. The believers in Colossae were being hard-pressed by false teachers who were advocating some type of pre-Gnostic notion that true wisdom was to be found in a knowledge higher than that of Jesus Christ alone. Similarly, the emergent movement supposes that there is something about the knowledge of God to be gained from those who are separate from Christ. But Paul roundly rejects that idea. For him the apex of wisdom and knowledge is "hidden" in and, therefore, only to be found in Christ--nothing more and nothing less.

In what sense are these highly sought-after commodities "hidden" in Christ? They are accessible only to those who themselves are in Christ, being hidden from those outside of Christ. (For Paul, to be "in Christ" requires that one embrace by faith the objective truth claims of the gospel message--namely, that God punished our sin in Christ on the cross and, correspondingly, credits to our account the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21), thereby declaring us to be justified in His eyes.) Therefore, only those who have been reconciled to God through the death of Christ (1:22) are in possession of true wisdom and knowledge. Embracing this gospel alone allows one to see the world aright.

This is what has always been so troubling to the world's sense of wisdom, be it in first century Colossae or twenty-first century America. The message of the cross seems so base, so foolish to the intellectual high-brows of the world. As Calvin has astutely observed, "the treasures are...hid under the contemptible abasement and simplicity of the cross." The world simply cannot believe that true spiritual wisdom comes to those who renounce their own efforts to attain to the knowledge of God, recognizing them as futile, and believe the message of the cross. And yet it is precisely through the "foolishness" of this message that God is pleased to save some, and thereby open up to them the treasure box of wisdom and knowledge (1 Corinthians 1:18-31).

And so it is with much of the "Emergent" movement. Not content with the wisdom made available through belief in the profoundly simple gospel message (in all of its objectivity and absoluteness), they go looking to the world to help them better understand who God is and what He has done. Of course, all of this is cleverly cloaked in the language of open dialogue and discussion, so as to blunt the reality that it is really a move away from the clarity of the biblical gospel. Tragically, in so doing they are trading the wisdom of God for the foolishness of unregenerate man.

Paul's reminders and warnings to the Colossian church are crying out to us today. "I say this so that no one will delude you with persuasive argument" (2:4). Many in today's evangelical climate, I'm afraid, are being deceived. Only belief in and insistence upon the biblical gospel can provide the necessary defense against such captivating "philosophy and empty deception."

Friday, July 08, 2005

Welcome, Friends!

Who has time to blog? Don't I already waste enough time reading other blogs? Who would possibly be interested in what I have to say anyway?

Those are a few of the thoughts that were running through my head as I contemplated a jump into the blogosphere. Alas, while I still don't know the answers to the questions, I've decided to join the fray anyhow. After all, my life consists primarily of reading and thinking, and nothing helps me refine those skills better than writing. So you might think of my blog as the place for me to think out loud, so to speak.

If you're reading this, thanks for joining me in my journey. Feel free to comment along the way--I'm always looking for feedback.