You know the story of the blind men who touch an elephant to learn what it is like? This post is about the church and the elephant’s eyelash.
I’ll get to the eyelash in a bit. This may get some backs up, but hear me out to the end. I have been watching the Emerging Church with increasing concern. There has been a strong emphasis on God’s love, almost to the exclusion of all else. For example, Stan Mitchell of GracePoint Church said, when announcing gays will be a part of the church leadership closed with the following statement.
And if dear Barnabus we can go together, we must proclaim the gospel.
If dear Barnabus, here we separate godspeed, godspeed. Until we meet again, because no one knows dear brothers and sisters what our journeys will do, but may we commit to those journeys knowing that the greatest guide is the guide of love. [emphasis mine]
Wait, what? The greatest guide is the guide of love? That means God and the entire body of scripture takes the back seat to love – a fickle human emotion. I think John MacArthur sums up scripture on the problem quite succinctly here.
The emerging church has “decided that there is value, there is even virtue in uncertainty about Scripture…they believe that we aren’t even suppose to understand precisely what the Bible means…The human mind trumps the Bible in modernism, mystery trumps the Bible in post-modernism. It is at the foundation an unwillingness to accept the clear teaching of Scripture. Scripture is clear, “A wayfaring man though he be a fool need not err.” God holds us responsible for a right understanding of Scripture.”
Therefore, the Emerging Church doesn’t want to take a position on homosexuality. Yet Romans 1 is clear, homosexuals will not inherit the kingdom of God. Further, MacArthur goes on to say that the Emerging Church, rather than stand on Biblical principles, stand against the Bible and support, even sanctify current culture.
MacArthur is correct in saying that God does not change, His Word does not change, and certainly not in response to man’s depravity. God does not lower the bar because the society chooses to elevate and worship a particular sin – just ask Sodom and Gomorrah. Culture and the sins within will never dictate what God will accept into His kingdom, and they certainly will not change His mind on what the rules are.
Those in the Emerging church see no difference between homosexuality and those who like chocolate or people who are overweight. But God is very clear on how He sees it. It really matters not what man thinks. It’s God’s universe and His rules. When humankind possesses the ability to speak their own universe into existence, then we can make the rules. Until then, we are in God’s universe and therefore must live and die by His rules.
Sure, He’s a loving God. In fact, He so loves this world that He came in the form of man and gave up His life to pay the debt of sin for us. So I don’t question that He loves us. He loves His chosen people too, yet as a good father He disciplines as well. The Old Testament is full of examples of prophets calling the people to turn from their sins and return to God. And when they didn’t, He disciplined them. Any parent must admit, love without discipline will raise a child unable to cope in society. Rules, discipline and correction are part of the role of a good, attentive parent.
Romans 1:18-32 details what happens in a society pursuing ungodly and unrighteous behaviour. First, God gives the people up to the uncleanness of dishonouring their bodies (fornication). When a society continues to defy God, He gives them up to vile affections (men with men which is shameful, as clearly stated in Romans 1:27). The final stage when the society forgets God, He gives the people over to a reprobate mind, taking pleasure in a long list of sin (including deceit, haters of God, without understanding, inventors of evil things.) Watch the nightly news and you’ll be hard pressed to say we are not in stage three, a society without understanding and haters of God.
Think about this. Fifty years ago we threw off the bonds of matrimony and decided we didn’t need to follow God’s rule of no sexual relations outside of marriage. That was our entry into stage one. God gave us over to the dishonour to our bodies of this sin. And we had the sexual revolution of the 60s. Rather than turn back to God society gloried in the sin. So, God gave us over to vile affections. Television told us that homosexuals are not bad people, and what happens in a bedroom is nobody’s business. But not stopping there, society now glorifies homosexuality and teaches our young children that it is more than acceptable, it is desirable. No, we have not turned from our sin and back to God. That pushes us into stage three and God has now given our society over to a reprobate mind, one that cannot discern right from wrong, one without any understanding of God and His Word. Where we once stood on the clear instruction from the Bible, God has given the nation over to a mind without understanding. Even the elect seem infected by this confusion.
So now we have this Emerging Church that chooses the confused culture that has been given over to a reprobate mind over the clarity of God’s Word. They speak wonderful soothing words to appease the mind and relieve the hearts of their followers. Oh yes, they say, God is love. How could we think that a God of love would call a good person who simply loves another person of the same sex a sinner? How can love be a sin? Yes, the argument sounds good. It comforts those who do not want to stand with God and on His Word. The Emerging Church would rather stand with a culture so lost and distant from God they cannot even understand their error.
So let me get back to the elephants eyelash. The Emerging Church grabbed hold of one aspect of God, His love, and proclaimed that is all there is to God. From the vantage of the eyelash, they vacantly gaze into the sweet warm eye and declare that God loves the homosexual. Well, truth be told, God does love the homosexual – and the serial murderer, and Hitler, and Mao Zedong, Pol Pot, and every other person while still in their sin. So in His love He sent His son to offer to every person a way of inheriting eternal life with Him. We must accept Jesus as God’s son, confess our sins and ask for forgiveness. And God is faithful to forgive us our sins. Yet the Emerging Church insists, along with the confused society that homosexuality is not a sin. According to them there is no need for confession, nor turning from their wicked ways nor asking for forgiveness.
They have a hold of the eyelash and fail to understand the eyelash is but one part of a far bigger, far more complex being – just like the blind men, one who touched the elephant’s ear, one the trunk and one the foot. Because they only explored one part of the elephant each came to a flawed concept of it. To focus only on the love of God is to fail to understand the complexity and fullness of God expressed in the totality of the scripture. Just think about Andy Stanley who has a problem with “Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so.” He says “The Bible says it, that settles it” kind of simplistic reasoning is why many walk away from the faith as adults. He thinks defending the entire Bible as truth is just too big a burden for the church, and that putting the Bible at the centre of the debate on truth is wrong. He concludes faith is based solely on the resurrection, not the Bible.
If faith is reduced to one event, then why did God bother to ensure we had 66 books to read? Why did Jesus quote from the Old Testament if it doesn’t matter? 2 Timothy 3:15 says the sacred writings bring about wisdom and faith in salvation.
The Emerging Church, by hanging on to their eyelash is attempting to liberate the church from all the remaining components of God’s Word that He intended for us. They wish to dictate what parts of God’s Word they like and throw away the rest. To call an eyelash an elephant or to say that God loves everyone to the point of declaring sin is not sin is a deception and is willfully ignoring who God is in His fullness. He is not just an eyelash. When these leaders decide that human emotion will guide us to righteousness, they willfully choose human understanding over God, they choose culture over the Bible, and they deceive their members into believing the sins acceptable in society is no longer a sin before God.
Remember, God is a God of love, but He’s also a God of wisdom, clarity, truth, light, life, discipline, justice, authority, majesty, holiness and yes, ultimately wrath. Take a close look at all the people who died in the flood, the Egyptian firstborn during the night of the angel of death passing through, the Egyptian warriors drowning in the Red Sea, Sodom and Gomorrah, the Canaanites, the Amorites, the Amalakites, and any other ‘ites that God had tried correction and discipline, then finally seeing they would never turn from their wicked ways, wiped them out of His creation. Again, His universe, His rules.
The final days are coming where God will pour out His wrath on this world unlike anything seen before. Read the totality of the Word of God for yourself. Be sure you understand that God is so much more than just love and has laid out the rules quite clearly for us in the entire Bible. And no, He has not made it too difficult to understand. Don’t think an elephant’s eyelash represents the animal in its entirety.