Sunday, July 30, 2006

Split Over Politics...Not Theology?!~

I was online for a second before worship this morning, and this article caught my eye..."Disowning Conservative Politics Is Costly for Pastor". I that's I read some of the article...

Here are a few snippets...I started to read much closer when I recognized the Names Gregory Boyd, and Brian McLaren...
"'When the church wins the culture wars, it inevitably loses,' Mr. Boyd preached. 'When it conquers the world, it becomes the world. When you put your trust in the sword, you lose the cross.'"
[There is some truth to this. The problem is that He isn't helping us understand what we should do about it. He's fighting the worldview of "the church winning the culture war" for winning's sake. He's not posing what our aim should be as Christians in this culture... Maybe I should read the new book that's coming out??]

"Mr. Boyd says he is no liberal. He is opposed to abortion and thinks homosexuality is not God’s ideal. The response from his congregation at Woodland Hills Church here in suburban St. Paul -- packed mostly with politically and theologically conservative, middle-class evangelicals -- was passionate. Some members walked out of a sermon and never returned. By the time the dust had settled, Woodland Hills, which Mr. Boyd founded in 1992, had lost about 1,000 of its 5,000 members."
[The most interesting thing about this to me is that Gregory Boyd is one of the strongest proponents of a heresy [I believe] going on today that I many believe will define the theological debates of our time. Namely the "Openness of God" or "Open Theism." This denies the "Sovereignty of God" and basically says that God can be caught off guard, etc. This was the spark of a huge falling out at Bethel a few years back. The sad thing is that his 5,000 person church lost 1,000 members over politics...not bad theology?? Wow!]

"'There is a lot of discontent brewing,' said Brian D. McLaren, the founding pastor at Cedar Ridge Community Church in Gaithersburg, Md., and a leader in the evangelical movement known as the 'emerging church,' which is at the forefront of challenging the more politicized evangelical establishment."
[I vote "Republican" a lot, but I consider myself to be "Independent." I just tend to be more of a one issue voter see a sermon on this here. Also, I can't help but follow the connection here that the Times makes between Boyd and the "Emergent Church Movement." Here's a post I did a while back that it appears that "Emergent" might be supportive of the "Openness of God." Also, the leader of "Emergent-US" cites a theologian that is part of "Emergent" here that believes that "Open Theism" is within historic Christian Orthodoxy.]

"'More and more people are saying this has gone too far -- the dominance of the evangelical identity by the religious right,' Mr. McLaren said. 'You cannot say the word ‘Jesus’ in 2006 without having an awful lot of baggage going along with it. You can’t say the word ‘Christian,’ and you certainly can’t say the word ‘evangelical’ without it now raising connotations and a certain cringe factor in people.'... 'Because people think, ‘Oh no, what is going to come next is homosexual bashing, or pro-war rhetoric, or complaining about ‘activist judges.’”

"Some pastors in his own denomination, the Baptist General Conference, mounted an effort to evict Mr. Boyd from the denomination and his teaching post, but he won that battle."
[This is debatable.]

"The Rev. Paul Eddy, a theology professor at Bethel College and the teaching pastor at Woodland Hills, said: 'Greg is an anomaly in the megachurch world. He didn’t give a whit about church leadership, never read a book about church growth. His biggest fear is that people will think that all church is is a weekend carnival, with people liking the worship, the music, his speaking, and that’s it.'"
[Maybe he didn't build his ministry off of a book on church leadership, or church growth, but I find it difficult to believe that he's never read a book about it. Maybe though:)]

"Mr. Boyd responded: 'I don’t think there’s a particular angle we have on society that others lack. All good, decent people want good and order and justice. Just don’t slap the label ‘Christian’ on it.'"
[But what if the "decent people who want good and order and justice" are Christians. Aren't Christians to seek justice?? Why can't Christian's desire and do Christian things and call it "Christian?" I can't help but sense some bitterness here towards something he's experienced in the church.]

Interesting article.

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