Friday, December 05, 2008

Emergent pork chops and homosexuality

Former Coordinator of the Emergent Village, Tony Jones, has made some stink recently by deciding that he now believes that "GLBTQ can live lives in accord with biblical Christianity (at least as much as any of us can!) and that their monogamy can and should be sanctioned and blessed by church and state."
The "Q", by the way, is "questioning", I think.

Much hay has (rightly) been made of this, so I'll restrict my comments to two topics.

1) Statement in the same post: "I could feel myself drifting toward acceptance that gay persons are fully human persons and should be afforded all of the cultural and ecclesial benefits that I am."

He had to drift there, did he? That's so crazy - I've been a fundy Bible-thumper (something like that) for ~15 yrs now, and that was never a question for me or any of my friends. Not in the charismatic, Pentecostal, ORU-type circles in which I used to run, not in the Reformed Babdist or Southern Babdist communities in which I am firmly ensconced, along with my near-beer and my wide variety of dangerous firearms. I feel bad for this man that he had to grow out of such a messed-up position.
Which part did he doubt? He doesn't explain, really. That GLBTQ people were human? Or that they should have the same cultural and ecclesial benefits that everyone else has?
I'm curious now. Which churches have thought that they aren't humans?
Which ones have denied them the right to marry just like everyone else? I don't get it, but there's a lot about Emergents that I don't get, I freely admit.

2) He goes on in a subsequent post to cite a comment from whom I assume is a reader.
Ben the commenter says:
The Holy Bible is very clear on a lot of things. Circumcision, for instance. And what about Leviticus 15? That's pretty clear, I think. It's always amazed me how so many of the rules of God can be dismissed by man, while others are so violently upheld.

Ben exhibits no understanding of circumcision or on what basis a Christian today should apply OT commands.
Circumcision was a sign of the covenant that God made with Israel, as God explicitly said in Genesis and Exodus. This could be tackled from many angles. Less obvious - What is the sign of the covenant now? Baptism!
Slightly more obvious - circumcision **OF THE BODY** is often referred-to in the NT, explicitly, as a meaningless issue. Rather, circumcision of the heart is that which is required. That circumcision is accomplished through repentance and faith in Christ, at which time Christ transforms the man, justifies him, circumcises his heart by giving him a heart of flesh, adopts him as His child, etc.
Yet more obvious - the entire frickin book of Galatians, Acts 15, Paul's defense of Titus' remaining uncircumcised. Circumcision is NOT REQUIRED FOR SALVATION. Why would Paul resist the circumcision of a partner in his ministry? Well, we know one thing - Ben (and my guess is, Tony) don't know.

when I asked my mom (as she was frying pork chops!) about why we don't follow all the rules in the Old Testament she wisely explained her take on it in terms that her 9 year old could understand. It may or may not have been entirely accurate

Emphasis on the "may not".
Here's the answer.

at the time God made them, every rule had a purpose whether man [sic] understood it or not. For instance, pork wasn't able to be easily preserved so it could be dangerous to eat it.

1) Yes, and beef, quail, and fish are harder to preserve.
2) Can't you salt pork and make it nearly indestructible?
3) Or was it b/c pigs are unclean animals, and God was interested in His people Israel maintaining ritual purity as a light to the surrounding nations (a goal they almost never even approached, but still)?

as time passed and people and situations naturally changed there needed to be new rules.

1) So time didn't pass between when the law was given and 4000 yrs later when Christ came?
Or is that just not enough?
2) The Emergents are fond of changing just about everything just about as fast as they can, and Tony Jones couldn't even wait long enough to allow a more organic, natural answer come to the homosexual question, but jumped the gun on Guru McLaren's proposed 5-year moratorium.
3) Jesus doesn't share this pitiful opinion about the Scripture. He said that the law shall never be broken, that He came to fulfill the law, that not one jot nor tittle shall pass away from the law until all is accomplished. Or what of Paul's inspired opinion from Romans that the law is "holy, righteous, and good"?
So, what does it mean that Jesus explicitly said that all foods are clean in Mark 7?
Read the book of Hebrews! Jesus Himself is the fulfillment of full ritual purity for all people. This purity is attained through repentance and faith in Christ.
Notice how this twisted view of the OT Law undercuts the entire basis for the Gospel. It's a dangerous view.

Eventually, as people followed the rules, God recognized that there was one really big rule that He needed everybody to understand.

When did people follow even close to all the rules? What history book is he reading?
And just what did it mean when Jesus said that all the Law and the Prophets were summed up in the 2 great commandments?
If people follow the rules, for what reason do they need a perfect Savior?

He sent his only son to make sure everybody knew that to get into Heaven the most important thing to know is that He expects all of us to treat every other person with love and respect.

And thus is displayed the grandest error of the Emergent whatever-it-is and the social "gospel" as a whole - a complete screw-up of the biblical doctrine of man. Where is any recognition evidenced of Romans 3-8? Of Ephesians 1-2's pronouncements of humanity's lying dead in transgression and sin? Of Isaiah's denunciation of our good works as dirty, disgusting menstrual cloths in God's sight?
Why do we need a Savior at all? We don't. We apparently just need a good moral teacher.
One wonders why Jesus bothered at all - just stay up there in Your heavenly glory, Jesus; we don't need You. Just send another prophet, or even just a nice, charismatic man who makes cool videos. We promise that THIS time we won't abuse, scorn, persecute, or murder him! We're more enlightened in this day and age to be so barbaric!

No, the problem is that we CAN'T treat every other person with love and respect. We sin. We sin against others and against God.

If everybody could treat other people the way he or she would want to be treated we'd all get to go to heaven.

Finally a true statement, and yet so misguided.
That's an enormous IF. Problem is, we CAN'T treat other people like that. Our desires are wrong. Our acting on those desires is wrong. Our treatment of others is wrong.

I feel strongly that we're to treat every person with the respect God demands regardless of whether they eat pork, or if they're circumcised, or on their period, or gay.

I'm glad he "feels" it strongly. God help him if he only had the Bible to educate him!
No one is arguing that GLBTQ people should be mistreated.
Perversely, Ben would have us withhold the greatest news and greatest love that a GLBTQ person could ever hear - you may not think you have sinned (or you might), but you have, and you have no hope of eternal life by yourself, but a wonderful and wonderfully loving God has given Himself FOR YOU, to stand in your place, to redeem your whole life and to redeem you for eternity. Walk His road and give up on your own, the one that leads to death.
No, Ben would prefer we blow sunshine in their faces to blind them from their greatest need. These men are serious hindrances to God's work in the world. I pray they will repent.


rotsaP loeJ said...

Yeah, that's pretty sketchy. I have heard a distinction made between the 'emergent' church and the 'emerging' church, with the latter being somewhat more orthodox. Do you know anything about this?

Rhology said...

Hmm, that might well be a useful distinction, if it could be made.
As it stands now in my study of the Emerg*** church, one pretty much has to take each church/community by itself.
Doug Pagitt = really bad
B-Mac Laren = really really bad
Rob Bell = pretty dang bad
Dan Kimball = much less bad than those guys

etc. It's really hard, even for guys who write whole books on the topic, like DA Carson, or guys who have distanced themselves from the E***C, like Mark Driscoll.

Seth said...

Yet another example of the many people who:

1) want the "warm-fuzzies" of Christianity without having to deal with God's holiness, or the holiness He expects from His name-bearers.

2) would rather whitewash controversial issues with 'can't-we-all-just-get-along' nonsense than to actually study, discuss, and seek out answers. As Paul says, "Let each man be fully convinced in his own mind."

evenshine said...

Seth- but whitewash is so much easier, and warm fuzzies are...warm.
Common misconception, though, and hard for some to manage: believing that homosexuality is sinful does NOT equate with hating that person, or thinking them subhuman.

Rhology said...

Yeah, apparently Tony Jones has spent approximately zero time actually listening to the beliefs of conservative evangelicals or Reformed types. And I thought he was supposed to be a big theologian, a thinker, a conscientious objector, that sort of thing. It's pretty sad. How can you have a conscientious objection to sthg you don't understand?

"I tell you what - I don't know what 'jelly' is, but I won't participate due to matters of conscience!"

David Bryan said...

"along with my near-beer and my wide variety of dangerous firearms."


What a sad commentary, though, seriously.

And, btw -- the "Q" stands for "Queer."

Rhology said...

I'm surprised they'd want to identify themselves by the label "queer", but I guess there are all kinds.