February 14, 2007
Many believers are motivated more by their “feelings” or their guilt rather than their actual faith. So much so that shallow Christians and the ungodly world have an entire theological system called the “emergent church,” that caters to these very issues. It has so infected the Christian mindset that we dare not say anything negative or deemed “hurtful” even about those who are inerrant in their theological ways. We must accept, love, and nurture them and ignore their ungodly behavior or proclivities.
Take for instance Rick Warren’s willingness to use anyone anytime to get his “god-given” vision of P.E.A.C.E. in place. Even if it means having a rabid pro-baby killer, like Barack Obama, speak from his podium concerning AIDS.
By the way this is the same articulate Obama who recently “misspoke” by calling the lives of our military service men and women “wasted.” He got more heat from the world about that comment than he did from Warren concerning his views on killing the unborn, gay marriage, or his universalistic ranting concerning what he truly believes about God.
The guilty emotionalism of our Christian faith was displayed for me personally the other day as I sat in a meeting with fellow pastors. We were discussing ways in which we are trying to best use resources and finances of our Association of churches to reach our area for Christ. It was brought up that there were also other denominations and churches that were not theologically aligned with us that were doing some “pretty good things for the kingdom of God.” And that we did not need to “reinvent the wheel.” One specific church was brought up. When I openly called into question the validity of this church’s pastor’s theological credentials, I was snickered at. What I related was completely true, but for these men it seemed as if I were “spiritually stupid” for even voicing my concern that conservative Baptists should not really have much to do with a church lead by a man who bases his theology and church growth on a perverted form of neo-Christianity. I was told that the most important thing was that we “love Jesus” and that we were both “trying to reach people for Christ.” I was dumbfounded because right in front of me the emotional guilt of believers was played out for me to see and hear! Here were supposedly strong Christian leaders being lead by quasi-guilt and emotional spiritual blackmail. I wanted to be sick.
My remark was made because we had been discussing ways to train Worship Leaders for smaller churches. I commented that I often received letters from several other churches in my community, including the one lead by the pastor I commented on, telling me that they “pray for” our church and for me personally as a pastor. They even state that “if we can be of any help in your ministry, please let us know.” So, naïve person that I am, and since I have been looking for a Worship Leader, I gave both of these mega-churches a call because I actually thought they wanted to help. I was bluntly told by staff from both churches that “We do not have anyone who would be interested.” I was informed that they would not even post a notice or allow me to place something on a bulletin board requesting someone to come in view of a call as Worship Leader.
In case you misunderstand, remember, I was responding to the “nice” letters they sent me stating they would certainly help me or my church in anyway they could. However, I was brought back into the real world when one staff member related to me, “We do not have anyone nor would we be interested in helping anyone come and serve. We need all of our people and we have no one to spare.” I was never asking for a staff person nor for someone who was already serving, I was asking to be able to see if there might be someone out of the tens of thousands of individuals who attend these edifices that might be willing to see if God was calling them to a smaller church where they could serve and grow in Christ!
In case you have missed the point, the letters of these mega-emergent-churches were only for “show.” They were written as a means of massaging their spiritual guilt and helping with their Christian emotionalism.
Later, when I went and spoke with the gentleman who made the remark directed at my observation concerning the theology of one of the pastors, he agreed that he too had experienced exclusion from the church this man leads in the same way I had. So, perplexed, I asked why in the world would he say what he did when in fact the pastor has these views, has no theological core, promotes a quasi form of Pentecostalism, and now aligns itself with Calvary Chapel? (Now I know some of you are probably part of Calvary Chapel, and while this may be good for you, they are not “baptistic” in their theology.) He had no good response. Guilt and emotionalism had motivated him as well.
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