Yikes! [theologically speaking]

Bear with me, friends, as I feel the need to wade into a pool of theological debate.

Years ago I started reading books about the impact postmodern thought is having on society and how that effects the way we spread the message of Christ. It's been an enlightening journey as I have learned a lot about philosophy, theology, and people in general. About two years ago, Kelly and I attended the second ever Emergent Convention, sponsored by Youth Specialties. Emergent was a group of younger evangelical Christians who were proclaiming the need to try new things to reach out to the changing culture for Christ. Seemed like our kind of people. While at the convention, we encountered some crazy/wack stuff: spitting into jars, yoga, and bicycle labyrinths all done in the name of experiential faith.

Even though this stuff was a doobie short of a Dead concert, I gave them the benefit of the doubt. I've met so many weird conservative Christians that I had to grant some latitude to those on the other side of the tracks. But what I couldn't accept was some of the theology that began to "emerge" from the Emergent folk. For instance, some there have begun to propose that there is no literal hell. I find this hard to swallow. As a Christian, I believe Jesus was/is God and was/is perfect. And Jesus believed in hell [example: Matthew 5:22-30, 10:28, 23:33]. Therefore I believe in hell. Sure, hell isn't popular, but you have to teach it as being Biblical.

Well it's getting worse with Emergent, as their most press release has me ready to dismiss them altogether. This month they announced a dialogue with Jewish leaders [Synagogue 3000] concerning the possibilities of elevating social justice issues among their groups. I'm all for friendly relations between Jews and Christians but, I swear, this press release makes it sound like were all on the same side. Check out this quote from an Emergent leader about the collaboration:

"As emerging Christian leaders have been pushing through the polarities of left and right in an effort to find a new, third way, we've been desperate to find partners for that quest. It's with great joy and promise that we partner with the leaders of S3K to talk about the future and God's Kingdom."

You might not be disturbed by this, so I'll explain why I am. Not to sound like Captain Obvious here, but the difference between Christians and Jews is a belief that Jesus of Nazareth was Messiah. Yeah, this one little fact has cause somewhat of a rift between our two faiths for about 2,000 years. Because of Jesus, we view things differently. When we as Christians elevate the cause social justice [or any cause for that matter] higher than that of the teaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ to the world, we are missing the point of why we follow Jesus in the first place. Detractors cite Jesus ministry of needs as the reason we should aim for social justice, but the main reason Jesus came was the cross . . . so that people could be saved from hell . . . which isn't important if you don't think it exists . . . which frees up plenty of time to work for social justice.

I'm just saying that this move by the Emergent group might just be the thing that causes a new break off group of people who are interested in understanding the changing culture but are interested in clinging to Biblical values.

But in response to this, I must utter a YIKES!