Monday, November 13, 2006

Modernism dies a slow death

So I'm sitting here in my family room comfy chair, with me feet up after a day's work and a good dinner prepared by my wife w/ pumpkin pie and all. And since Nicki is reading, I have full control of my remote. I landed upon NRB, one of the dozen or so "god" channels on Direct Tv now. And I'm watching a sermon by John MacArthur. I grew up in churches that worshipped this guy. Over the past 15 minutes he has read a sermon from his notes saying things that today's evangelical churches are mediocrity and celebrating carnality. Pastors are humorous and "cool" instead of being rigorous studiers of the Word. He states that the book of Amos is a prophecy against these "relevant" churches, that he hates their music, hates their worship and hates their sacrifices. That God will no longer speak because of his judgment. Speaking of a past Era when we used to have great preaching and an Era when we agreed with Scripture with consistency. He says the world can't know who God's real spokesman is, that is convenient for a guy who cornered the market with a book called "The Gospel According to Jesus". In that book, he argues his take as Jesus' exclusive view and thus all others are false.

Modernism as a worldview is all about "either-or" thinking. I am right, therefore you are wrong. The Bible then is a system to be figured out of objective information, it will lead you to a world of black and white truth. This is not at all consistent with the kind of Jewish mythology in which the Scriptures were written and a culture of mythology. The Bible was written hundreds and thousands of years before the Scientific worldview was born in the Age of Enlightenment. All I can say in my experience in these churches growing up is that it has a whole lot more to do with a dogged loyalty to the Modern worldview than anything having to do with following Jesus. At its foundation is a system, not a person. And the system is about knowledge, not relationship. In this black and white world, there is no reckless intimacy that leaves you vulnerable nor leaves room for doubt or confusion. I suppose just listening to him just brings up so much baggage for me.

I think what I remember is that I grew up and feeling that I had a "calling" to pastor, but the category of "Pastor" that I knew was one of a guy who showed no emotion, knew all the answers and spent 40 hours a week in personal study around books and systematic theologies and away from the distractions of people. Pastoring was preaching a theological sermon for 30 minutes each week in which you passed judgment on culture. I deducted that I shouldn't be a pastor because none of that fit me. MacArthur is upset because people aren't committed anymore to the rigors of studying Scripture and that he shouldn't have to grab their attention with his preaching, they should work to listen. To me, the burden of communication is not on the receptor, but on the communicator. Pastors want everybody to listen to them, but how many of them understand how people learn.

Do I believe in objective truths? Yes. Does this make me a bad postmodern? Sometimes. For me, in a Kingdom worldview, objective information has to take its place at the round table of knowledge with experience, tradition and Scripture in context. Modernism exalted objective information and its experiment has failed. They couldn't answer all the questions.

It was unbiblical in my traditions of church to show emotion. Christians were somber and right. I never fit and thought God was a joke growing up. I tried to fit in only to be reminded that I didn't belong over and over.

MacArthur is mad the world has changed. Modernism is losing its grip and he interprets that as the Gospel not being preached instead of it actually just being the death of his preferences. Modernism fit him like a glove. I can't stomach this stuff anymore because it lacks what it claims to have the corner of the market on, a true intelligent and studied view of Scripture. Since he would call me unbiblical, I'll go ahead and return the favor . . . in love of course ;)

Stop and notice the Kingdom around you today,

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