Sunday, August 12, 2007

Shaping of Things to Come Part 6

From The Shaping of Things to Come page 49 and 50:

“No one is considered unworthy of belonging because they happen to be addicted to tobacco, or because they’re not married to their live-in partner. Belonging is a key value.”

At this point I become concerned. We are offering community to the unsaved, community defined by Jesus’ atonement. There is no place in regular fellowship for the habitual, unrepentant sinner. Paul wrote about this problem again and again, rebuking church communities for tolerating behavior that defined them when they walked in ‘darkness,’ and also specifically describing a practice like excommunication in 1 Corinthians 5.

Page 50 presents another concern: “Conversion is a process that does not begin and end with the profession of faith in Christ but begins with the Holy Spirit’s prevenient grace on the person’s life and continues through repentance for a lifetime – kingdom comes.”

This one quote incorporates the most dangerous limits of doctrines implied by the ancient enemies of theology: the Calvinists and the Arminians. Saying that conversion is a process lays the responsibility for accomplishing conversion on us (Arminianism), the human. This fact is immediately qualified, even countered, when they emphasize grace. Well, it’s God doing it (Calvinism), and He takes a lifetime. Still, there is no mention of evangelism as preaching the gospel, of the gospel including calling on the name of the Lord. Ephesians 2 is faded into an imperceptibly slow process, until at the end you can see, “Oh yes, once I was dead.” But right now you’re just in a struggle. Everyone is just in a struggle. There is not so much a line between the enemies of God and the quickened instruments of righteousness. This is the heresy of every cult ever invented.

To God be all glory.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You are absolutely right. The book seems to advocate the abandonment of principles of holy living in its desire to be culturally relevant and win souls. Imagine citing the protagonist of Chocolat as a woman to emulate?