DEBUNKING ANOTHER EMERGING CHURCH MYTH CONCERNING SALVATION
By Ken Silva pastor-teacher on Jun 30, 2009 in AM Missives, Current Issues, Emergence Christianity, Emergent Church, Features
Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. (Romans 8:8, ESV)
The First To Present His Case Often Appears Right…Until…
In MYTH #6: You Must Believe Jesus Is the Son of God To Follow Him by Tim Timmons over at the hugely popular the Emerging Church aka Emergent Church, now morphing into Emergence Christianity, website The Ooze we read:
Now, in debunking this myth I want to direct your attention again to the early disciples. When they first answered the call to follow Jesus, did they believe that Jesus was the Son of God? No!
They believed Jesus was the latest and greatest Rabbi on the religious scene. They believed Jesus was an amazing teacher and example. (Online source)
Really; that’s odd, when John the Baptist sees Jesus his own disciple John-who would go on to follow Christ-informs us that John the Baptist says, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). In verse 34 John the Baptist is also quoted as saying, “I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”
These statements actually equate Jesus of Nazareth to ha Mashiach (i.e. Messiah; the Christ) Whom they both had been expecting might just possibly arrive in their lifetime. In fact, then John the Baptist calls Jesus, “the Lamb of God” again to two of his disciples (v. 35). As respected Bible scholar Dr. Robert Reymond brings out in his Jesus: Divine Messiah:
In sum, John intended by this epithet to ascribe nothing short of deity to Jesus, and here accordingly at the very dawn of the New Age in the Forerunner’s testimony is the highest conceivable declaration about [Jesus]…we must conclude that for John [the Baptist] Jesus was the Christ, the Lord who was to come into his temple, the messanger of the covenant who was to come, indeed, just Yahweh himself who spoke in Malachi 3:1, and thus the divine Son of God. (304, 305)
And one of those disciples of the Baptist mentioned above, who wrote this eyewitness deposition that we now call the Gospel of John, then informs who that other disciple was:
who heard John speak and [then] followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). He brought him to Jesus. (John 1:40-42, ESV)
That’s pretty clear from the record. Now Timmons does suppose that:
The disciples have been following this attractive, irresistible and relevant Jesus for quite some time and now the question comes from Jesus: “Who do you say I am?” Peter’s answer was right on when he said, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” This is the first time this has been expressed with a sense of conviction by the disciples. The thought was there, but this seems to nail it down. (Online source)
The above actually tends to work against his own thesis; however, because the Emerging/ent/ence Church has an incorrect seeker-sensitive soteriology (doctrine of salvation)-one that’s actually backward-in what follows Timmons will end up outlining a works-righteous system. One in which as a person is supposedly “following Jesus,” essentially meaning while attempting to rectify societal ills, “you will at some point discover your Creator-God.”
No; sorry about that. The Light of our opening text above cuts through this EC mystic maze with the exacting precision of a lazer beam thus revealing that Timmons is dead wrong when he surmises:
There seem to be three stages of following Jesus. FIRST-Jesus is followed because He is so flawless and attractive-unimpeachable. He is the one person who has truly walked the walk and the talk perfectly. No one argues with this. And the disciples believed in Him enough to follow Him. There is nothing wrong with this type of following Jesus at all.
SECOND-Then as you follow this attractive Jesus, you will begin to embrace His lifestyle, teachings and principles and find them to be very practical and meaningful for your life. Following this Jesus just makes sense.
THIRD-Finally, as you continue to follow this Jesus and find His teachings meaningful, you will at some point discover your Creator-God. You will experience transformation of your heart and your mind and see Jesus as the Son of God.
So, wherever you are in this continuum of the stages in following Jesus, ultimately you are seeking and hoping to receive this gift of transformation from God Himself. When you understand this, you then can embrace the fact of Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, Agnostics, Muslims and even Christians who are followers of Jesus. (Online source)
What needs to be understood here is that Emerging/ent/ence Church truly began as an extention of the seeker-sensitive Church Growth Movement as you can see in e.g. in the Apprising Ministries article The Emerging Church Sowing Its Neo-Orthodox Confusion On Scripture. There you’ll also find the link to an excellent piece from my friends at the fine online apologetics and discernment ministry Herescope wherein they expose the rotten root of this whole EC Diseased Tree.
It’s an ill-fated attempt to make Biblical Christianity relevant and appealing to the alleged “postmodern” [read” relativistic] culture. I have no reason to doubt that Timmons is sincere in tyring to make being a “Christ-follower” attractive, but he is, sincerely wrong. What’s missing here in this man-made attempt to add to the Lord’s Church is the requisite role of God the Holy Spirit. And don’t forget that He Himself tells us above that – Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
That means one in an unregenerate (i.e. spiritually dead) state is not able to follow Christ. And the truth is that the below from Dr. F.F. Bruce (1910-1990), whom many looked to as “the dean of evangelical scholars,” gives us a much more accurate picture of the real Jesus of Nazareth-the Christ-Who died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, was buried, and was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures (see-1 Corinthians 15:3-4):
Our Lord’s sayings were all of a piece with His actions and His way of life in general. The fewer preconceptions we bring from the outside to the reading of the Gospels, the more clearly shall we see Him as He really was. It is all too easy to believe in a Jesus Who is largely a construction of our own imagination-an inoffensive Person Whom no one would really trouble to crucify.
But the Jesus we meet in the Gospels, far from being an inoffensive Person, gave offense right and left. Even His loyal followers found Him, at times, thoroughly disconcerting. He upset all established notions of religious propriety. (Hard Sayings of the Bible, 18, 19)