Cultural Issues


My good friend, Jason Kuiper, gave me a book on the Lord’s Day. It is one that I have been intending to read, but have not found the time due to life’s demands and other readings that are required and/or exegetical in nature.

I have been meaning to read it because I like to interact with the Emergent Church movement. I have many friends, even godly friends, who are a part of the ‘conversation’ and I do what I can to be a part of it as well (even though I am an uncool confessional-dogmatic-Calvinistic-systematic theology loving-modernist). But let’s face it- emergent I am not, even though there are some aspects of the movement that are very biblical and useful.

Today at work I took the book along in case I had some down time to read. I did; and I began reading it with much interest. I also read a lot of it this evening (some reading is like watching TV… it is just too fun to stop even though there are other things that could be accomplished.)

The book is Why We’re Not Emergent (by two guys who should be). It co-written by the Pastor of Lansing, Michigan’s University Reformed Church and some ESPN sports writer. So far it is quite good.

In their discussion of God’s knowability, here is their critique of the Emergent Church:

We may all be, by nature, like blind men touching the elephant without knowing what we are feeling is a trunk, tail, or ear. But what if the elephant spoke and said, “Quit calling me a crocodile, or a peacock, or a paradox. I’m an elephant for crying out loud! That long thing is my trunk. That little frayed thing is my tail. That big floppy thing is my ear.” And what if the elephant gave us ears to hear his voice and a mind to understand his message (cf. I Cor. 2.14-15)? Would our professed ignorance about the elephant and our unwillingness to make any confident assertions about his nature mean we were especially humble, or just deaf?

Because of the emerging church’s implied doctrine of God’s unknowability, the word mystery, a perfectly good word in its own right, has become downright annoying. Let me be very clear: I don’t understand everything about God or the Bible. I don’t fully understand how God can be three in one. I don’t completely grasp how divine sovereignty works alongside human responsibility. The Christian faith is mysterious. But when we talk about Christianity, we don’t start with mystery. It’s some combination of pious confusion and intellectual laziness to claim that living in mystery is at the heart of Christianity.

If you are emergent, pick it up and read it. If you are not emergent: it gives a balanced approach to why you shouldn’t be- all with humor, grace, and respect for the brethren in this movement.

There is a vast difference between godly rulers and worldly rulers; much like between godly people and worldly people. Rulers are to look to the Lord Jesus Christ for the way in which they are to rule. The Second Psalm tells all rulers and kings that they are to submit to the Lord Jesus Christ lest they perish! Jesus is a just and merciful King!

What is the main differences between our King, and the rulers of this world? William Symington sums it up well in his magnum opus, Messiah the Prince:

Rectitude of intention characterizes all his (King Jesus’) plans. Everything is designed for the good of his people and the glory of the Godhead. Other kings may have sinister ends to serve: even when doing what is right in itself, they may have an ultimate respect to their own personal aggrandizement, to the advancement of some favorite courtier; or, supposing they move solely by a regard to the good of their subjects, they may be seeking this at the expense of some neighboring state.

Don’t we hear that all the time? The Bible is no longer relevant to the lives that we live. The Bible could not have expected the civilized and complicated lives that we live. This, of course, is all untrue. The Bible speaks volumes to today’s culture.

Think of the Book of Ecclesiastes:

Ecclesiastes is the most contemporary book in the Bible. The so-called negative sections of the book amount to an exposé of the very things which dominate modern culture: sex, work, education, fame, drink. The writer creates a rogue’s gallery of satirical portraits of the hedonist (2:1–11), the workaholic (2:18–23), the plutocrat (5:8–17), the fool (7:1–8), and the unfaithful woman (7:26–29). Ecclesiastes stands as the ultimate critique of secular humanism.

-J E Smith, The Wisdom Literature and Psalms