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Ignorance is Bliss or in this case “True Christianity”

February 6, 2010

When I was a pastor I started a tradition in our church (note-in a Southern Baptist Church if you do something one time it becomes a tradition).  On the Wednesday night prior to Easter, we celebrated the Lord’s Supper.  I kept everyone outside the sanctuary until service time and then asked them as they entered, to be silent.   The room was dark except for a spotlight on the altar area which had everything removed except an open Bible on the floor, a loaf of bread ( it was a sweet brown bread from a local bakery that was “heaven” ) , and a tray of cups with grape juice ( would have loved to have used a good Cabernet).  I had the congregation sit on the steps leading to the altar and I sat just behind the open Bible. Once everyone was settled I began reading from scripture at John 13:1 through John 17:26. When the reading was complete, I then passed the bread and “wine” going through the steps of the Lord’s Supper as Paul describes in I Corinthians 11.   After everyone had participated we all left in silence.

Now as moving and spiritual as this experience was, Roger Oakland, author of “Faith Undone” (an attack on the emerging church) would have called this service a pagan ritual.  After all, we engaged all five of the senses in an act of worship.  Not just the two he would have us use in “true christian” fashion.  For him you only need the sense of hearing so you can hear a preacher expound on the Word of God (only in King James it seems) and the sense of touch so your butt stays glued to the pew.

For anyone who has read my last two posts, you know this is my third and final on the subject of the emerging church. I end after having just read a criticism of all this movement stands for (and then some).

I wanted to call this post “if you need a good laugh” because that is what Mr Oakland’s book gave me.  Using logic that is the same as if a+b=c then x=y, he manages to call anyone who might have read a book other than the Bible (again the King James version) as a heretic.

He denounces the church fathers (you know, those guys that figured out things like the Trinity and most of the rest of traditional church doctrine), Eckhart, Merton, Foster (who wrote “Celebration of Discipline), Rick Warren, Martin Buber,(my blog isn’t long enough to list them all) and anything “Catholic”.  I love it when he tells us to ignore the mystics especially the Catholic mystics.  According to him, all of the above should be “alarming to any discerning Christian”.

For him, anything having to do with meditation is a direct path to hell and every Eastern religion is Satanic.  I wonder if that is why when Jesus fasted for forty days the Devil showed up?  Maybe he is on to something.

As for the multi-sensory worship experience he states there is nothing in scripture that even hints at it.  True, but then there is nothing in scripture hinting at three hymns, a collection plate, and a boring sermon either.

My best laugh came when I read his attack on Dan Kimball for using the story of the woman at the well as an example of how to not hit people over the head with the gospel before first establishing a relationship. Oakland says Kimball said Jesus asked her questions first, which Jesus did not, so he is right on that point.  But Oakland misses the point by jumping to John4:21 where Jesus delivers His message and ignores the building of the relationship in the first twenty verses.  This story is about how Jesus approached not only a woman but a Samaritan woman and then used her as a spokesperson to bring His message to the rest of the town (oh my, was she the first woman preacher?).

For me the real kicker is his statement that “a reformation that gives more credence to works and deeds than beliefs and doctrine is flawed right from the get go.  With proper beliefs and doctrine, works and deeds will follow.”  My question then would be, when is Christianity, whether traditional or through the emerging church, going to stop quibbling over beliefs and doctrines and getting on with works and deeds?

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