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Josh Schroeder

How does this new Brian McLaren book compare to John Shelby Spong's books like A New Christianity for a New World or Why Christianity Must Change or Die?

Drew

I noticed that you pointed out the doctrine of salvation by faith alone. I'm not real familiar with all these emergent guys; does Brian McClaran deny that doctrine?

Mr PSb

Thank you for posting this! The historicity of the Christian faith is often over looked. Oh if we would look back at the past to not make the same mistakes in the present.

Drew

Oh, my bad...McClaren is the one you wrote about last week contrasting Paul and Jesus

loop

Thanks for posting. Though, I think you're isegeting (sp) the letter rather than exegeting. ;) It's not really contra McClaren, although the things you highlight certainly show that Mathetes wouldn't agree with him. I think there are other things we can learn from this particular letter besides what you have emphasized. I'm looking forward to more things from the early church fathers being posted, either here or in the cove, in the future.

Drew

Even unbelievers please God when they live rightly, so I don't agree with your mystical definition of morality. Morality is loving your neighbor. Even unbelievers do that some of the time, and even believers fail to do it often. The "saving message," which you keep putting in quotation marks as if you don't believe it exists, is that whoever believes in Jesus for eternal life will have it, forever (John 3:16; John 4:10-15; John 11:25-27; 1 John 5:10-11). Believing that message is what it means to "accept Christ." Whether you want to picture it as God coming to the believer or the believer coming to God is immaterial.

And I have absolutely no objection to presenting this saving message in church. My problem with the Seeker-Sensitives is that they make their entire sermons about this saving message, and never go any deeper. The idea behind their movement is that if you create a warm environment with concert rock music and never condemn sin, then unbelievers will wander into the church and hear the saving message and get saved. It's nice in theory -- but it completely omits another key function of the church, which is to help believers grow in their spirituality and doctrine.

I also don't agree with your mystical definition of idolatry. Your position would basically gut the entire Christian life by deleting any incentive for Christians to do anything, including love their neighbors, because anything done with a motive would constitute "idolatry." In reality, Jesus encourages us to seek out rewards for our service to him (Matthe 6:20; Luke 19:26; 1 Corinthians 9:24).

And regarding these "idols" you're talking about, God actually advises us to seek them:

But whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm. Proverbs 1:33

Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you. Proverbs 2:11

For the upright will live in the land, and the blameless will remain in it; Proverbs 2:21

My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity. Proverbs 3:1-2

The proverbs of Solomon: A wise son brings joy to his father, but a foolish son grief to his mother. Proverbs 10:1

Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth. Proverbs 10:4

The fear of the LORD adds length to life, but the years of the wicked are cut short. Proverbs 10:27

A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment? Ecclesiastes 2:24-25

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4

Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. James 5:13-14

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