Thursday, April 12, 2007

Re: Sermonizers

Dear B,
You seem to have reached the end of the tether. Sad but true because you are a product of the traditional church and used to one way traffic with zero tolerance for dissent. This is not even democratic. In a house church situation we would discuss this threadbare until we came to a consensus, even if it means agreeing to disagree. I also come from a traditional background, born a Presbyterian, baptized in a Disciples of Christ church, (Baptist), worshipped with Anglicans during my medical schooldays, fellowshipped with Mennonites and later with Methodists in UK, returned to my father's liturgical Lutheran church, had close fellowship with Pentecostals while CEO of the Christian Medical college in Punjab. But now I am only a Christian, which to me means "chosen and ordained to go and bring forth abundant fruit that remains" John 15:8,16.
We seem to have different understanding of the "emergent Church". While you seem to be referring to the "apostate church" started by the first real Pope, Emperor Constantine in 310. He sent his mother to the Holy Land to bring the holy grail. She never found it but did bring trinkets, icons, hair, teeth of saints and of course allegedly a piece of original cross. These adorned the altars in the church buildings and were even worshipped. This church continues to exist in various forms.
The "emerging church" that I am referring to is the house church movement based on the original New Testament model that is sweeping the world resulting in 180,000 conversions every day, which includes, Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, communists, animists and a whole lot of others, including the five million Americans who are now meeting in homes. All this is being accomplished by grassroots level workers " looking unto Jesus" and not by academic egg heads, who are infact opposing it because they see a great threat to their own hegemony and control on religion. Not even by the commercial celebrity evangelists who appear on the TV. I just checked on such a channel and the response rate from the non-Christians is almost a big zip. The radio of course is doing well because it does not involve image building.
The wind (Spirit) blows where it listed and no one knows where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone that is born of the Spirit, who are going out barefoot with good news and who is there to question their competence, certainly not the non-performers. (John 3:8; Rom. 10:9-15)
I make no apology for admitting that Christianity is modeling, relational and experiential and not academia (1 Cor. 11:1; John 13:34,35; 1 Thes. 1:5). Pl do not misunderstand me. I am not against preaching (dialegomai) . I am simply against it being a monologue. Jesus was on the street every day dialoguing, hassling and brawling, especially with the religious machine and spiritual empire builders. This he continued in the in the formal synagogue and even the temple situation. That is all I am pleading for. Just open up the system (1 Cor. 14: 31, 32)
Not only the Catholic church but the traditional protestant church has collected layers and layers of syncretism throughout the centuries and murdered those who dared to dissent. The modern church needs to be evaluated on the basis of NT model as the bench mark. Wherever we have gone off the track we need to do course correction even if it is painful. I have been a cancer surgeon most of my professional life and used to radical surgery even if it was physically and emotionally traumatic, just to save life. Jesus was brutal to the religious leaders for setting up traditions above God. God mandated a house church from the beginning when he told the Jews to teach their children and grand-children while they are sitting, walking or just mucking around. (Deut. 6:1-9). Gamaliel cautioned the Sanhedrin and Jesus Himself rebuked Paul for kicking against the pricks (Acts 9:5). The need of the day is to reinvent the original NT church by getting rid of all the excess baggage acquired through the centuries.
Whether you know it not and whether you like it or not, there is a battle raging between the emerging church and the conventional church and the emerging church is winning hands down. As a surgeon I am not known for my great knowledge but for my skills. Your intentions in sending the academic materials is not suspect but good intentions are not good enough. The stakes are high and my humble suggestion is that you please refrain from polluting the strongly performing church in the third world countries with academic virus and instead send them cutting edge materials which will hone their soul winning skills.
Since you will not be continuing this discussion, and I do not want all this wonderful discussion to go off like water from the duck's back, I will be happy to send you my book " Greet the Ekklesia: The Church in Your House", if you will be kind enough to send me your postal address. 
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Wednesday, April 11, 2007 12:11 AM
Subject: Re: Sermonizers

You seem to have put blinders on....If the Synagogue was illegal then Jesus did something illegal by teaching in one, and accepting the system.  That constitutes sin.  The Emergent church embraces medieval practises such as darkness, candles, stations of the cross, idols,  icons, uses paraphrased and inaccurate versions of the Bible and embraces ALL theology stating that no one theology has shown itself to be exclusively true.  It is the bridge to Rome, Christian Mysticism and is a sign of the time we live in when many shall not endure sound doctrine and shall turn away from the truth.
I have shown that the normal use of the words "preach and teach" show that expounding on the word is not only normal but encouraged.  We are exhorted in Matt 28:19 to go into all the world and Preach (Matheteuo G3100 to make oneself a pulpit).  You even said that Wm Carey achieved nothing from the pulpit....His sermon "The Christian responsibility to preach the Gospel to the heathen", is the Magna Carta of the Missionary movement.  After that sermon the Mission Board was established (as a result of the sermon)and it was the start of the Foreign Missions, of many other churches.  There is none so blind as those who will not see.  You give derogatory examples of the "bog Irish" running to get seats at the bar.  A cute anecdote, but Ireland did not appear in the top 20 on the United nations list of heaviest consumption of alcohol. It is a cartoon of the Irish developed by superior English Empire builders.
The Ireland I am familiar with is of Evangelical meetings, sabbath keeping, teetotallers,much like the depiction in Chariots of Fire (that was of Scotland of course, but a parallel to my life)  What I have found out about the emergent church is that it deconstructs the Christian Church and undermines all that has gone before, I stand in the gap against it.  To say that what happened between the first century and the present was wrong and a heresy is error.  Did God forget us, did the Holy Spirit sleep for 1800 years.  If the pulpit is heresy then my parents and I are lost as we were brought to the Lord by the Preaching of a missionary to Southern Ireland called Curry Brennan.  All the teaching and preaching as I have said five times now, was in vain.  The fruit of it is anathema.
You use circular reasoning and cherry pick your proof texts.  When given proper documented examples you rationalize them and undermine the parts that you do not like.
Like it or not The Evangelical Church has grown from 12% 40 years ago to over 25% of Americans today.  The Evangelical Church is at its zenith in the USA at present.  South and central America have had revivals of enormous consequences, so much so that the Catholic Church has declared war and said that if the Evangelicals/Pentecostals don't stop there will be dire consequences.  Africa has had the biggest gain in the history of Christianity and throughout the world there have been gigantic gains...all as a result of missionary efforts, Preaching, TV evangelism, Videos, tape ministries, books, audio, tracts, Computer and the Internet.  The Iron Curtain countries are open to the gospel and Muslim and communist countries cannot stop gospel videos, programs, audio and texts from entering, as then can be spread by mail, Internet and carried by people in very small packages.  Native missionaries and grass roots movements have brought great results, but they are only a small part of the picture.  As we speak I am uploading gospel videos, audio, text and programs to 58 countries many of whom are Muslim and Communist. 
You have not convinced me that the pulpit is heresy, in fact you have strengthened my conviction of the need for the preached word of God.  You seem to hold to "another gospel" where mysticism and experience hold sway.  It makes you and your flock open to every wind of doctrine.  You embrace a system of faddish philosophy, that uses Medieval showmanship to emphasize the "experience of Christianity"; embracing all in love, and denouncing only that which is not new, and has been the method used by God from time immemorial.   This calls into question, my salvation, my church, its methods and the Plan of Salvation as executed by the Holy Spirit these past six thousand years.  You look down upon higher learning and the methods that bring them to being.  Truth remains truth, it is explicit and comes from is the reward of those who diligently seek Him.  Those who have erred and went into error have used the teaching and thinking of men to undermine the revealed truth of God as given to us in the Bible.  This fad will pass soon enough, but at what cost?  It scars, undermines, reconstructs and deconstructs the Gospel, the Bible and the Church.  The end of the pathway ends up at the Vatican, it is a bridge to Rome.  My chief concern is what heresy and cults will be spawned by this post-modern post-evangelical supermarket that only sells candy and popcorn, and has shamans and mysticism in the aisles and a section for candles and feel good philosophies.  I have sent my email to Rad Zdero telling him of my decision to leave the House Church and seek elsewhere.  You have codified and crystallized their beliefs and methods, and I thank you for your service in this matter.
This is my last communication with serves little point to continue to debate when the rules of the debate change, historical evidence is overlooked and rationalized.  Rick Warren has taught you well.
Goodbye....please do not continue this discussion with more emails....I have grown weary of them.
I will not answer them, I will only be available to the House Church Movemant as a resource for materials.

Brian W. Brown