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November 06, 2012

Comments

If we're honest, isn't this becoming the default 'on the shop floor' in Christianity today?

I can see little difference between what you describe and Emergentism - apart from the cultural context.

It was the seeds of this 'Emerging Church' germinating in the 1980s which made me start to question the validity of my churchmanship in the first place.

Fortunately, while this unbiblical trend has taken root, many missionaries don't subscribe to it and warn their contacts back home about it.

There are far more liberal Muslims, in the same sense that there are liberal Christians, than we often think. These Jesus-following Muslims are likely being generated from this set of liberal Muslims. Missionaries have a far easier time getting these to syncretize than getting any Muslim to profess Christ to the exclusion of the false teachings of Islam. So it may be they have succumbed to the temptation to return high numbers of converts to their supporters as evidence of their effectiveness from Muslims who aren't truly converted.

The biblical missionaries that I know have a far more difficult time, but their fruit is likewise far more meaningful. One Muslim nation within the past few years has recently allowed Muslim background believers, who have seen people killed for converting to Christianity even a few years ago, to start an organization that could be construed as a Christian church for the first time in centuries. The Insider Movement could never accomplish that and it's something we should rejoice and praise God for.

To Alan Schlemon

It’s easy to complain about the “insiders” (the missionaries who convert them and the converts themselves) when you’re sitting here in America safe and sound—living a cozy middle class American life (nice home, nice car, nice paycheck, nice vacation with I assume wife and kids) with zero threat of death (like being stoned to death or your head lopped off or burned at the stake) for your beliefs…so it’s easy Alan to cast stones at “insiders”…

Thus your article and your beliefs behind it have zero merit!!!!

But Alan, your article and beliefs would have mucho value and merit if you (right now, today, at this moment) were living in the Middle East and openingly preaching the gospel in Taliban controlled areas…daily risking life, limb, and freedom for the gospel you claim is true...

Remember what your own Jesus supposedly said: count the cost if you wish to follow [Jesus]—give up everything (give up wife, kids, parents, house, job, etc, to follow Jesus)…remember Peter supposedly exclaimed to Jesus (after the rich young man realized he didn’t have the guts to give up everything to follow Jesus): we’ve given up everything to follow you!

So Alan (as Peter supposedly said), have you given up ALL to follow Jesus and to preach his word?

Do you constantly risk your life like the apostle Paul to preach to the unbelievers?

Have you’ve been stoned, jailed, beaten, whipped, all for the sake of the gospel?

Then what real cost have you occurred to follow Jesus?

So Alan, as you and Greg Koukl sit here safe and sound in America (living in safe neighborhoods, w/nice houses, nice cars, nice vacations, nice families, nice dinner dates, etc), please stop the hypocrisy of dogging missionaries and their Muslim converts who daily walk in the shadow of death…and simply enjoy your cozy Christian lite lives here in America. Later my friend…

Brett Strong

PS: I’d be happy to debate you on any forum on this subject…and please know, this post was written with due respect and honor for you and Greg; no malice whatsoever…for you and Greg and my bud Brett Kunkl are great guys with beautiful hearts....just thought I’d point out an obvious flaw (hypocrisy) that many unbelievers see in Christian lite Christians like youself…

Brett,

Have you read the Solid Ground article. While I agree that is hard for us as Christians in America to identify with the struggles that Christians face amongst large populations actively practicing pillars of the Muslim faith, that does not invalidate our objections to the Gospel being distorted. Calling someone a hypocrite does not invalidate their argument. You may at times need to question the way in which someone delivers their argument, as we are always to argue our point with grace and tact, but at first glance it appears you are arguing with Alan and Greg's geographical location, not with the point they are making.

Hopefully your Brother,
Tony

Hi Tony.
Does an argument which appears more cogent make it more authoritative?
Surely that's perfectly true in Philosophy but erroneous in Christianity?
How does one know who is distorting the Gospel?

Paul,

I agree that our degree of effectivenes in defending our faith is not merely based on the cogency of our argument, but is also largely determined by our perceived intent or motives. If you read the Solid Ground article you'll see they don't dismiss the intent of the IM movement out of hand. It points out the ways it can and has in fact in some ways distorted the Gospel. If we can't identify distortions of the Gospel then why would Paul exhort us to watch out for distortions of it? Do you mean to imply we are not capable of recognizing distortions of the Gospel? Would a Gospel that distorts or dimisses the deity of Christ be a false Gospel in your mind?

Paul,

I apologize, I got right to my questions without answering yours:

Does an argument which appears more cogent make it more authoritative?

It depends on how you are defining cogent. An argument can "have the power to compel or constrain" (be cogent in one sense of the word), yet still be logically incorrect. While how persuasive an argument is may affect how many people you'll convince, you are right, it does not speak to the authority or accuracy of your argument.

If you mean by cogent "appealing forcibly to the mind or reason" than the answer would be that, yes, it is more authoritative in virtue of the fact that it comports to the truth about the way things are. Jesus was seen as speaking "as one who had authority" because his words match what we know to be true about reality.

Surely that's perfectly true in Philosophy but erroneous in Christianity?

Not sure if that's a question or a statement. I don't think that the cogency of an argument (in the first sense of the word) in either philosophy or Christianity (or in any area for that matter) speaks to its accuracy. There are plenty of people who can present a very persuasive (cogent) argument, without appealing to our reasoning faculties at all. Many politicians are particularly good at this.

If you mean cogent in it's logical sense, that I think that we can logically come to conclusions in Christianity as we can anywhere else in our lives. These logical conclusions may not always come as a result of materially verifiable facts, sometimes the facts or historical or circumstantial; but that doesn't change the fact that we can reach logical conclusions based upon them.

How does one know who is distorting the Gospel? You check what they are saying about the incarnation, claims, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ against what the Biblical account says regarding these things. If it differs to any great degree I think it is safe to say they are distorting, or if it differs in too many details, dismissing the Biblical Gospel.

Thanks for keeping the discussion civil and for making me and others think about what they are saying.

Tony


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