Thursday, June 30, 2005

Discernment at Solomon's Porch

so i'm concerned with seeing the enneagram on Pagitt's blog. Previously I had concern when I read about Solomon's Porch that "Monday night means yoga class, not board meetings. For worshipers at Solomon's Porch in Minneapolis, it's part of their passion for a new kind of spiritual formation." CT.
I am discerning a lack of discernment at Pagitt's church, because Pagitt isn't discerning. Hold off on flaming me though. I spent my 20's in a movement that lacked discernment also, The Vineyard. There was much I was blessed by in the Vineyard. It was used by God to scratch those itches that my Plymouth Bretheren upbringing didn't. (FWIW, Brian Mclaren comes from the PB). I never left the Vineyard though, instead our affiliation changed to Calvary Chapel. This wasn't a huge leap, as the Vineyard sprung from CC. And my pastor came from CC. So we were a Vineyard with alot of Bible teaching time and we became a CC with alot of worship time.
Winds of doctrine blew through the Vineyard. We parted ways around the time of the Toronto Blessing. But despite all this, people were saved, disciples were made, and mistakes were made. My hope is that Doug Pagitt and other ECers will learn from the Vineyard that discernment is valuable. I hope that being culturally accessible by incorporating Hindu worship, yoga, and Sufi mysticism, enneagram, will submit to being a called out people who are not of the world though in it. Syncretism so handicaps the church.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Enneagram - Why is this popular?

from Watchman Fellowship
"The Enneagram is an occult oriented chart or diagram with many
points and lines inside and touching a circle. The chart purports to
describe nine different personality types, and therefore, nine approaches to
the perception and response to reality...And the most important myth is that it can be adapted to fit
Christianity. Catholic charismatic lecturer Dorothy Ranaghan has written a
well-researched booklet, A Closer Look at the Enneagram, and asks the
important question, "If the enneagram is unscientific, esoteric, taken from
a contemporary sycretsit version of Islamic mysticism and tainted with the
occult, how is it that many Christians have bought into the system so
wholeheartedly?" (p. 37)"

It's big in Catholic circles. From Saint Mike's"Out of nowhere, the enneagram burst onto the Christian scene and became very popular with publishers and retreat houses. The enneagram is a circular diagram on which personality types numbered one through nine are symbolically represented at nine equidistant points on the circumference. The numbers are then connected by arrows in significant pat which point the way to health (integration) or to neurosis (disintegration). Each human personality is said to fall into one of these nine types." Quoted from "The New Age: A Christian Critique" by Ralph Rath

How Does the big C church feel about this?
"The Vatican recently released the document called "Jesus Christ, the Bearer of the Water of Life: A Christian Reflection on the New Age." It specifically identifies the following as New Age: Zen Buddhism, Hinduism, Yoga, Enneagram, Wicca, the Higher Self, the True Self, ALC's, the "god within," and TM (Transcendental Meditation). Many of these beliefs or practices have made their way into retreat centers, workshops, or parish programs. Good Catholics attend these events trusting them to be good Catholic programs. However, the Vatican document states that these new age beliefs and practices cannot be accepted by those who are faithful to Christ and his Church. The document also named some of the writers who had the most influence on New Agers. They were Carl Jung, Teilhard de Chardin, and Thomas Merton." From Catholic Culture

What is its history?
"First, the Enneagram is derived from a groups called the Sufis, who are a mystical offshoot of Muslims that follow various pagan spiritualities, as will be described. Two non-Catholic men, George Gurdjieff and Oscar Ichazo, were primarily responsible for bringing this system into Western culture in modern times." OLW

Finally some excellent questions by Mitch Pacwa, writing in the Christian Research Institute Journal...
"Even if one demythologizes the occultism, or assumes good will among those who are ignorant of the occultic roots, one must nonetheless demand an examination of this system by psychologists and behavioral scientists. What is the evidence that a resentful perfectionist (one) should seek the virtue of the happy-go-lucky planner (seven)? Why should the vengeful, power-hungry person (eight) become a helper (two) rather than seek other virtues? Besides faith in the antiquity of the system, which it does not possess, how can anyone know the best virtues to pursue for any individual type? No research has been done in this regard, yet enneagram experts suggest specific spiritual goals based on this system to their students in parishes and retreat houses. The lack of scientific study should set off alarms for anyone interested in this approach to spiritual growth...Besides these scientific and psychological problems with the enneagram, Christians have many theological difficulties with it. The frequent use of such occult practices as divination and spiritism in Gurdjieff and Ichazo immediately throws up a red flag. In Deuteronomy 18:9-15 and many other Scripture passages, God our Lord forbids such pursuits. Most of the "experts" I know, however, avoid the occult or know nothing about its presence in the enneagram's background. Despite this avoidance or ignorance, theological problems appear in enneagram workshops across the country."

What does Mitch Pacwa know?
"I was one of the first teachers of the Enneagram in this country," he reports, "and I learned it in Chicago from Father Bob Ochs. I taught it to Father Richard Rohr in his kitchen! Now he is an Enneagram expert with books and tapes, hopping across the country giving workshops."

Why am i writing about this?
Stay tuned.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Jesus Creed: Jesus and the First Spiritual Law

Jesus Creed: Jesus and the First Spiritual Law I've just started reading through McKnight's reflections on the 4 Spiritual Laws. I will have comments on this series, but I also wanted to point out Gerald's comments, most of the way down, on Salvation and Perseverance in Augustine's thought. I can't comment yet on Gerald's blog but I think I was saying similar things in my First Shovelful.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Theologizing Away Discomfort

Theologizing Away Discomfort, by David Brickner is a worthwhile observation on some trends in the emergent church, e.g.

At the heart of that philosophy is the notion that what we do and how we live matters more than any message we might proclaim. Claims to truth falter and fail, but a life that is "authentic" is necessary for evangelism in our postmodern society. At first blush this sounds holy and smart and kind of biblical. The problem is, it creates a false dichotomy between words and deeds, as though we need to choose one over the other to be effective. This is certainly not biblical.

Rwandan genocide

Rwandan genocide - Wikipedia I watched Hotel Rwanda last night. And so just as Rwanda burned as Clinton fiddled, how many have to die in Darfur under Bush's watch?

additional thimbleful

I don't think closing the deal is wrong or bad. Peter closes the deal in Acts 2, Philip does in Acts 8, in Acts 17:4 "some Jews were persuaded," and Jesus himself closed the deal with the blind man in John 9.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

First shovelful

My friend Geoff comments on a previous post...
I like this conversation. Here's my question: were we saved 2,000 years ago when Christ was crucified ala "I have been crucified with Christ," and what we call being saved is more like waking up to reality? Or is it something that is imparted to us when we believe? Maybe the distinction isn't all that important, but I think it affects how I "do evangelism." I am resistant to the notion that salvation occurs with confession because I've seen it lead to pressure tactics and manipulation. Closing the deal. Getting people to say "the magic sentence" and all that. But that doesn't mean that confession is not not critical. I'm just not sure it's essential. Can someone be saved and not realize it. I tend to think so. Your thoughts...

My thoughts...
Let's expand the snippet...
ESV Galatians 2:16 yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified. 17 But if, in our endeavor to be justified in Christ, we too were found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? Certainly not! 18 For if I rebuild what I tore down, I prove myself to be a transgressor. 19 For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not nullify the grace of God, for if justification were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.

key points are...
belief in Jesus is necessary to be justified, death to self is part of faith, and that death is enabled by Jesus' crucifixion, and the new life is sustained by faith in Jesus. So where does confession fit in this? We need to jump over to Romans.

ESV Romans 10:8 But what does it say? "The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart" (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); 9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.

key points here are...
the word of faith is in our mouths and hearts. they go together. your mouth can lie, but that comes from a wicked heart. both elements together are invovled in salvation. but since only God knows our hearts, the mouth can only be an indication to ourselves and our community of our adoption.

Mark 8:38 38 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels."

We can only demonstrate our shame by our words and actions. So if our words before men deny Jesus, can our hearts be any different. Yes, in isolated situations. I think it is the long term behavior in view here. Fruit isn't born quickly but over time. If the fruit of shame keeps coming up then the community sees what is really going on in the heart. Jesus warns us here of the consequences. I don't believe there exists secret believers who never stand up to receive their persecution.

ESV Ephesians 1:4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.

Finally, if God chose us before the foundation of the world then for whose benefit is confession and repentance? Our confession and repentance is for His glory. Its a manifestation of his inner work. It's the miracle for the world to see. A dead person has been brought to life.

ESV Ephesians 2:1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience- 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ- by grace you have been saved- 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

He made us alive. We haven't resurrected ourselves by making our confession, but rather have proclaimed his miracle in our lives by our confession. Unfortunately, I'll be accused of being Calvinistic in my answer. I do think its in the nature of some of us to be sales people who can't help to make closing the deal part of their conversation. Perhaps more sales type people end up with an Arminian flavor. For me, though, I hate pressure sales and so I won't treat people that way. Even Jesus cautioned potential followers to count the cost (Luke 14:28).

I don't think someone can be saved and not know it. However, they can be predestined for salvation and not know it, like so many of those people miraculously healed by Jesus.
John 9:1-3 ESV John 9:1 As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 And his disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" 3 Jesus answered, "It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.
This is just what Eph 1:6 is saying. We were destined by God to be saved to his glory. Once we are saved, if we are truly saved, we glorify God, just like this blind man did in John 9, and part of glorifying God is telling the world about Him and what He did for us.
I know this just scratches the surface of soteriology, but the biggest tunnel begins with a shovelful of dirt.

Monday, June 20, 2005

more entries to come

The emergent voices have left me provoked to discuss soteriology (how we are saved) and harmatiology (our sin) and hell and stuff like that. But it is hard to write these things up real quick. I can't do it quickly. I don't want to treat God's word flippantly. I don't want to leave gaping holes in the discussion. I haven't found links to writers who say what i want to say without their distracting baggage. I think I will write some sketches of thoughts.
A commenter in my previous entry pretended to have a dialogue with me about how the Old Testament saints were saved. The truth is I don't know. I'm not sure we know morethan that Faith in God was involved. If that is all the available data, Hebrews 11, then how can I speculate beyond that. Why waste time in the mysteries? Let's spend time in the clear stuff.

Friday, June 03, 2005

My Response to "Our Response to Critics of Emergent"

emergent-us: Our Response to Critics of Emergent This is showing up all over the place in blogdom. I wanted to comment before iget contaminated with others' comments. a couple things provoked immediate responses in me.
"If few in the academy come to our defense in the coming years, then we will have more reason to believe we are mistaken in our thinking and that our critics are correct in their unchallenged analyses." Why does the academy become the final judge of the EC? The academy will have as much cacaphony as the rest of us unlettered bloggers do. So if there is not a united "Nay" from the academy that means the EC was right?
"yes, we believe that Jesus is the crucified and risen Savior of the cosmos and no one comes to the Father except through Jesus"
Here come the strawmen...This is nice but the issue that divides is whether the confession of Christ as Savior is necessary. In order to make their stand they might as well lay it out that confession isn't necessary in some EC soteriology.
"we do not pit reason against experience but seek to use all our God-given faculties to love and serve God and our neighbor"
here comes the strawmen again...the issue is how are these related. does experience keep reason in check or vice versa or are they equal?
"we value dialogue very highly, and we are convinced that open and generous dialogue – rather than chilling criticism and censorship – offers the greatest hope for the future of the church in the world"
now critics are headed off at the pass. if i sound mean or ungenerous, are my ideas invalidated? go read the major prophets and see if you can bear God's forthrightness.
i had no intention of getting on a roll...
"We regret that some of our critics have made hasty generalizations and drawn erroneous conclusions based on limited and selective data"
In other words, if you only had a little more data you'd lay off of us. It's the N.T. Wright defense. If you stick your nose far enough into the manure you'll smell the flowers. I'm sorry that wasn't generous. But then saying "critic passes will not be issued to anyone who hasn't had their card punched enough," is no different than saying "critic passes will never be issued, because there is no one smart enough to disagree with us."
MY last word and the word after that...
"we have repeatedly affirmed, contrary to what some have said, that there is no single theologian or spokesperson for the emergent conversation."
This is nice but if the hydra never turns on itself, why bother with it's individual heads? Where are the posts on Andrew"s blog that disagree with Mclaren or Pagitt? Why not defend Jesus first then your emergent buddies? I'm open to links...