A New 12 Step Program To Deprogram Fundamentalists

Sunday, April 4, 2010

- In his book A New Kind of Christianity, emerging church leader Brian McLaren proposes that a 12 Step program to “deprogram” Biblical fundamentalists from their old way of thinking may be needed. “Even for those of us on this quest, breaking out of centuries-old habits won’t be easy. ... No wonder those of us who want and need to change our approach may need to form twelve-step groups to deprogram our thinking” (pp. 85, 86). He uses the genteel pronouns “us” and “our,” but McLaren is doubtless thinking of die-hards who take the Bible seriously and interpret it literally and are opposed to his “new reformation” agenda toward a church that is “less rigid.”
He has targeted the children and grandchildren of fundamentalists. In other books, McLaren likens fundamentalists to Pharisees. He says, “the exclusive hell-oriented gospel is not the way forward” (A Generous Orthodoxy, p. 120, f. 48). He thinks salvation might be a process rather than an event (p. 229) and says that the practice of “accepting Jesus as their personal Savior” is not getting “the gospel right” (“The Emergent Mystique,” Christianity Today, Nov. 2004). He calls the literal, imminent return of Christ “pop-Evangelical eschatology” (A Generous Orthodoxy, p. 267). He says that we cannot “prognosticate the eternal destinies of anyone else” and that pagan religions are “not the enemy of the gospel” (pp. 92, 63). He rejects the substitutionary atonement of Christ, the infallibility of the Bible, and the eternal judgment of hell.
These are the types of “centuries-old habits” that McLaren wants Christians to break out of through psychology and group therapy, but his emerging Christianity was prophesied in Scripture 2,000 years ago, and wise men will not be deceived. “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (2 Timothy 4:3-4).
- Fundamental Baptist Information Service
Our Response From Our Pastor : The self proclaimed emergent church in our day is not a new and improved religious concept as its proponents advertise but rather it is simply a re-emergent belief that attempts to redefine the HOLY GOD of the Bible and make HIM more palatable to those who want permission to live as they please. Was not that the motive behind the molding of the golden calf in Moses day?
This Laodicean generation wants to worship GOD when they want to, how they want to, and where they want to. Though many would never admit it, they are repulsed by the commitment that grandma and grandpa's GOD required. Is it any wonder that many are drawn to those who will help them re-mold their god into one which allows a less stringent life-style. Away with a life of discipline, self denial, and devotion. The god of choice is one who endorses a life of religious convenience. Surely HE would not expect us to make personal sacrifices that could somehow be inconvenient to make.
Am I surprised by those who detest the "ole time religion" so much that they feel that a 12 step program (similar to alcoholics anonymous) may be needed to rescue the children and grandchildren from those of us who unashamedly embrace it? No, not really. Those who bow and dance before golden calves are susceptible to any form of foolishness.
What does concern me is that our generation of Christianity is so shallow, that some who
presently identify with us will no doubt be attracted to and possibly ensnared by this deceptive philosophy. Apostasy has persuaded an ever evolving church that it's not cool to be old school! The old paths are increasingly viewed as being inferior by a hip-hop crowd that has been weaned off of the bible and replaced by a me-first driven spirituality.
The contemporary mindset loves "a Jesus" who is non-judgmental, does not exercise wrath toward sin, does not send unbelievers to an eternal fiery hell, does not require repentance and the new birth, puts no obligations on people, endorses any and every kind of new bible translation, accepts worldly music, and doesn't like traditional Bible churches. It’s a live pretty much as you please type of Christianity which worldly minded people prefer and they'll follow virtually anyone who will give them that kind of god to worship. In reality, many do not want the GOD of the Bible.
The pressure that has been thrust upon us is do we redirect our course and follow the winds of change lest we lose some of the people we love, including our children and grandchildren? To simplify it even further, do we need to cater to people or do we honor the God who has saved us even if we have to suffer the consequences?
Here's my response to such questions. Though it grieves my heart to think of losing people, I'm more fearful of losing our LORD's favor and intimate presence. I remind us that as a church we are never exhorted to be successful but rather we are simply instructed to be faithful to GOD. The successful ministry can not always be measured by how many "noses" and "nickels" one can brag about counting. I say in the words of 2 Timothy 3:14, "continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them."
In Jeremiah's day, some defiantly said "we will not walk therein" referring to the old paths. But GOD said that the old paths "is the good way" and if we would walk therein "ye shall find rest for your souls". That's good enough for me. I sincerely hope its good enough for our children and grandchildren. Is it good enough for you?
Way Of Life