Friday, December 18, 2009

Neither Syncretistic Nor Irrelevant

Steering clear of the errors of the Emerging and Megachurch movements, there is a better way—the true way—i.e., the historic, apostolic, Christocentric, and confessionally Reformed way.

"So, first of all, what I say is important for the deep church. When we look to form our church, we're looking at three things: we're biblical; we want to connect with the culture—being contextual and being all things to all men in order to reach them, which is important; and we have this great tradition. Obviously, Scripture is the most important, but the other two are also critical for understanding how we as the church can be connected into the twenty-first century. I think that gets us to what Newbigin says: the problem with most churches is that we're either syncretistic and we look exactly like the culture, or we're completely irrelevant and we don't connect with the culture. I think when we have Bible tradition and a desire to be missional in the culture, we're neither syncretistic nor irrelevant. We're actually extremely relevant, but distinct at the same time. We're really what Hauerwas wanted, which was a resident alien. We're both alien to the culture, but we're also residents in the culture."

- Jim Belcher (author of 'Deep Church' and pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Newport Beach, California), excerpted from an interview with Michael Horton, Modern Reformation, Vol. 18, Number 7, November/December 2009, p. 47.



    "Therefore the LORD himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel." (Isaiah 7:14)

    "But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting." (Micah 5:2)

    "She shall bring forth a son, and thou shall call His name Jesus; for He shall save His people from their sins."(Matthew 1:21)

    "Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name." (Philippians 2:9)

    "All kings shall pay Him homage, all nations shall serve Him." (Psalm 72:11)

  2. The bad news:

    Islamic mosque built at 9/11 Ground Zero

    There have been more than 14,000 distinctly jihadi attacks since 9/11 around the world. This works out to 4.7 attacks, on average, per day.

    While the theology has been set in place for centuries, relatively recent oil wealth has allowed for the exporting of jihad on a massive scale by countries like Saudi Arabia, home of 15 out of 19 of the 9/11 hijackers (as well as being the country where Mecca is located).

    The U.S. pays for jihad against the U.S. at the gas pump every day. And who gets the money? The Saudis. Right now, the Saudis are pretending to be the friends of the U.S., and have a business relationship. However, they have been the chief financiers of the global jihad that is taking place around the world.

    Some have said that Osama bin Laden and terrorists and militants have hijacked Islam. However, those terrorists and militants were indeed Muslims. They were informed and motivated by their interpretation and belief of Islam. And to deny that is to deny the responsibility among the teachers of Islam today, which still teach jihad.

    Ibn Ishaq (died 767 AD) was Muhammad's first biographer, an 8th century Muslim writer, who explained that the Qur'an actually has 3 stages of development in its teachings on jihad and unbelievers. The first stage is tolerance, which was the prevailing understanding of the relationship between Muslims and nonbelievers during the period when Muhammad was in Mecca, and the Muslims were merely a small band that did not have a whole lot of power, and were facing a much larger and more formidable enemy. Ibn Ishaq taught that it is a progression, so that the later stages cancel out the earlier, and 'offensive' jihad (in other words, not a spiritual struggle within yourself, but jihad against non-Muslims) is the Quran's word for all time that must be followed, whereas tolerance was only for a limited period. This is the unanimous teaching of the schools of jurisprudence and all the orthodox sects of Islam to this day---that offensive jihad is the highest level of jihad, and the one that is applicable for all time. The desire to bring the entire world into subjection under Allah is where the concept of jihad enters the picture.

    Jihadist Muslims believe the whole world should submit to Islam, so, when they come to the U.S., they want to see Shari'a law being implemented. The goal of jihadists, whether they will admit it or not, is to Islamicize America. Strictly speaking, Islam has been on the march since its inception. In the Qur'an, and in the teachings of Muhammad, and in Islamic tradition, theology and law, there are mandates commanding Muslims to wage war against unbelievers. This is the reason there has been all these jihadi attacks against civilians only.

  3. The only answer to Islam and what's happening around the world is the gospel of Jesus Christ. There is no other solution. The more Muslims that come to Christ, the less Muslims there are for the terrorists to recruit.

    And as much as we hear about the progress of radical Islam on the march, there is another story to be told: Muslims coming to faith in Jesus Christ. This is happening in the millions.


    Muslims coming to Christ in the thousands

    TURKS leave islam for the Truth of Christ

    Thousands of Muslims Converting to Christianity (Iraq)


    6 Million Muslims convert to Christianity - Al-Jazeerah ! (in Arabic w/English subtitles)

    6 Million Muslims

    Christianity Growing In the Muslim World (Jordan River)

  4. I wonder if you've listened to the White Horse Inn episode on Islam entitled, "Christianity Confronts Islam", Jeff.

    Very good stuff.


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