Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Worldview class: Rob Bell and the emergent church

For worldview homework this week, we studied a presentation of Rob Bell.  Although I disagree with his theology and beliefs about certain topics, I would rather address his style and approach to his preaching and videos.  I can see where his style and manner of teaching could be very appealing to some people.  He tends to lay things out in a way that is simple to understand, and applies to everyday life.  In the video that I watched, his main point was that people should work at saying no.  He pointed out that Jesus said no to the people when he moved on to a new town.  He argued that life is passing everyone by as we spend too much of our time "moving" and "doing".  I think that many people would find his method attractive- kind of a to-do list for success.  Many people might even think that watching Bell's videos would be sufficient for Church.  The danger of this is that they would miss out on all of the other needs only fulfilled by a Church body.  The individual would miss out on worship with music and scripture.  Also, if someone only watched videos by people like Rob Bell, then they would grow to believe everything that they were fed- even the things that are not true.  In the video, Bell made the statement that "Jesus cannot be everything to everyone".  This statement disturbed me.  I believe that it contradicts the Bible.  I had never heard a pastor say anything like that before.  His belief lies in the "emerging liberal" category laid out by Mark Driscoll.  Driscoll outlines 4 different sections of the emergent church (which i talked about in the last post).  These four different "lanes" are emerging evangelicals, house church evangelicals, emerging reformers, and emerging liberals.  Emerging evangelicals work to reach out in society by doing church-plants, "cool" outreach programs, and discovering the relevance of the Church.  House Church evangelicals do "little church". They work to just meet in houses and in small groups.  They focus on relationships.  Emerging Reformers focus on church planting, evangelizing with contemporary worship with charismatic tendencies.  Emerging liberals call into question many different Christian doctrines.  They question the standards set forth in the Bible, and even the validity of scripture.  I haven't looked too much into the doctrine and teaching of Rob Bell, but I would like to encourage people to be on their guard against people questioning the truth of the Bible.  As always, I pray that we may be discerning in what we choose to accept and believe.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Postmodernism and the emergent Church

This week in worldview, we are studying postmodernism and the emergent church.  I had studied the ideas of postmodernism before. I was pretty familiar with the beliefs in which people question the relevence of the Bible and the meaning of human life. Sadly, this is how a lot of people think.  They believe that there is no absolute truth upon which to measure things.  In this view, people argue that salvation is not in Christ alone, but can be obtained through the individual person. I was pretty familiar with these beliefs- as they are ones that as Christians we have to face in this world, but I had never looked into the Emergent (or emerging) Church. If you have never studied (even a little bit) of what this Church is based on, then you really should, becasue it is infact "emerging" into society and becoming more and more prevelant.  They have some ideas that are similar to postmodernism. They "gather together" and converse about what is true.  They do not believe in an absolute truth, but in something that can never be discovered.  They teach on the importance of the journey and specifically the "experience with God".  They argue that the journey is more important than the destination.  More and more, eastern mysticism and eastern orthodoxy is playing into the emergent church, which enhances the "experience with God" through meditation and other activities.  As Christians, I think that we need to be cautious about what we believe.  It is so important to know what we believe and why.  We need to study the Word of God and have such a strong relationship with Jesus, that when we are faced with decisions and questions dealing with these things we will have the full armor of God to combat them.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

"the Apologist's Evening Prayer"

"The Apologists Evening Prayer" by C.S. Lewis

From all my lame defeats and oh! much more
From all the victories that I seemed to score;
From cleverness shot forth on Thy behalf
At which, while Angels weep, the audience laugh;
From all my proofs of Thy divinity,
Thou, who wouldst give no sign, deliver me.

Thoughts are but coins.  Let me not trust, instead
Of Thee, their thin-worn image of Thy head.

From all my thoughts even from my thoughts of Thee,
O thou fair Silence, fall, and set me free.
Lord of the narrow gate and the needle's eye,
Take from me all my trumpery lest I die.

I love the second to last line in this poem. "Lord of the narrow gate and the needle's eye".  I think that these two ideas are really special, because Christ points out in these two verses the way to get into heaven.  In the New Testament, Jesus points out that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.  He also talks about how Christians should go through the narrow gate and not through the wide gate. 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Trinity Broadcasting system

This week in my worldview assignment, I was asked to research the Trinity Broadcasting Network (or TBN).  It is an organization that was established in the mid-nineteen seventies in order to reach people for Christ.  Today, TBN works through around 300 stations in the United States and broadcasts on many more around the world.

TBN hosts different famous pastors, authors, and artists.  They define their beliefs and opinions of things through their questions and answers on their show.  I watched a couple of shows of the Trinity Broadcasting Network in which they inerviewed on personal beliefs and experiences.  In both cases, the audience present expressed their emotions in clapping in general approval.  The network seemed to me to be a positive show with beneficial information.

I can't speak for the personal beliefs and standards of the network's founders and current authority (which is the Crouch family), but I do question their motives in the establishment of the organization.  TBN receives large amounts of money every year from generous donors.  Multiple reports have risen about where that money goes.  Close family members and employees have said that the Crouch family spends the money lavishly on themselves, and dishonestly hoards donated money to themselves.  These examples that have questioned the character of the Crouchs has made me doubt the sincerity for which they claim to run the organization.  Do they really do it all for the glory of God?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Book by Peter Kreeft- "Between Heaven and Hell"

In Peter Kreeft's book Between Heaven and Hell, he narrarates an after death meeting between John F. Kennedy, C.S. Lewis, and Alduous Huxley.  All of these men practiced different beliefs and had different worldviews.  All three died on the same day. 

One of the topics the book discusses betewen Kennedy and Lewis is the topic of sages.  A sage is someone who demonstrates unusual insight and wisdom, who demonstrate love, compassion and selflessness, and who are creative.  Sadly, our culture tends to criticize modern sages.   People see those who have these qualities and try to find something to chastise them on. 

Some people have a hard time believing that Jesus is God. Jesus can be either God or a bad man.  He obviously was not a bad man because he helped people and did good thing, so He has to be the Son of God.   There are four possibilities for who Jesus Christ really was.  Either he was a bad man, a good man (a sage),  and ordinary man, or God.  You obviously can't categorize Jesus into any of the other three categories, so he has to be God. 

Lewis admitted that at one point in his life, before he became a Christian, he wanted to be his own God.  He didn't like the fact that you have to give everything in your life over to the Lord, and he wanted to be in charge of it all.  Many people do the same thing.  They want to be in control of the future, life, choices and everything.  These people practice self-deception, meaning that they will go against God because they think that they want to be in charge. They will not hand the reins over to the Lord because they "think" that is what they want.  They deceive themselves by rejecting the Father, because following Him means letting Him be in charge of every aspect of their life.  Sadly, this is where our world is today.  They reject God because they want to have the power. 

Make sure that you aren't trying to hold on to the reigns that God is supposed to have.

Examine yourself... Is God in control of your life, or are you?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Worldview: A Clear View

Truth and Knowing Part 2

"The prevelent view today in academic circles at least tends to place philosophical opinions and religious beliefs on the side of taste rather than on teh side of truth.  This has not always been regnant view, nor is it necessarily the correct one."

Mortimer Adler

In the age of Enlightenment, reason was something that was based soley on the knowledge and beliefs of each individual.  Immanuel Kant greatly influenced the idea of reason being man's knowledge.  He lived from 1724 to 1804, and argued that man makes himself into the person that he is to become.  Another man who influenced this era of thinking was George W.F. Hegel. He lived from 1770-1831, and  was a german philosopher who is famous for developing a way of arriving at a truth, also known as Hegel's Dialectic.  Hegel made a huge impact on truth.  He argued that instead of truth being fixed and set, it is constantly evolving and changing.  Francis Schaeffer made the statement...

"one cannot understand modern man in philosophy, in the other disciplines, in morals, in political thought , without understanding that Hegel has won".

In this statement he meant that all of modern philosophy has been dictated by the beliefs set forth by Hegel.  In modern philosophy, people are constantly being asked what is truth?  Before Hegel, this question was not very prevelent.  People were pretty content to believe that God and the Bible were the absolute, standard truth.  After Hegel introduced his philosophy, things started to change. 

Soren Kierkegaard lived from 1813 until 1855, and proclaimed his own belief that truth is discovered through reason.  His philosophy was that truth was based upon the individual. Each person was responsible for developing his own truth.  He developed what was called the leap of faith, meaning that people should discard "rational thinking", and be "non-rational" in their beliefs.  He argued that people shouldn't always follow what makes sense.

Through each of these philosophical changes, four different views of the Bible has been established.  These include...

The Bible is ACCEPTED as the Word of God

The Bible is NOT the Word of God

The Bible BECOMES the Word of God

The Bible MAY  become the Word of God

All of these beliefs worked to challenge the thinking of people all over the world. These questions reinforced the question that had been asked over and over again... "What can we really know and by what means".  As time continued to move on, man came up with some answers...

trust in reason
put faith in science and progress
be optimistic about the type of world humans can create

Sadly, these three answers greatly define the world for a lot of people.

The whole transition of thinking during this time worked to establish the Postmodern Era, or the period in which we as humans live today, as a result of thinking and beliefs started and established years ago.  Post-modern thinkers believe that there are ways of knowing the anwers to questions like emotions and intuitions.  Post-modernism has greatly affected the education world- a world in which a lot of students believe that truth is relative, and is something to be decided by each individual person.  The same thing with morality.  Each person must decide what is right and moral, because what is moral for one person isn't for another. 

The questions
How do we know?


What can we know?

affect the way that we answer other difficult questions.  They influence the way that we think about morality, and what is right and wrong.  When we answer these questions, we can discover in a whole new way what is fair and appropriate in the world around us.

Thanks for reading!

Most of these ideas are taken from the book A Clear View, by Keith Ogorek.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Worldview- Star Trek

In my worldview class, we were asked to evaluate the impact that Star Trek has had on our culture.  The show that began as a TV series in the 1960's shaped the current minds of citizens all around the world and paved a new way of thinking for future generations.  Star Trek is ranked as one of the most culturally influential television shows of all time.  The series first aired from 1966- 1969, and since then there has been four different shows, ten movies, and countless toys, books, and other products made from it.  Many people have come forth with testimonies about its influenc on their lives, and words and phrases have been added in the dictionary based on the story.  Star Trek was the beginning of a new era in film industry , with ground-breaking effects, and new types of actors and actresses. 

The tv series was created by Gene Rodenberry.  Throughout the entire period that he was producing Star Trek, he was communicating the humanistic message; "humanity will be okay".  After the original series started and failed, the fans and other media took over its continued fame.  Conventions were held and actors spoke.  NASA named their first space shuttle orbiter the Enterprise after the space ship in Star Trek.  In 1970, Star Trek  became a motion picture, and was named the #1 tv show.  Scientists and Engineers have said that they have been greatly impacted by the tv shows, and women have stated that the shows have greatly changed their view of feminism, and given them confidence to seek out a different life for themselves. 

Culturally and socially, Star Trek has had a very humanistic worldview- promoting the idea that "humans will always be okay"

Over time, and as the show evolved into a movie, it also took on a very liberal viewpoint.