Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Dont look now - ignore the obvious

Imagine for a moment, the following conversations between a father and his 10 year old son:

Son: Dad, I think I'm going to go out and kill some people today.
Dad: Son, you can't do that!
Son: but, why not?
Son: Dad, I'm going to start worshipping my shoes, instead of God
Dad: Son, you cannot do that!
Son: but Dad, why not?
Son: Dad, I've decided that when I grow up and get married, I'm going to have a few girlfriends too, along with my wife.
Dad: Son, you can't do that.
Son: but Dad, I want to, so why can't I?

If these hypothetical conversations between father and son sound outrageous to you, then good, I've got your attention.
Now imagine one more:

Son: Dad, I'm going to become a pastor, and cuss & swear as much as I want, even in public.
Dad: dear Son, you can't do that.
Son: oh come on Dad, why not!?

Does it still sound far-fetched to you? If it does, you haven't been paying attention to what's passing for evangelicism in 2007.

I really can't say for sure how it happened, but somehow in the last few years we came to a place in Christendom when overlooking and/or making excuses for obvious sinful behavior, became the norm. A place where we (older Christians) have to explain why, to younger Christians, that the most obvious of ungodly behavior is ungodly. What's worse than this, if possible, is that even when shown from the Scriptures themselves why this behavior is unpleasing to God, even more excuses and crafty dodging is performed by some of these younger Christians so that they might continue on in whatever sinful, ungodly behavior they've chosen, and feel justified in doing it. Some might say this is the most glaring fruit of Sola Scriptura being untaught in Christian churches. I can see that argument having some serious weight.

What brought this to mind for me was the recent post of pastor Ken Silva at Christian Worldview Network titled "Emergent Church Leader Tony Jones Drops the “F-Bomb” on the Bible".

You can read the article there, but what struck me personally was not that Tony Jones used this language (this is not news to me, I've been researching the ECM for over 2 years, I have received plenty of private emails from ECM leaders who routinely use this language, and worse), but it was more the ensuing feedback to his article. I mentioned to a friend before I ever even read the feedback, that I already knew what it was going to look like.

I knew, because I've been down this road before - and if you've been blogging or reading blogs longer than a few months, you've seen it too. Christian men and women who defend the practice of using profane, obscene, ungodly language - for some self-imagined connection they're making with the lost culture they're ministering in. Pragmatism: the ends justify the means (or so they assume).

The darling of this generation of cussing Christians is to bring out the "well, they cussed in the Bible, and if you really knew Greek you'd understand that!" argument. Which by the way, according to numerous, mature, well studied believers, is absolutely untrue. That opinion however doesn't carry much weight with these people who are bent on using the filthy language of the world.

Another handy-dandy rabbit trail I've seen time and time again is this one: "using culturally defined cuss words is only one way of using offensive speech, being judgemental and accusatory like YOU are is another way of being offensive in your speech - so before you accuse me - you better remove the log from your own eye".

There is no question at all that you can be offensive in your speech without ever using a cuss word at all. There is also no question at all that we all have our own weaknesses to deal with. Does that mean however, that when we see the obvious, sinful, unChristlike conduct in a brother or sister, we just slap a strip of duct tape over our mouths and get on with our day? Some might suggest slapping the duct tape over their mouths, instead.

In a world where some Christians can't even figure out that holy living means YOU and ME personally, it makes sense why then we have to explain the obvious. I'm not sure how we arrived here, but I am sure that it means that those in leadership in our churches had better start paying close attention to this phenom.

When "Christianity" doesn't look, sound, walk or talk any different than the unsaved world around us, we've erred greatly in what we've been teaching & believing.