Saturday, June 03, 2006

Great Quotes From a Good Friend

A good friend, Brad Thayer, of mine came across an interesting posting, slamming the Emergent Church, on a blog. He said some pretty profound things there so I thought I'd share them here for all to see. Hope you all enjoy as much as I did!

"This whole emergent - postmodern conversation is one that goes on and on. I personally don't feel that it's a bad thing. Finding new methods for sharing Jesus to a new generation is not bad. Tweaking your message so that your hearers understand more is not a bad thing. I feel that the emergent movement is trying to do just that, finding new ways to share the message of Jesus to a new generation that is hungry. "

I think this next quote is one of Brad's most profound. I loved the way he put. It was direct and to the point, yet it still makes you think.

"I don't mean to start an argument, but as you can tell this topic makes the church pretty polarized. I apologize if I sound attacking, that's not my intention. With that said, Ill continue.
I think the word tweak is bothering you. Let me explain more through a situation that Is happening to my friend.
He lives in a pretty white neighborhood in Orange County, but recently an Arabic family has moved next door to him. My friend is a former missionary so he viewed this as a chance for him to share Jesus with some people who probably don't know Him.
Now he has two options on how to go about this. The first, he walks to their door with no knowledge of their language what words offend or what words engage, has no knowledge of cultural norms meaning gestures or greetings. He has no knowledge of the way their family works or even their names. With knowing none of this he walks over and begins to share with them the Gospel using words, methods, messages, that offend them to the point that they don't even want to listen. Now I know that the gospel is offensive to some and we are to expect resistance. But look at the other way of doing this
He gets to know them. Learns their language, perhaps puts a few verses in Arabic for them to understand. He eats their foods, admires their art, learns their family and the way they tick. Having a knowledge of their culture, he then takes the Jesus to them in a way they understand. He tweaks the message without ever compromising Christ. That's what I mean by tweaking.
This culture arising here now has a new way of thinking, a new way of responding, and as I found out today at Starbucks, a new language. They are very tech savvy, they are political, some are socially aware and active. I think the PM movement in the church is to find ways to reach this new culture with the truth of the gospel. That's how I see it, that's how I live it. Its more of a mission field to me. They are changing they way they talk about Jesus without compromising Jesus, in order that the world around them understand better. Sounds a lot like 1 Corinthians 9.22.
Sure there is a cost to following Christ, any Christ follower knows this. But Answer me this what's worse? Someone who professes Christianity for the mere reason of not going to hell, fire insurance if you will, or someone who lives out the way Jesus modeled for us to live? Whose salvation is costing more? The one with fire insurance, or the one who has the lifestyle change. The question, Where will you go if you die tonight is a good one, however, what happens if you if you live? Will there be a change?
I don't recall Jesus saying turn or burn or ever asking where will you be after your dead. It seems that He was saying, if I could paraphrase, live like this, practice your faith like I do, pray this way, treat people like this. And when did Jesus ever ask people who wanted to follow him to say a prayer? Instead, look at the call to Peter, feed my sheep or Follow Me.
I don't know What do you think?"

"I don't know when or where it becomes un-Biblical to for people to adapt to different cultures. The verse you're going to say in return is Romans 12:1-2, and tell me about not being conformed and so on, however, I don't think that verse means not to adapt the message, here is why.
Paul himself adapts the message of Christ to meet the culture whom is trying to reach. Look at his discourse on Mars Hill in Acts 17. He uses items from the culture around him, primarily the Statue of The Unknown God to introduce them to Christ. He also does this in throughout the entire book of Ephesians comparing Christ to their god, Artemus. When Jesus used parables to teach He was using a popular medium of that day, story. When Ezekiel uses sketch and sculpture to show the impending doom on Jerusalem, he was using elements of the culture to influence the culture. Using the surrounding culture to show the need and convey the message of Christ is completely Biblical.
If you track the growth of Christianity throughout history you see that Christians have used elements of culture to reach culture. Be it debate, writing, music, theatre, painting, radio, television, and (thank you Mel Gibson) Movies. So when you call the methods 'unbiblical' I don't know what you mean or what you are intending. If you are planting a church in Mexico you learn to speak Spanish, an element of their culture, because they don't understand English. If you are ministering in Italy, you don't use certain hand gestures. Because what might mean 'peace-out' to us, equal a two word phrase dealing with someone's mom. "

Anyway, I just wanted to share some of his responses to his attacks on this blog because I felt he dealt with attacks very well and came back in a very nonthreatening way with VERY GOOD points.