Of all the seven churches Jesus spoke of in the Book of Revelation, the Laodicean Church has the distinction of being labeled the "lukewarm" church. While today's Church often boasts of doing great things, overall we are lukewarm as a Body of Christ. This spiritual condition is alarming, but there doesn't seem to be any slowing down of the drip and the leakage. Wendy Wippel over at The Omega Letter sums it up pretty accurately:
Scripture is clear. As we approach the latter days, the church will head down a slippery slope to apostasy. "They will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables" (2 Timothy 4:3-4 NKJV)
Teachers. (plural). Fables. (plural) Taught as truth.
"For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, … Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears." (Acts 20:29-31)
We've have been warned. Is anyone else paying attention? The fables are flying at me so fast it's making my head spin.
Green Faith, who proudly claims to unite all faiths in caring for creation.
The Message, by Eugene Peterson, that replaces homosexuality with not being eco-friendly. (1 Cor 6:9)
(Anytime I see a version of the Bible that says "by human being" on the cover, I'm thinking that's a problem. But apparently that's just me. )
Brian McLaren, foremost figure in the emerging church, denying the cross: "The church has been preoccupied with the question, "What happens to your soul after you die?" As if the reason for Jesus coming can be summed up in, "Jesus is trying to help get more souls into heaven, as opposed to hell, after they die." ... I don't think that the entire message ... can be boiled down to that bottom line."
Funny. My Bible says that Jesus came for one hour-- the crucifixion. (John 12:27).
My Bible says, "This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners" (1 Timothy 1:15)
Dallas Willard denying that Jesus is the only way to God: "It is possible for someone who does not know Jesus to be saved."
David Fleming: "For too long the only conversation many people have had with those of different faiths is about conversion. We really must get beyond this… Seekers enter relationship with others, not to convert them but to travel the road together as friends and seekers of the Mystery."
"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations." (Matthew 28:19) Wasn't that what Jesus said?
Rob Bell declaring that the Bible was the work of human hands and that God could have done better. Tony Jones calling the Bible, "a f*ing scary book".
Anyone who really studies it knows better.
Here's a fable for you: Alan Jones, of the Episcopal Cathedral of San Francisco, gives us this rewrite of biblical creation (which he identifies as fable):
"In the beginning, before there were any beginnings and endings, there was no place that was not already God! And we call this unimaginable openness, "Ain Soph" - Being-without end. Then came the urge to give life to our world and to us. But there was no place that was not already God. So "Ain Soph" breathed in to make room, like a father steps back so his child will walk to him. Into the emptiness "Ain Soph" set vessels and began to fill them with divine light, as a mother places bowls in which to pour her delicious soup. As the light poured forth, a perfect world was being created! Think of it! A world without greed and cruelty and violence! But then, something happened. The bowls shattered. No one knows why. Perhaps the bowls were too frail? Perhaps the light too intense? Perhaps "Ain Soph" was learning. After all, no one makes perfect the first time. And with the shattering of the bowls, divine sparks flew everywhere! Some rushing back to "Ain Soph," some falling, falling, trapped in the broken shards to become our world, and us.Though this is hard to believe, the perfect world is all around us, but broken into jagged pieces, like a puzzle thrown to the floor, the picture lost, each piece without meaning, until someone puts them back together again. We are that someone. There is no one else. We are the ones who can find the broken pieces, remember how they fit together and rejoin them. This is the repairing of the world -- the mending of creation. In every moment, with every act, we can heal our world and us. We are all holy sparks dulled by separation. But when we meet, and talk and eat and make love, when we work and play and disagree with holiness in our eyes, seeing "Ain Soph" everywhere, then our brokenness will end, and our bowls will be strong enough to hold the light, and our light will be gentle enough to fill the bowls. As we repair the world together, we will learn that there is no place that is not God!"
What does that even mean? (Can you say vertigo? )
The poster child, however, for modern apostasy is Bishop Spong, of the Newark Episcopal Church.
Spong, at the Episcopal convention of 1998, said,
“So the mythical religious language of a finished creation, the fall, original sin and the need for a rescuing God becomes language out of touch with our present perception of reality."
Translation: truth revealed in Scripture is now obsolete. He goes on:
"The loss of this mythical framework has also rendered meaningless the normative portrait of Jesus as the divine rescuer, and the story of the cross as the sacrifice designed to pay the price of sin. Those concepts are rapidly becoming all but nonsensical.”
Translation: We don't need the Bible anymore. We've got science.
Spong calls for a new reformation with his "12 Theses". (Simplified from the 95 theses, no doubt, for the simpler postmodern mind.)
- Theism, as a way of defining God, is dead. So most theological God-talk is today meaningless. A new way to speak of God must be found.
- Since God can no longer be conceived in theistic terms, it becomes nonsensical to seek to understand Jesus as the incarnation of the theistic deity. So the Christology of the ages is bankrupt.
- The Biblical story of the perfect and finished creation from which human beings fell into sin is pre-Darwinian mythology and post-Darwinian nonsense.
- The virgin birth, understood as literal biology, makes Christ's divinity, as traditionally understood, impossible.
- The miracle stories of the New Testament can no longer be interpreted in a post-Newtonian world as supernatural events performed by an incarnate deity.
- The view of the cross as the sacrifice for the sins of the world is a barbarian idea based on primitive concepts of God and must be dismissed.
- Resurrection is an action of God. Jesus was raised into the meaning of God. It therefore cannot be a physical resuscitation occurring inside human history.
- The story of the Ascension assumed a three-tiered universe and is therefore not capable of being translated into the concepts of a post-Copernican space age.
- There is no external, objective, revealed standard written in scripture or on tablets of stone that will govern our ethical behavior for all time.
- Prayer cannot be a request made to a theistic deity to act in human history in a particular way.
- The hope for life after death must be separated forever from the behavior control mentality of reward and punishment. The Church must abandon, therefore, its reliance on guilt as a motivator of behavior.
- All human beings bear God's image and must be respected for what each person is. No external description of one's being, whether based on race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation, can be used as the basis for either rejection or discrimination.
Spong says, "our only hope is to journey past that definition of a God who is external, supernatural, and invasive, which previously defined our belief." Journeying to a God, apparently, who is internal, completely natural, and doesn't make demands.
Translation: you and me.
Peter told us that because of these men, "the way of truth will be blasphemed." (2 Peter 2:1-2)
We're seeing the fulfillment of that prophecy now, in all its heinous technicolor detail.
"But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. They said to you, "In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires." … men who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit." (Jude 17-19)
No Spirit. That's why Jesus is outside the church of Laodicea. Knocking.
And the morning after the Rapture, that church is going to be open for business as usual.
"For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? Now “If the righteous one is scarcely saved, where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?” (1 Peter 4:17-18)
Personally, I think we spend way too much time worrying about whether or not our gay friends are getting married. Jesus looked at them and all of the rest of the clueless generations of humanity with compassion, because they were "weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd." They know not what they do. Yes, they have rejected God's truth, but all we, like sheep, have chosen our own ways as well. They are sick, just as we were. Our job is not to try to cure their illness. We can't cure ours.
Our job is simply to give them the name of a good doctor. Jesus.