October 02, 2006

The Long Road Home

And the journey is complete....

After flying back into Springfield, the Backes family had 14 hours to drive back to Spartanburg before calling it an evening. We rented a Toyota Sienna for the trip and was it ever worth the investment. I'm not much of a mini-van guy, but after this trip, I think a purchase is in our near future. What's interesting is the amazing things you see along the way in a 700+ mile journey.

For instance, if you're ever in Sikeston, MO you have to stop here. But the prize for the most interesting place along the journey (at least this time) has to belong to Ballard, KY. It was the town where I saw this:

I saw about four more signs similar in cleverness to this one in about a one mile stretch. If you'd like to read someone's take on these signs, you need to go here!

I've received some emails today asking about my post from yesterday. More specifically, why one of the things I took away from the conference was that the emergent church is missing the point. To expound a little about that, below is a portion of what Mark Driscoll shared on Saturday afternoon regarding missiology in the post-modern church:

Jude 3 tells us to contend for the faith. This is an absolute assault on post-modernism, for there are not multiple faiths or truths. Reformed folk are good at contending and here are some issues that most be contended for:

  1. Scripture is truthful, authoritative, meta-narrative. Pastors then need to give their people the story of the Bible and need to begin where the Bible begins.
    Smaller stories always need to be plugged into the bigger story. It is easy to
    give systematic theology without also continually tell people the story of the
  2. The sovereignty of God must be defended against open theism.
  3. We must contend for a God who has authority and absolute sovereignty.
  4. We must contend for the virgin birth of Jesus Christ. "Don't mess with Jesus' mother. I doubt he'd take it kindly."
  5. We must contend against pelagianism.
  6. We must contend for penal substitutionary atonement. There is debate about this, but there shouldn't be because this is the best part of the Book! This doctrine tells us that we are saved from God - from his anger and justice and wrath. "If we lose the exclusivity of Jesus, we lose Jesus."
  7. We must contend for gender distinctions.
  8. We must contend for the exclusivity of Christ.
  9. We must also defend the doctrine of hell. "People don't like hell! They're not supposed to!" That's the whole point! But to deny hell is unconscionable. Everyone believes in hell and we see this in advertising where advertisers tell you who you are, what you will become, and how they can save you from this hell. Everyone is running around trying to get out of their personal hell. Everyone is talking about hell except the church! We must contend for the importance of kingdom over culture. It is more important than culture. "We are seeing an over-realized eschatology." This is an old problem. Emergent, emerging, incarnational Christians are Corinthians and have fallen into the same problems.

So what does all that mean in light of what I took away from the conference. I guess the words that come to mind are compromise and fear. We fear that if we share the Jesus of the Bible, that it may offend someone and keep them from the Kingdom of God. I think the opposite is true. I think the Jesus of the Bible is a glorious, majestic, powerful, jealous King who becomes more and more sweet to us as we discover him in all his facets in the Bible. Emergents don't necessarily deny some of the core doctrines of grace, they just don't share them which I think is worse than telling a lie.

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