Friday, November 11, 2005

What You Know Still Matters.

It seems that it is becoming popular to emphasize behavior over truth these days, that how you act is more important than what you know. I can understand some of the concern here and can appreciate the emphasis on our actions. I think that we have observed through the years examples of people who merely possess head knowledge, but exhibit little behavioral change. Their knowledge has no impact on their life because it has not been embedded in their heart. Scripture warns us not to be mere hearers of the word, but to be doers of the Word.

"22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves."
(James 1:22, NKJV™)

But the admonition is not to ignore the Word of God, but simply to take action on the Word. To dichotomize truth from behavior is plainly wrongheaded and misses the point that Scripture is teaching.

Yet, influential leaders such as Rick Warren are sending the message that what you know really is not all that important. In fact, he is calling for a so-called “New Reformation” based on behavior rather than on belief, implying that the Reformation was only concerned with knowledge. But this notion is ridiculous, for any amount of study of the Reformation reveals the reformers truly had a heart for God and desired that their lives lined up with God’s truth. Are we therefore to conclude that men like Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield who stood for the doctrinal principles that were laid out during the Reformation were only concerned with head knowledge? Are we therefore to ignore the fact that their stand on Scriptural truth and the proclamation of that truth changed the hearts of men that sparked the Great Awakening? I wonder just how much of the writings of theses men Rick Warren has read. How about the multitudes of believers who have reached out to the poor and destitute, demonstrating Christ like love with the earnest desire that in the process they would share the truth of the gospel? Scripture does point out that we are to take the opportunity to take care of the needs of people. (Galatians 6:9-11)

"9)Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.
10So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith."
(Galatians 6:9-11, NASB®)

Certainly, the church needs to be reminded to reach out to the needs of others. And, unfortunately, much of the church has had a tendency to become self-serving. However, nothing in Scripture teaches us to emphasize meeting social needs above ministering the truth of the gospel. Sidelining truth for social causes is taught nowhere in the Bible. Furthermore, Scripture does not declare that the church’s primary focus is to champion social causes. Scripture emphasize the need to diligently battle for the truth.

“3 Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.”
(Jude 1:3, NKJV™)

"God has called us to enjoy and fellowship with each other and work together. We're all in this together," he said, adding Baptists can "celebrate our diversity and celebrate our unity."
“Warren: Global Baptists 'are all in this together' “
By Trennis Henderson
Biblical Recorder, July 28, 2005

“Urging Christians to pursue “a new reformation” in the 21st century, Rick Warren told delegates to the Baptist World Centenary Congress, “The first Reformation was about belief. This one needs to be about behavior.”
“We need a reformation of not creeds but deeds,” emphasized Warren, author of the best-selling book, “The Purpose Driven Church,” and one of the keynote speakers for the global meeting, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Baptist World Alliance.”

“Rick Warren challenges Baptists to launch ‘new reformation’`“
By Trennis Henderson
Associated Baptist Press, 7/31/2005

But what Rick Warren is promoting is spirituality apart from biblical truth. Of course, he would deny this, but if you examine the tenets of what he is promoting, it very subtly undermines Scriptural truth. Rick Warren is promoting a unity that is not based on biblical truth. Rather, he is downplaying the need for upholding the truth of Scripture. It is interesting that he can call the toleration of unbiblical teaching “diversity”, and has no problem unifying with those like T.D. Jakes who departs from the biblical teaching of the trinity. Warren apparently also has no problem fellowshipping with those like Tony Campolo who disregard the biblical prohibition on homosexuality amongst many other unbiblical positions.

Rick Warren also openly ridicules the Southern Baptist Convention for withdrawing from the Baptist World Alliance over the continued left ward drift into liberal theological views. Not least of which is the growing acceptance of gay marriage in the BWA.

“During a July 28 press conference, Warren addressed a question about last year's decision by the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), the largest BWA member, to withdraw membership and funding from BWA. "I think that was a mistake," he said flatly. "When the Southern Baptists pulled out funding, my wife and I wrote a check for $25,000 to BWA.
"I see absolutely zero reason in separating my fellowship from anybody," he said.
Noting he has theological differences with many of the diverse denominations that invite him to speak, Warren added, "That doesn't stop me from fellowshipping with them."
When he heard of the SBC's withdrawal, he added, "I thought, 'This is silly! Why would we separate ourselves from brothers and sisters in the world?'"”

The Biblical Recorder, July 28 2005

"Warren: Global Baptists 'are all in this together' "
By Trennis Henderson

It seems clearly apparent that to Rick Warren, doctrine really does not matter. He may talk about it and may discuss it with his congregation, but it seems to take a back seat in importance compared to the overemphasis on unity.

Certainly we should be concerned for the needs of others and the church should play an active role. This can open up opportunities to share the gospel. But the gospel and biblical truth should be of primary importance, not secondary. Just look at what happened to nearly every mainline denomination that dropped Scriptural truth for the social gospel. Each one has derailed into apostasy. And this is exactly where mainstream Evangelicalism is headed today.

Scripture is replete with passages that emphasize the need to know and meditate on God’s truth. After all, how can you act on what you do not know? A brief survey of the Christian landscape today reveals that this lack of knowledge of the Word of God is destructive. The prevailing absence of a biblical world view amongst Christians is alarming, not to mention the widespread sin and worldliness.

Often referred to in Scripture as the “law”, “precepts”, “statutes” and “ordinances”, God’s Word is to be diligently taught among His people.

6"These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart.
7You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.
8You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead.
9You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
(Deuteronomy 6:6-9, NASB®)

18"You shall therefore impress these words of mine on your heart and on your soul; and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontals on your forehead.
19"You shall teach them to your sons, talking of them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road and when you lie down and when you rise up.
(Deuteronomy 11:18-19, NASB®)

"1How blessed are those whose way is blameless, Who walk in the law of the LORD.
2How blessed are those who observe His testimonies, Who seek Him with all their heart. 3They also do no unrighteousness; They walk in His ways.
4You have ordained Your precepts, That we should keep them diligently.
5Oh that my ways may be established To keep Your statutes!"
(Psalm 119:1-5, NASB®)

Consistently, Scripture teaches that the Word of God is to be held closely to our heart. It is not something to be regarded with superficial understanding. The term “heart” as it is used in Scripture means more than in an emotional sense. Heart refers to both, mind and emotions, the center of man’s inward life that ultimately governs his rational and emotional functions. Unfortunately, much of the church today tries to dichotomize mind and emotions, but the Scripture refers to both.

Lack of guidance from God’s truth leaves the believer to follow their own devices and seek their own understanding. Vulnerability to sin prevails. The only way that a believer can purify their walk is by the Word of God.

"9Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. "
(Psalm 119:9, KJV)

"11Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee."
(Psalm 119:11, KJV)

I have more to post on this soon.

1 comment:

Chris P. said...

Actually we need to base our deeds on the creeds. This is the failure of the Church.
Faith without works is dead. However the works we do must be the ones described in Eph 2:8-10. Jesus asked in Luke 18:7-8, "when the Son of man comes will he find faith?" IOW will He find us doing the works of faith that come from the true faith that He gives to us, and accomplishes in us? (the author and finisher) The error of the "new thing" is that, reformation means new methods. Methods come and go with the times, but always must square with the Scripture. The Word of our Lord stands forever. Saving faith is revealed in repentance from dead works, and the performing of His work.
Rick Warren is a spiritual ignoramus.

Good post.