Archive for January 17th, 2008

It’s been twelve years or so since Ted Kaczynski, aka “the unibomber”, was finally caught and brought to justice. One of the quirks of the case was Kaczynski’s anonymous letters to authorities, insisting that they publish his unaltered ‘manifesto’, Industrial Society and its Future, in a reputable, public newspaper. In the interest of public safety and with the hopes that someone might recognize the writing and identify the bomber, the FBI allowed New York Times and the Washington Post to publish the document.

I remember picking up a copy of that document and trying to wade through it, to see what kind of person was behind such senseless violence. As I sifted through the manifesto, it became pretty obvious that, with its conspiracy-saturated ramblings, esoteric terminology, paranoid delusions and apocalyptic visions of doom, the author was completely off his rocker. It was hard to imagine that I’d ever see a document quite so off-kilter and swimmingly delusional, attempting to document a worldwide conspiracy.

Apparently, I was wrong.

In looking for boogeymen within the church – with conspiracy, esoterica and innuendo to tie them all together – this piece (referenced today here), with a tinfoil-hat-fairy-tale version here, seems to be wanting to give Ted a bit of competition. [Please note that this is not, in any way, to infer that the author of this piece is an anarchtic terrorist, but rather, I was making a comparison of tone, timbre, function and pathos.]  In the end analysis, the unibomber’s document likely contains more truth than the other, which is a sad commentary in itself.
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All comparisons aside, this is a rather sad document, in which the author arrogantly places huge swaths of God’s kingdom under the umbrella of Beelzabub:

So I have very good reason why I “lump” the Purpose Driven Church, the Emerging Church and the Word Faith Church together as they are pureed in Beelzebub’s blender into today’s Christianity Lite.

Sadly, this is reminiscent of an incident recorded in the Gospels:

Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.”

And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebub! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons.”

So Jesus called them and spoke to them in parables: “How can Satan drive out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come. In fact, no one can enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he can rob his house. I tell you the truth, all the sins and blasphemies of men will be forgiven them. But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin.”

He said this because they were saying, “He has an evil spirit.”

While it is commanded of us in scripture to “test” what is being taught, what this particular bit of screed does goes far beyond ‘testing’ and into the realm of slander and quite possibly blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.

That, unlike the ramblings of a mad-bomber, is a serious thing to consider…

Are there churches that use “Purpose Driven” methods which have been taken to extremes and watered down the gospel?  Certainly.  Are there churches that use PD methods in a thought-out, balanced fashion, which produce spiritual fruit? Certainly, as well.

Are there “Emergent” churches which have jettisoned scripture and embraced liberal ideology?  Certainly.  Are there ECM churches that hold scripture in high regard and are living examples of salt and light in the world?  Most certainly.

Are there “Reformed” churches which are bastions of legalism, clinging onto systems and traditions as if they were biblical doctrine, all the while being functionally dead to the world?  Certainly.  Are there “Reformed” churches where orthodoxy and orthopraxy are in good balance?  Certainly, as well.

Is there “false teaching” (i.e. teaching a different gospel, apart from grace, that is sending people to hell – here and in the afterlife) going on in the church as a whole?  Certainly.  Is it as wide-spread and ingrained as the ODM’s would like you to think?  Highly doubtful.
There are aspects of most every denomination/tradition in modern Christianity which are either on the wrong track or are being poorly executed. Some are more guilty than others – but every one of them is made up of individuals – indivduals who are our brothers and sisters in Christ. Even if we hold differences where doctrinal unity would be unwise or unteneble, relational unity is still important to hold within the church, as a whole. Attempting to toss millions of faceless Christians under the bus as products of “Beelzabub’s blender” is an unordained, fruitless, loveless exercise with a very real danger of hellfire…

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