Purity and Partisanship

Okay, here's a follow-up to my last post. (Long overdue, but I'm burning the candle at both ends this week...)

Last Sunday, our Pastor gave a message (borrowed from Jack Hanes) entitled "If I were the Devil..."

Basically, the sermon breaks down into one resounding bullet point: If we're to be effective, we have to stop thinking about being Christians and start acting like Christ.

Now, I might have some raised eyebrows out there... that's not exactly what Rev. Hilsden said in his message. And it sounds suspiciously like something an "emerging church" type of pastor might say.

But I want to insist here that, as much as we love to poke fun at conservatives and liberals, we're actually all preaching the same gospel.

Purity isn't a question of which party you belong to. It isn't a question on which church you belong to, either. Purity is an issue of action.

Let's take the example of "pure fiscal responsibility." Does that mean that the fiscal responsibility is never tainted by irresponsibility? Yes!

How about "pure innocence"? Same deal. "Pure" is simply a signification of exclusivity: whatever is in opposition to the "pure" designation is specifically excluded from the statement.

Okay, so what?

So if a person is purely emergent in their way of thinking about the church, they will be exclusively emergent. No trace of any other way of thinking will possibly enter into their actions.

Are you with me?

To the extent that one's alleigance is to a partisan ideology, one is also excluding oneself from aspect of other ideologies which might overlap under a different category.

That is... you can't be an Evangelical and a Catholic, but both are considered Christian. The trouble here is not that we have separate categories for different groups of people within a body--that's natural. The trouble is when we say "we are strictly Catholic, and the evangelicals are damned."

Or, more close to home for some: "The conventional way of thinking about the church has lead to two thousand years of shameful mistakes, and we should be quick to abandon those conventional attitudes."

Am I convinced that the Church is perfect? No, absolutely not; but I'm not convinced by the "emerging/ent/ed" attitude, either. Both approaches to Christ-centred life will be successful only insofar as they are Christ-centered.
Kingdom-centred Christianity or social activism or what-have-you is fine, but that's not what comes first. Christ comes first.
Now... what does that look like?
Well... more on that later. (This Month's sermon series: "Tough Questions, Good Answers." And Oct 26th: special guest Georges Sada...)

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