Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Fads Are Not the Church's Business

Here are two good examples of why pastors should remain in their calling as pastors. Although I did not read the entire encyclical from Pope Benedict XVI, I didn't see much of a difference between his views and Rick Warren's views based upon this recent USA Today article.

Warren is quoted as saying,
... people of goodwill, whether they happened to believe, as I do, that Jesus Christ is the son of God, or not, to work together on the areas where we can work together, and not worry about the areas where we can't.
The Pope's encyclical states in the first paragraph,
All people feel the interior impulse to love authentically: love and truth never abandon them completely, because these are the vocation planted by God in the heart and mind of every human person. The search for love and truth is purified and liberated by Jesus Christ from the impoverishment that our humanity brings to it, and he reveals to us in all its fullness the initiative of love and the plan for true life that God has prepared for us. In Christ, charity in truth becomes the Face of his Person, a vocation for us to love our brothers and sisters in the truth of his plan. Indeed, he himself is the Truth (cf. Jn 14:6).
Now the problem with the above quotes is that in some sense they are true. Christians should work with their neighbors for the betterment of society. Although the Gospel may impact and motivate a Christian in his duty towards the public good, that is not the Gospel, and it certainly is not the duty of pastors to try to work with "others" as pastors.

The duty of the pastor is to proclaim the message of the foolishness of the cross to dying men. When men like Warren go down this road, they have simply gone back to old fashioned Liberalism. When you present a "social gospel" as the Gospel, you will eventually abandon the Gospel. Although the fad seems to have passed, do you remember Warren going green?

If you read this article, it demonstrates all the more reasons why denominations should be very cautious about getting political. Even the SBC has gone way beyond common sense. As the article states,
Only two years ago, Southern Baptists passed a resolution urging the government to "reject mandated reductions in greenhouse gas emissions," and to "proceed cautiously in the human-induced global warming debate in light of conflicting scientific research."
Church leaders should be careful about getting involved with political fads. Quite often they find themselves on the wrong end of things.

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