Which is more important: social justice or eternity? I think Jesus makes that perfectly clear in the gospels: Matthew 6:19-21 - "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
Dan Kimball and Brian McLaren, both leaders of the emerging church movement, both had some thoughts to say about these two subjects: life on earth and eternal life. They both spoke at a conference earlier in April at Willow Creek in Illinois. My quotes are coming from three articles published in the Baptist Press today (4/18/08). I actually agree with Brian McLaren some and agree with Dan Kimball definitely more than Brian. But, some of McLaren's thoughts are absotively against Scripture. Here we go:
"The emphasis Christians place on the traditional Christian doctrines of hell and the second coming of Jesus inhibits believers from living effective lives of services in this world" - BM. This can be contradicted by Matthew 5.14-16.
"The problem isn't the Bible. The problem is modern rings that we put around the Bible. And what we need to do - some of us in our thinking - is to find the courage to snip the ring so that our faith can really have a future." - BM. So, if we believe in the traditional thoughts (Bible is God's infallible Word) - then we need to usurp that authority and step out of the "modern ring" and become God - basically. (hint: sarcasm)
"The doctrine of hell need radical rethinking. People who believe in hell may be inclined to dominate and take advantage of people, rather than help them." - BM. Is he trying to bring up the crusades or the radicals who take the Bible out of context?
"Jesus will return at a future date and forcefully conquer all His enemies also needs rethinking." - BM. Se Matthew 24, 1 Thess 5, and most of Revelation (and other passages in the NT). What exactly does BM mean when he says "rethink"?
I chuckled at this one (again, sarcasm): "The book of Revelation does not actually teach that there will be a new heaven and a new earth, but that a new way of living is possible within the universe if humans will follow Jesus' example." - BM. Its all in how good we are - yeah, that's Biblical. Eph 2.8-10, Rev 20
Here is where I actually agree with McLaren: "humans have turned the quest for prosperity into a religion; repent doesn't mean just feel guilty...it means you realize that your entire way of seeing things is misguided and wrong; a life of care for others...is ultimately more fulfilling than a life of seeking wealth and security..."
Dan Kimball had this to say at the same conference: "Christians must never focus on conditions in this world so much that they fail to tell people about the eternal life available through Christ." - GO DAN!
An SBCer had this comment: "When McLaren questions the existence of hell and the hope of the second coming - he is a not a 'new kind of Christian'. Such things are neither new nor Christian."
This is what is being taught to some of the youth in our churches. And we wonder what the future of our local churches will be like in a few decades?