I’ve been immensely blessed to get to spend Thanksgiving with my in-laws (who live on the other side of the United States), and to have some wonderful and spiritually enriching conversations with my father-in-law as well. My father-in-law is an elder in the Christian Reformed Church of North America (the American descendants of the Christelijke Gereformeerde Kerken Nederlands) and seems to always be able to come up with thought-provoking questions to toss at me after dinner.
Last night we were talking about the liberal slide in the old mainline churches (PCUSA, ELCA, UCC, and others), when I mentioned that I have been waiting for some time for an enterprising young theologian to write a doctoral dissertation on precisely how the “liberals” managed to capture these denominations. (I have my own ideas, but I don’t have the evidence as yet to back up my theories). My father-in-law was dubious as to the helpfulness of such an endeavor, and I replied by pointing out that it would allow those denominations that haven’t been captured by the apostates to better guard against a liberal takeover.
But it was at this point that my father-in-law said something that made me sit up straighter and take notice:
“How much time, in your opinion, is the church spending fighting the last generations theological monsters instead of focusing on the monster trying to get in the house?”
That, my friends, is a prescient question! Perhaps and even better question would be to ask not only how much time are we spending fighting the last generations theological battles, but how much time are we spending fighting what amounts to imaginary monsters at best? For example, the Southern Baptist Convention has been seriously up in arms about Calvinism for the last decade; in reality, though, Calvinists aren’t going to be the boogeymen that bring down the SBC, despite what Peter Lumpkins thinks. While Lumpkins and others are busy fighting imaginary hyper-Calvinists, the SBC is being lead down the path to liberalism and apostasy by Rick Warren.
Let this be a reminder to us all: history teaches us that far too often we are busy looking the wrong direction when the battle starts. Let’s keep a weather eye on the horizon for what is going to disturb the peace and purity of Christ’s church next.