August 1, 2008

Love Worth Finding - A Convergent Gospel

Modern Gospel, Watered Down Gospel, Another Gospel and Social Gospel are a few of the gospel messages we hear today. I've chosen the term Convergent Gospel. The modern Gospel has evolved syncretically in the same way the terms "New Age" and "Postmodernism" have evolved. A reconciliation emerges when a thesis moves toward its opposite, called antithesis. These reconciliations take place all the time in life. Karl Marx's system of Dialectical Materialism, "Communism" is a modern social reconciliation. ("Ideas of the great Philosophers", William and Mabel Sahakian, Barnes and Nobel, p. 1966 p.140)

In Acts 15 we observe two attempts at reconciliation. First the antithesis of circumcision arose as a condition for gentile conversion. However it did not withstand the arguments presented by Peter, Paul and Barnabas and the whole assembly was silenced concerning the issue. However James offered an acceptable reconciliation that imposed lesser conditions upon the gentile gospel message. The conditions were abstinence from meat strangled and offered to idols and sexual immorality. This was a reconciliation to preserve the Jewish presence in all the cities with Synagogues in all the world.

However these conditions were not held except for sexual immorality. Quite often this reconciliation was a problem for the spread of the gospel. Paul wrote his letter to the Romans and Galatians to reinforce the view of salvation through faith alone without conditions imposed by Jews.

The reformation period clarified the issue of faith when the antithesis of free will arose from inadequate views of sinfulness. There have been theological swings and swifts as reconciliations were fought and new expressions emerge.

The SBC Baptist Faith and Mission reflect a modern shift of reconciliation from older creeds to more modern "creedless" views. There was a subtle shift from "Whole Gospel" in the 1925 IV. Salvation statement to the 1963 to the "whole man" in the IV. Salvation revision. This represents a swift from God's redemption to the free offer toward the "whole man." In order to address "certain needs of our own generation" revisions were necessary. When "pervasive anti-supernaturalism" arose the SBC introduced the 1925 BF&M. When the "assaults upon the authority and truthfulness of the Bible" the 1963 version was developed. When family values were threatened an article was added in 1998. In the 2000 BF&M the vague "certain needs" without clarification were met.

Adrian Rogers, a key component of this modern resurgent shift, successfully built a national media ministry called, "Love Worth Finding" in 1987, coincidentally with the Harmonic Convergence with the theme song, "Love Will Find A Way." These convergences come through rational systems. "The real is rational and the rational is real." The love worth finding and the love that finds a way is found through a rational system called the Coherence Theory of Truth.
"Men do not need to sense reality, nor do they in fact sense it; they understand it, reason it out, infer it, figure its nature out logically." -Sahakiam, p.1451

The pervasive anti-supernaturalism at the turn of the century successfully synthesized with the gospel thesis of old and another gospel emerged, adopted by the Southern Baptist as well as American fundamentalism and Adrian Rogers took it hook line and sinker! Perhaps this explains his strong anti-Calvinism.

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