I enjoy looking at the website 'A Little Leaven', because it nearly always gives me some quick mindless laughs at what other people do in the name of Christianity. They show things like people selling the Jesus Sandals, Perfume of Heaven, silly board games, all of which the bloggers feel are clear heresy in the Church. But they recently posted a video that was dealing with an issue that I have a hard time wrestling with – the evangelistic value of the Emergent Church movement (Bull-whip Guy) versus the Bible thumpers who preach on street corners making sure everyone knows that they are sinners (the Bull-Horn Guy). I would appreciate anyone can provide to help me sort through who is right. The videos can be seen on 'A Little Leaven' (the link is to the side of my blog), and look for the entry on I believe Friday November 30th.)
First, let me give you a little background of this fight. The Emergent Church is viewed by most older Christians as being without foundation because they rely on personal experience of God over reading the Bible. Emergents are young, Protestant, and designed to engage other young post-modern unchurched people. Rob Bell is one of the Emergent Church leaders whose Church grew really large in a short period of time. He has written a wonderful book entitled 'The Velvet Jesus', that I enjoyed. In the video 'Bull-horn' Guy, Rob Bell is there telling the Bull-horn Guy to put his bull-horn down, and stop telling people that they are sinners because no one is listening. He doesn't like the Bull-horn Guy's method because he doesn't think it is loving, and because he is hurting other Christian movements.
Bull-Whip Guy is a video of a more conservative point of view. They point out that Jesus took out a bull-whip and overturned the temple money-changers tables. Jesus Himself was critical of those who were making money at the expense of giving God glory in His Temple in Jerusalem. And He certainly was critical of the Pharisees and other religious leaders who did not care for other people, and were only focused on their power and prestige.
I appreciate both viewpoints, but I am having a difficult time sorting out which of the two positions is more right. I understand that traditional Evangelicals feel it is the most loving thing they can do to make sure people know that they are sinners, and that they need a Savior. But the Bull-horn Guy doesn't seem that interested in the people he is speaking to, and so doesn't seem very loving to me.
But I also see problems with what the Emergent Church is doing. I love God's Word, and I have been very blessed by it, and I hate to see any group lessen its importance. And the video of the Bullwhip Guy is right – Jesus was very critical and even attacked some people and groups. But Jesus also was very engaged with the problems that the people He talked to were going through. If someone was ill, He healed them. If they were demon-possessed, He freed them. If they were hungry, He fed them. He made sure that a person's most basic needs were met first, before providing God's teaching. But the Emergent point is that we can trust the Holy Spirit to convict the world of its sin (John 16:8-11), and so do we really need street evangelists like Bullhorn Guy doing his work?
So I am not sure of what to do with all of this. If you can provide any thoughts I would appreciate it.