As my frequent readers know, I support many reforms in our present-day Church.  Thus, when a professor lent me a copy of “A New Reformation” by Matthew Fox I was very interested.  Fox is an Episcopalean priest, and was a Dominican for 34 years prior to being expelled by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI).

In Chapter 1 Fox details why he believes we need a new reformation; he draws many parallels to what drove the Reformation under Luther and what he believes is driving a new reformation today.  He rightly points out that much of the modern Church is disengaged.  He also claims there is no energy or ability in our present day Church to handle these issues.

In Chapters 2 and 3 Fox says that it’s time for a divorce.  A divorce with whom, you might ask?  The fundamentalists:  Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Ann Coulter, etc…  Fox creates an overly-simplistic view of things where you have the raging fundamentalists dominating America on one side, and the righteous and moral “creation spirituality” people like Fox on the other side.  Fox presents no middle-road (as in the theologically conservative but socially engaged position we’ve often presented on this blog).  Fox presents just two versions of Christianity, showing he is very out of touch with present day movements.

Granted, the Church needs to distance itself from political allegiances.  We do need to get away from being a museum Church where people are more interested in taking pictures of the door at Wittenburg then they are about making history.  However, promoting ecological and social justice is possible in today’s Evangelical movements without abandoning essential doctrines.

As grand as a sustainable earth is, we can’t abandon truth for the sake of popularity.  As the Christian Church we must affirm that Jesus is the Way, Truth, and Life and that no man comes to the Father but by Him (John 14:6).  Fox, however, asserts that no one way is “the path to the Source” (Pg 22).  If Jesus is not the path, the only path, then His death was meaningless, His resurrection pointless, and our faith in vain.  Fox wants to avoid being “irrelevant” but in doing so makes such compromises as to cause Jesus to be a nice but fairly inconsequential figure.  If Jesus is not the Son of God and the only means by which we are saved then the Christian Church must admit it’s complete irrelevance or convert to a Rotary Club.

Fox goes on to criticize morally bankrupt leaders in today’s Church, especially Pope John Paul II and former Cardinal Ratzinger for their lack of courage in dealing with pedophiles in the Church.  Certainly that is a very serious issue, but can we say Fox is morally courageous when he is willing to pander on the issue of homosexuality?

There are many just criticisms Fox brings out, among which stands the focus on control in today’s Church.  As I have said before, we have Rulers of the Synagogue; far cries from the servant leadership of Christ.  We can’t plead “obedience” or “loyalty” to the point we’ll make moral compromises.

Finally, Fox presents his new “95 Theses”; which are over-all thoroughly unimpressive and completely unworthy of note aside from heresies like denial of original sin, Christian particularism, the Biblical stance on homosexuality, Jesus as the Messiah etc…

Overall Fox simply presents a theologically liberal agenda and demonstrates complete ignorance of current trends among young people, especially young Evangelicals.  He seems to simply ignore the fact that people like Mark Batterson, Craig Groeschel, Matt Chandler, and others are doing Church in a new way without compromising the way he does.

The fact is there is energy in the Evangelical movement today, and while there’s certainly room for change, the things Fox proposes are either so inconsequential as to be unworthy of note (e.g. -dancing and using new instruments in worship) or so unBiblical they can’t possibly be accomodated by any morally courageous Christian.

We don’t need to find new ways of reaching God, we need to actually try God’s way as presented in the Bible.  No amount of passionate progressive spew will rival a dedicated and truly Biblical Church.  Though we certainly need a new conception of what it means to be a Biblical Church, and that is why this blog is here.

God bless!

Josiah

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