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Truth Demands More Than Just “A Place at the Table”

by James Gibson


The most frustrating thing about the leaders of the various mainline renewal movements is that they suffer from a condition which we will call “agonolatry.” Agonolatry involves making an idol of the perpetual agony in which mainline churches find themselves because of their inability to accept the truth. Traditionalists have allowed revisionists to frame the debate in such a way that anything which might be perceived as "exclusivist" or "intolerant" is taken off the table. Hence, to undergird a sound biblical argument with "Thus says the Lord" is off limits because such a definitive statement "shuts off the debate." Traditionalists have compromised themselves because, in their attempt to sound charitable and gracious, they have lowered the bar from defending the historic Faith to merely having "a place at the table" among the "diversity" of "faith traditions" within the "big tent" of mainline Protestantism.

The problem for traditionalists, however, is not that they have let revisionists frame the debate. The problem is that they have allowed the debate to begin in the first place. Questions concerning the Trinity, Jesus Christ crucified and risen, the authority of Scripture, the sanctity of human life, and morality (sexual or otherwise) are not open for discussion or redefinition within a narrow and isolated 21st century post-modern framework. These are matters which were settled as to their basic definition during the formative years of the Church and can only be properly interpreted and perpetually transmitted within the context of the covenant community under the Lordship of Christ and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, with the written revelation of Scripture and the established standard of Apostolic Tradition as anchor.

Any attempt at "renewal," whatever its purported theological persuasion, which has as its basic assumption the superiority of post-modernism (and its 19th and 20th century rationalistic antecedents) over ancient ecumenism is to be rejected on its face. Truth demands more than just "a place at the table." The true disciples of Christ will follow his example. They will overturn the table and drive out the money-changers who have turned the Father's house into a den of thieves.


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