Well, it’s been a while since I’ve put anything up on here. My wife and I were offered a small church in Vancouver, and we’ve decided to accept and move out there. We’re going to re-brand and re-plant the church, and pray that the Lord will bless our efforts. After 15 years, I’m moving back to BC! So now, we’re looking for housing and trying to sort out the cheapest way to move all our stuff (the church will cover the cost but we just want to be good stewards). We don’t have a timeline because we’ll simply leave Saskatchewan when we’ve found a place to live, and there’s one other thing that may be of some sad interest to a select few:
The church is not Mennonite Brethren, or Mennonite at all.
I’ve done what I can to search for a church in the MB Conference and it’s been made clear to me that I’m neither welcome in MB circles nor even allowed to call myself “Mennonite” (I didn’t know you could lose your “Mennonite card”). I won’t waste the world’s time telling my nasty and/or unbelievable stories online. All that I can say is that I’ve been around the MB church for over 3 decades; I was kicked out of an MB youth group for bringing unbelieving friends to church, and that sort of thing is still fairly typical. I plan to wash my hands and move on; no need to be fighting wolves when I don’t have to.
As for some of my writing and reading projects, I’ve sorted through the lexicography project that I was working on but it’s become so gigantic that I’m wondering if I should post it. I was looking up every NT reference on being argumentative, false teaching and being divisive/contentious, and I systematically mapped out all the Greek vocabulary and every verse that touches those issues. I ended up with around a 15 page Word document, so I’ve been struggling what to share. If I find time to refine it to a blog post or a series of posts, I will.
As for the Mark Baker stuff, I read a fair bit and haven’t finished due to candidating, Christmas and the Sunday school class I’ve been teaching. From what I’ve read, I’ve got the following ideas in my head:
1. I’ve figured out that Baker is a serious academic liberal (see my post on what academic liberalism is and is not). He can claim to be a conservative evangelical, but his writing definitely doesn’t place him in that ballpark.
2. He believes that the Bible has a multi-facetted understanding on sin, and this denial of a consistent and coherent understanding of sin (and a denial of original sin) is what drives his multi-facetted understanding of the atonement. To put it another way, he doesn’t have an orthodox understanding of sin and consequently doesn’t have an orthodox understanding of the atonement.
3. If one wanted to really get him to show his colors in public, one would have to ask him to give his understanding of sin and then push him to explain and defend his position in the light of the actual text of scripture (i.e. Did any prophet/apostle think that Genesis 3 is metaphor? Did Paul take it that way? Did Christ?). I’m guessing that, like most liberals, he would appeal to philosophy and try to avoid serious interaction with the text of scripture.
Just my two cents for anyone who ever runs into him and really wants to ferret him out. I’m actually surprised that nobody nailed him to the floor on this when the study conference came to Saskatoon last year. I guess the MB obsession with ‘peacemaking’ (i.e. “ignoring sin and enduring heresy in the name of being loving”) is the blade that will slit our throats; we keep trying to have “balance” when it comes to issues of truth.
All that being said, my 15 or so readers have an update now. I’ll post more once I’m done my move and life gets back to normal. In the meantime, I would appreciate prayer for the move and for some work while we re-plant the church, and also prayer for the re-planting and re-branding of the church. I’ll post details as they come available, and if anyone is looking for a bible-preaching church in Vancouver or knows someone who is, I’d love to connect with you.
Longing for the day,
Lyndon “The Armchair Church Planting Pastor” Unger