Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Poster: The error of Local Church Centrism

One major error of the New Evangelical Calvinism, and New Evangelicalism also, is its zeitgeist that generally does not want to deal with false teachers. The center of such "discernment" should be the local church, it is maintained.

In light of recent events, I have decided that this phenomenon deserves its own poster, as above. Local Church centrism is the view that applies texts of Scripture on the Church only to the context of the Local Church. Therefore, like what Frank Turk says, the center of discernment should be the local church only. Believes are to join a local church and serve there, and not going around dealing with errors.

To some extent of course, Turk is right. But to make the biblical primacy of the Local Church into a focus on the Local Church ONLY is Turk's error. This error it seems manifest itself particularly in New Evangelicals who desire to be biblical in doctrine. Thus, we can better understand Carson's and Keller's response to the Elephant Room 2 in light of this fact.

The poster reads: "Local Church Centrism — Not my church, not my problem." This captures aptly the type of attitude that seem to underlie what is going on here. James MacDonald and Jakes are not one of the members of staff of either Carson's and Keller's respective churches, and therefore the entire ER2 fiasco is treated with kids' gloves. I can almost guarantee that if the members or staff of at least Carson's church behave like James MacDonald, things will be certainly more private (because it involves only that local church) but certainly unrepentance will result in church discipline, private and public censure, and even excommunication.

Now of course, it is impossible neither is it proper to search for heretics and heresies to denounce. The Christian life is not to be a heresy hunter so to speak. But when such issues do present themselves, they are to be addressed fully and biblically, not the type of kids' gloves antics Carson and Keller utilized.

Local Church Centrism is a distortion of the Gospel and a distortion of biblical ecclesiology. It has more in line with Cain, asking "Am I my brother's keeper?" As far as they are concerned, the Local Church is the Church, and other Christians are "others" not really part of the Church to whom we are to so regard them.

ADD: I should have added the corollary to give more punch to the poster. It is as follows:

Local Church Centrism — Not my church, not my problem; Not your church, shut up!

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