We live in interesting times. The kind of times where a church has a medium (the kind who talk to dead people) on staff. At first blush, this seems like sensational weirdness that doesn’t have any bearing on our lives, but when we look deeper there are indeed lessons we can draw from this – weirdness. The question of the day is: where did this wackiness come from? God’s prohibition on consulting mediums, in Leviticus 19:31 is crystal clear (no pun intended).
“Do not turn to mediums or spiritists; do not seek them out to be defiled by them. I am the Lord your God.”
There’s no wiggle room in that commandment. Don’t talk to dead people. Ever. The mental gymnastics these folks went through to get into this fantastical mess are deserving of our attention, so that we don’t repeat them and end up doing weird stuff ourselves. Indeed, the first fallacy this lady makes in defending the indefensible is an easy one for us to make; she rips a verse out of context and sets it against other scripture. Specifically, she cites James 1:17, or at least part of it, when she says “every good and perfect gift is from above”. The first problem is that this isn’t a ‘good and perfect gift’. Good and perfect gifts don’t defile people, which God says spiritism does. Furthermore, God doesn’t change his mind; as mentioned in the very same verse. God’s not going to change his mind. He said don’t talk to dead people, and He meant it.
The other concerning thing in the article is that she doesn’t take scripture as her sole authority. She explicitly states that she sought to understand her ‘gift’ “from the intersections of Afrocentrism and Christianity”. The problem with that is that it puts ‘Afrocentrism’ (which sounds kind of racist, to be honest) on par with scripture.
After a quick look at their doctrinal distinctive (yeah, they just have one) page, I can see what brought Vision Church to this point. They’ve been chugging the social justice Kool-aid for a while. The over-emphasis on ‘love’, inclusion, and affirmation makes that very clear. How does that put Afrocentrism on par with the Bible? One of the central ideas of the social justice movement and Critical Race Theory is that we should privilege the ideas and opinions of minorities because they’re (supposedly) oppressed. In the mind of the social justice warrior, simply being a minority makes one oppressed, even if nobody is actually persecuting the minority in question. It’s important to note that in social justice circles a minority is not necessarily an ethnic group, but any group who does not compose some sort of majority. Basically, if you’re not a straight white male, you’re in some kind of minority.
In this case, the thought process runs something like this: There are more white people than black people in the U.S., therefore black people are oppressed by ‘systemic racism’ and ‘white privilege’, simply by existing. Because of this supposed oppression, then, the social justice warrior must give extra weight to ‘African voices and perspectives’. This means looking to African tribal traditions, and treating them as being more valid than what they characterize as church ‘tradition’. Any biblical teaching that contradicts the ‘oppressed’ viewpoint is, of course, relegated to ‘tradition’ status, then promptly disregarded. Thus, they end up putting paganism on par with scripture, because this specific form of paganism happened to be practiced by people with dark skin.
This is the big danger of the social justice movement; that it is a bad system of thinking that will pull churches that embrace it into apostasy and heresy in its endless leftward march. We see it happening here in spectacular fashion, but it won’t always be this bizarre. A church that embraces social justice is on track to putting women in the pastorate, another thing God explicitly forbids. Incidentally, that’s another thing Vision Church embraces. Social justice further dictates that homosexuality be embraced by the church, and those who ascribe to the social justice system have no real defense against it.
The way to stop protect ourselves from this same fate is to reassert the primacy of scripture as our only infallible rule of faith and practice. All other ideas, perspectives, and opinions, no matter their source are inferior to scripture and subject to correction by its truth. Scripture contains all that we need to live the Christian life; we don’t need ‘help’ from other religions, traditions or belief systems.
“ All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”
2 Timothy 3:16-17
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