A letter from Bob Edgar, General Secretary of the National Council of Churches crossed my desk recently. In it, he defined five “pathways” which he says is what the Bible calls the NCC and its member communions toward. Those five are:
Pluralism and Unity
Funny, that looks more like the priorities of PETA or the International Socialist Workers’ Party. Edgar prattles on for four insufferable pages on these five “pathways” (what a warm and fuzzy way of saying “priorities”). Not surprisingly, he can only cite one Scriptural passage (Luke 4:13).
At the same time, I’m reading J. Scott Horrell’s book From the Ground Up: New Testament Foundations for the 21st Century (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2004). Horrell teaches systematic theology at Dallas Theological Seminary and ordained in the Baptist General Conference. It’s not a great book, but it is pretty good (especially chapter three, “Centered in Christ, Decentralized in the World”). Horrell identifies Worship, Learning, Fellowship and Evangelism/Missions as four “living functions” of the church (gosh, that doesn’t sound as pretty as Edgar’s “pathways”).
The really big difference between Edgar and Horrell is how Horrell’s chapter on these “living functions” is awash with Scripture. I lost track around thirty such references.
When held up to the light of Scripture, it’s clear that the NCC is simply a silly, trivial organization. Edgar’s letter, and website (http://www.middlechurch.net/) well-demonstrates that the so-called mainline denominations are sidelined, and sidelined by their own trivial pursuits. It’s a tragedy of misdirected effort.