Monday, August 20, 2012

"Christianity" As A Meaningless Term

In an earlier post, we talked about Jimmy Akin's concerns over how a Mormon presidency might potentially damage the public notion of what is a Christian. To be brief, our view was that such concerns are largely irrelevant as the term "Christian" was deprived of its meaning (in true Walker Percyan style) decades ago. Even though a couple of examples were provided in the post, let me add one more that I think is even more telling than the others.

I live in the South. Nay, not only the South, but in an area that would be defined as hardcore Bible Belt country. This area was rock solid Baptist for the bulk of my life. In the last decade-plus, it has begun a steady trend toward Pentecostalism and the non-denominational/charismatic movement. For the most part, though, everybody has stayed within the mainstream boundaries of Christian dogma.

Enter Joel Hemphill.

Mr. Hemphill and his wife, LaBreeska, are very popular singers/songwriters in the Southern Gospel scene. We're talking about 8 Dove Awards (the Christian music version of the Grammys) and an induction into the Southern Gospel Hall of Fame. Even if you haven't heard of them, I assure that many others  have and that they are a pretty big deal in a lot of what the media would call "evangelical" circles.

They are also Arians.

If you want to check out the views in Mr. Hemphill's own words, you can see his denial of the Trinity here. Not content with just being Sabellian/Modalist as so many Pentecostals are these days, he then rejects the Incarnation here. This is all disgusting and blasphemous. What's his rationale for all this? It's not in the Bible, of course! Like the Arians of old, Mr. Hemphill has claimed the Scriptures as his own and distorted them to proclaim a lie about God Himself.

However, this doesn't stop The Hemphills from visiting churches all over the South to sing songs and preach their message. You can find it on the web site above, on YouTube, or maybe a community near you. They are clearly making an effort to convert others to this abominable message. There are YouTube clips of sermons preached at "ministers' conferences." There are more than a few people in attendance.

What does this say for Mr. Akin's worries that society might lose its vision of what it means to be Christian? It says that society has already been blinded to the objective definition of Christianity. With The Hemphills even being invited to allegedly Trinitarian churches to perform and speak, I think it's fairly obvious that there is at least a large contingent of folks who, even though they profess belief in the Trinity, don't think it matters a whole lot. This battle is over. We lost. Just another step in the Church's slow retreat through history.

So rest easy, Mr. Akin and any others who share his reservations. You have nothing to fear from a Mormon  president somehow twisting the masses perception of what a Christian is. Things really can't get much worse than they are.

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