A while back I was able to interview a dear brother in Christ, Eric Ludy about our need for a “Bravehearted Gospel.” Eric is doing a phenomenal work for the Kingdom of God and I am pleased to call Eric a friend and fellow-warrior for the cause of Truth.
Israel Wayne: In your book, The Bravehearted Gospel, you say that the current version of the gospel being presented in America has “lost the manly stuff.” What do you mean by that statement?
Eric Ludy: When you study Christian history and stand the church of ages past next to the anemic church of our day, it’s not hard to see that something has gone awry. As a group, we modern Christians are soft, mushy and lax. There seems to be a serious shortage of the majestic, intrepid, daring, just, and durable qualities the Church once possessed. The steel of a man is strangely lacking. Or, as I often say in my book, “the manly stuff is missing”.
For instance: Whatever happened to the idea of sacred honor; unvarnished nobility; and unwavering allegiance to a King? What happened to the quake-in-my-boots Fear of God; the lay-it-all-on-the-line commitment to the cause of Christ; and the die-if-I-must attitude toward defending truth and Scripture? Where did the radical abandon to seek and save the lost disappear to; or the once glorious idea of martyrdom? Or how about the burning need to stand against evil, to break the jaws of the wicked in order to ransom the oppressed, the orphaned, the widowed and the enslaved? Where is the holy boldness, the courage, and the daring needed to birth the Truth of Christ into this God-forsaking culture? What happened to the once noble idea of preaching with both authority and conviction? Where has the vanguard, the mighty men, the fiercely loyal regiment of King Jesus vanished to? Because we need them, and we need them now!
Israel Wayne: What do you feel are some of the greatest enemies of the true church today?
Eric Ludy: To be honest I think one of the greatest enemies we, as the church, are facing today, isn’t external, it’s an internal slumbering feline within our souls known as apathy. For some reason we have bought the notion that we are at a time of peace, when in fact, we are at a time of war.
I also believe that the church has been infiltrated with serious doctrinal error that has slowly, over time, whittled away our confidences in Scripture and ultimately dismantled our expectations of God building His church into a mighty company of “more than conquerors.”
And I believe that the modern Emergent Church movement poses one of the greatest threats to historic, Christ-centric, Spirit-empowered Christianity that the church may have ever seen.
Israel Wayne: How do young people fit in to The Bravehearted Gospel?
Eric Ludy: The church has literally lost an entire generation. Multitudes of youth group bred kids are abandoning the church when they leave home for college. The statistics are staggering, some as high as 8 in every 10.
Young people want something real and authentic, and unfortunately, they haven’t seen that in the church. But I believe that we are at a time in history where the nerve of longing has been exposed. There is a felt need within the younger ranks to leave dry and dusty religion in their wake and “emerge” into something different.
Of course, the Emergent Church is offering a “real” and “new” Christianity that is very effectively capturing the imagination and heart of this vast demographic. But the “Emergent Church”, whereas it is loaded with the irreverence, the worldly hip-ness, and the fleshly license that the younger crowd loves, it is absent the power of the Gospel to set free from sin. And whereas, this younger demographic is strongly antagonistic toward the traditional church system they grew up in, it’s important to note that they still are hungry for something that works. The bravehearted gospel isn’t “traditional” Christianity, it’s “historic, biblical” Christianity full of authenticity AND power. The key appeal to the notion of “bravehearted” Christianity is that it actually works in the human life and actually changes the world in which it lives.
I strongly believe that it will be young people that respond to The Bravehearted Gospel most heartily.
Israel Wayne: Tell us about your passion for reaching orphans with the love of Jesus.
Eric Ludy: My wife, Leslie, and I began to ask for something very specific from God nearly two years ago now. For close to twenty-two months we have asked over and over again every day that He would give us His heart – that we could feel what He is feeling and carry the burdens that He is carrying. He knows that we couldn’t possibly carry such a thing, but as a loving father, He has gently begun to acquaint us with his grief, his love, his compassion, and his indignity over injustice.
I tell you what – when I think of orphans it stirs me deeply. I remember talking with a missionary woman from Liberia and she was telling me about a young boy who was starving on the side of the road – with no one to help him, no one to feed him, no one to protect him.
That night I woke up in the middle of the night and the thought exploded in my mind, “what if that were Hudson (my son)?”
If that were Hudson I would move heaven and earth to come to his aid, and if I couldn’t come, I would call every single person I knew and beg them to take the first flight to Liberia to rescue him.
This is when God spoke to me and said, “Eric, that little boy is MY Hudson.”
Leslie and I have spent nearly fourteen years standing for issues of the Christian life (purity, holiness, and full-surrender), but we feel strongly that this next season is to be one dedicated to cause of the vulnerable. And this is, in its very essence, the Bravehearted Gospel. God’s not just speaking this message through us, He’s making sure it’s working in us.
Israel Wayne: Does the Bravehearted path have a place for women?
Eric Ludy: Absolutely! Just as I was always told growing up that I needed to get in touch with my feminine side, this book is a call to the church, both male and female, to get in touch with their manly side. The gusto and grit of true martyr-ready Christianity is not something merely for the men, it’s the stuff of Jesus Christ and should be drilled into the bedrock of every believing soul.
Some of the most powerful spiritual influences in my life have been women who walked the “bravehearted path.” Amy Carmichal, Gladys Aylward, Viba Perpetua, Sabina Wurmbrand, Elizabeth Fry – these were all women that didn’t prance through their Christian journey like ballerinas, but rather, marched it out as good soldiers of Jesus Christ. They didn’t forsake their femininity, but rather, allowed their femininity to be fully completed by the strength, boldness, courage, and fortitude of Christ. These were women that lived the Gospel with power, with victory, and with epic grandeur.
Israel Wayne: What are the most dangerous aspects of the Emergent Church movement?
Eric Ludy: The Emergent Movement is kind of like Jell-O. Try and nail it to the wall and it slips and slides away. And this is precisely one of its most dangerous aspects – it’s total lack of definition. In fact, obscurity and mystery is all part of its ethos.
The Emergent Movement really IS saying something clearly, but they throw in a thousand disclaimers to make sure that you don’t realize that they are saying something clearly. For instance, they constantly diminish the authority, integrity, and majesty of Scripture, but then after they do, they make a statement about how much they love Scripture. They cast doubt on the historic claims and beliefs of the Christian faith and then proceed to say things like, “Oh, don’t get me wrong, I believe in the virgin birth, I was just posing a few questions.” They make it clear that they believe Mormon, Muslims, and Buddhists can all go to heaven and then say, “However, I’m not a universalist.”
The Emergent Movement is laboring to re-define the entire idea of Christianity. It’s a Christianity defined as a result of cultural sensibilities and sensitivities and not as a result of the clearly defined revelation of God as given in the Bible.
It’s a wolf in a sheep’s costume. But not just any sheep costume – the most brilliant sheep costume I have ever seen.
These “emergent” guys are brilliant. They know what they are doing. And they are currently laboring inside the sheep pen of the church with hearty sanction from many pulpits.
Israel Wayne: In your book, you coin the phrase, “Wikibiblia.” What does that mean?
Eric Ludy: Wikipedia is the online world-wide phenomenon of Truth as defined by community. All the definitions on Wikipedia are given by everyday people and edited by everyday people. It’s the community that is responsible for keeping the definitions as presented accurate.
This concept is the essence of post-modernism – and it’s not bad in and of itself. For instance, it builds connectivity and engenders a deeper sense of commitment for all those involved in the project.
However, when post-modernism entered into the corridors of Christianity it carried this notion of “truth by committee” with it. This has led to what I refer to as “Wikibiblia,” or Truth as determined by community.
Biblical Truth is being manhandled these days by men and women who view it as “open ended” and “free for new interpretation.” However, the Truth as revealed in Scripture is not from men, to be critiqued by men, or to, God forbid, be edited by men. But this is exactly what is happening in our day and age.
Emergent writer, Rob Bell, makes a case for “re-imaging” Christianity in his best-selling book, Velvet Elvis. Without any holy apprehension he claims that it was God’s intent that we alter and adapt our understanding of Scripture in our modern age based on the opinion of community. Thus saying that though God may have expressly forbidden homosexuality in times past, in our day and age the community can overrule such an incorrect notion and free the church to accept a new morality. This is Wikibiblia, and this is one of the scariest things the church is facing today.
Israel Wayne: How did nice guy Eric Ludy, end up sounding like a sanctified, Christian version of a Viking warrior in this book?
Eric Ludy: God has been working on me. I told God a few years back that I wanted the “full package” and not the “partial package” of the Christ-life. So, for better of for worse (I’m convinced it’s for the better), I’ve found a lot more of the “manly stuff” of Christ emanating out of me. I used to be Mr. Nice Guy, and I still am in a lot of ways, but it’s sort of Mr. Nice Guy with a whip in hand now. I really used to really be uncomfortable with Martin Luther’s bombastic behavior during the reformation. I used to think to myself, “It seems to me that he could have handled this with a little more love and sensitivity”, and now, surprise, surprise – I’m feeling the same sort of indignity rushing through my bloodstream that he must have felt. I must admit that it is a bit uncomfortable allowing this politically incorrect stuff to find its way into my nature, voice, and disposition, however, the glory of Jesus Christ is at stake in our modern world and I can’t just sit back and remain silent as the Truth of the Gospel is falling in the streets.
Israel Wayne: Tell us about Ellerslie, your current ministry in Colorado related to discipleship and community.
Eric Ludy: For years we have been asked to set up a discipleship project. There are countless young Christian men and women who want to go deeper, they want to troll the depths of Scripture and find the fullness of what Christ promised. Well, after turning people away for years saying, “We are so sorry, but we just aren’t set up to pull it off,” we have opened the door and said, “Okay, come on out!”
In many ways we are still figuring things out regarding structure, but all in all, it has been a fabulous thing. The depth of discipleship, the depth of teaching, and the vision for living is a great strength in what we are doing.
We are still small (less than a hundred), and in many ways that is preferable. However, I’m fairly confident that this community will really begin to grow in these next months and years. It’s exciting, world-changing stuff, and it’s fun to be a part of it.
Israel Wayne: If you could, through the power of God, accomplish a handful of major goals in the next thirty years, what would they be?
Eric Ludy: I really ache over the vast number of orphans and street children in the world today. The latest numbers are showing near 145 million. That number is so big that we very easily cloud over and wave a dismissive hand within our souls. I would love to see that number evaporate in my lifetime. We will always have the poor and always have the orphan this side of heaven, however, I wish to move and mobilize the Body of Christ to practically become the hands and feet of our Heavenly Father to these precious ones.
I want to see the Church be the Church in this world. I want to see us once again threaten the powers of Hell and awaken the venom of the Evil one. I want alarms sounding in Hell without reprieve. I want to take back all that has been plundered from my King – I want souls, men and women captured by the power of the Gospel for the pleasure of my God.
I know it’s a lot to ask, but I want to see the Church of Jesus Christ once again bear the purity, the holiness, the love, and the epic grandeur of our Captain. Simply put, I want to see the Bravehearted Gospel of my King echo in the hearts of His people once again.
Martin Luther’s zeal was not that which is stirred by “Christ within you, the hope of glory”. His theology was not enough to keep him from writing an ugly diatribe called, “The Jews and their Lies”, which is said to have prepared Germany for the Holocaust. This book is free online.