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randy buist

D.R., [& tony can delete this if he pleases]

I'm going to take a stab at your four posed questions as well. I'm a friend of emergent as well as the coordinator for an active emergent cohort group.

Q #1 - As for the inclusive question, a good share of us probably don't believe it is reality. Yet, we hope for it. We simply don't know who God will allow into his eternal presence. That is not something that we know.

With that said, I'm not hearing EC people advocating Islam or Hinduism; we're firmly about Jesus Christ and the proclamation of the kingdom. Many of us are simply allowing the Father to make the decision of who is 'in' and who is 'out.' This doesn't mean that we give up on carrying the gospel message to all corners of the earth. It simply means we're possibly more gracious than some of those who have gone before us.

We're not going to try to save people by scaring them from hell.

Q #2 - Theological positions or beliefs that Emergent holds... We don't want to be about holding positions. Then we'll need to defend them at all costs, and then we'll become a denomination and we'll fight a lot. We believe it is better to be gracious than to beat up on others for the sake of religious codes.

With that said, I think it's fair to suggest Emergent leadership affirms orthodox Christianity. We can argue the definition of that term, but the (1) divinity and humanity of Christ is affirmed. (2) The Father, Son, and Spirit as Trinity is affirmed. (3) The events of Christmas, Good Friday, and Easter are affirmed as factual history. (4) The Bible is affirmed as the story of God with his people. (aka - word of God) (5) We believe the Spirit lives among the people of God.

For those who need foundational stuff, I hope that brings a bit of calmness to your bones. Really.

Q #3 - Open theism - This is not a primary concern of Emergent people. It's my sense that this discussion is the result of pushing against a mechanistic God who predestines everything and everyone. (and also a position advocated by many Calvinists - and thus the reason they push against Emergent)

People quickly get alarmed and armed with rightness when this issue of 'open theism' show on the radar screen. This issue has been on the radar screen throughout church history.

With that said, I think you will find an affirmation of the sovereignty of God within Emergent that should put the 'open theism' question to rest. (at least for those who are truly concerned about it)

Q. #4 - The gospel is... (sigh/forgive me eternally for the incompleteness of this)
... the story of God with his people. Within the Canon, it begins with Genesis and concludes with the Revelation to John.
... is the son of God becoming man, living, dieing, conquering death, and again leaving in bodily form.
... is good news for all people.
... is the proclamation of the kingdom of God by Jesus Christ. Jesus came not only to live, and die, and rise, BUT to also proclaim a new reality, AND this is the new reality in which we live. The kingdom of God is at hand.

For more dialogue, feel free to e-mail me.

Blessings Brother & Sisters,
randy

randy buist

Tony...
In regard to your evaluation of Calvinist Christians beating on Emergent, and as someone who graduated from Calvin College & Calvin Theological Seminary... I believe you are fair and accurate.

I would also agree that the judgements against Emergent people do betray the heart of Calvinism. (Of course, Calvin betrayed himself when he burned people at the stake.)

Bill

Jason,

Forgive me if my reply to you was a little ornery. I was simply responding to your statement about all movements facing criticism. I think you may have to explain a little further what a movement looks, acts, and talks like. I'm not trying to be a pain. All I know is that I've heard people specifically say they don't want the EC to be a "movement"--at least not at this point.

Why do you think we don't want to be associated with evangelicals? I think many of us ARE evangelicals, or at least post-evangelicals. I think we want the conversation to have a wider appeal than just conservative, American, evangelicals, but that doesn't mean we don't want to be associated with them.

graham

Spot on observation, Tony. (And I say that as a post-Barthian calvinist.)

rudy

hey randy buist that was pretty good stab at the four questions and concise too

youallareidiots

"We're not going to try to save people by scaring them from hell."

Yeah, you don't want to repeat Jesus' error. People should come to God, not because they fear Him, but because he's a cosmic warm blanket with a smiling face.


"Q #2 - Theological positions or beliefs that Emergent holds... We don't want to be about holding positions. Then we'll need to defend them at all costs, and then we'll become a denomination and we'll fight a lot. We believe it is better to be gracious than to beat up on others for the sake of religious codes."

Yeah because Emergent doesn't argue or beat up on anyone now! This is the stupidity of this CULTIC MOVEMENT. The affirmation not to hold a position already IS a position, and assumes all sorts of theological ideas! I think we're dealing more with the NOT SO COGNITIVE artistic types wanting church their way, and so super fluffy nice thoughts that de-emphasize propositional truth and pluralism are adopted in theory even though in practice it is contrary to truth and can never be (nor should it). Your movement will be marginalized further (as it is already becoming so) and pass into the way of the dodo.

randy buist

Hey friend from immediately above... let's have a conversation. Send me an e-mail.

Sean

Can you believe someone would have the audacity to say Christianity is about truth? Where does that come from? Here is a message from James White's site:

"Psalm 73 and Postmodernism Continued
I was looking at Brian McLaren and postmodernism and the Emergent Church movement a few days ago, and wish to continue with that theme here. In CT an article on "Emergent Evangelism" appeared wherein we read:

Making absolute truth claims—so important to evangelism in the modern era—becomes problematic in the postmodern context. Instead, he said, we can focus on recruiting people who follow Jesus by faith (without claims of certainty or absolute knowledge) with the goal of being transformed and participating in the transformation of the world. "Our lack of example in speech, behavior, love, faith, and purity may also explain why we must rely so heavily on arguments, many of them making claims that appear to postmodern people to be coercive and colonial, and therefore immoral, heavily laced with adjectives like absolute and objective to modify the noun truth," McLaren said.
I find the phraseology "becomes problematic" about as anemic as it can be. Let's be clear: postmodernism has no room for absolute truth claims, and hence has no room for a unique gospel or a unique Savior. Without absolute truths about who Christ is, there is no way to stop the inevitable reshaping and reforming of Christ into the image desired by the rebel sinner who is using postmodernism as his or her chosen means to engage in kateco,ntwn , that action described by Paul in Romans 1:18 of suppressing the truth in unrighteousness. Unless there has been a clear and sufficient revelation of who Christ truly is, then there is no way to avoid the reshaping and reforming of Him into whatever the postmodernist wishes to make of Him, and such is the formula for theological chaos and the end of all meaningful gospel proclamation. (Need I even note the utter irrelevance of apologetics in this context?)

Note the language: conversion from sin to servanthood to Christ becomes "recruiting people to follow Jesus by faith (without claims of certainty or absolute knowledge)." What Jesus are they following? Can they follow a non-divine Jesus? How about a sinful Jesus (who would be oh so much more appealing and "empathetic" to them)? How about a Jesus who is just an idea, not a historical person? How about a non-risen Jesus? And please, can someone tell me what kind of meaningful community can be built when everyone is following a Jesus of their own imagination, their own making?
Next we read of being transformed. How? By what means? Is this the Holy Spirit applying the truths of the Word to the hearts, thereby conforming us to the image of Christ? Can we find any basis for people being "conformed" in postmodernism? Isn't that part of what people do not like, so that they want to avoid such "colonial" language as "conformance"?
What does "the transformation of the world" mean? Is this referring to bringing the entire world under the Lordship of Jesus Christ so that we are all united in offering to Him worship that is acceptable to the divine Trinity? Does it involve repentance from sin and living a life of holiness in accord with the revealed Scriptures?
McLaren speaks of our lack of example of love, faith, purity, etc. Surely no one will claim sinlessness in this life, and there is always a call to ever greater fulfillment of God's commands. But is it not incumbent upon us to be able to define, in categories of truth, the object of our love (lest it become self-love, or idolatry)? Do we not have to be able to explain the nature of our faith, and the object of our faith, in the very same truth-based way? And does not the mention of purity invoke the clarity of God's law in defining what it is to walk purely before God? It would seem that in each attempt to express the unique viewpoints of the Emergent movement the proponent thereof is forced into the same inherent contradiction expressed by the late Greg Bahnsen when he forced atheists (indeed, anyone denying the uniquely Scriptural world view he defended) to see their own contradiction: without categories of clear and understandable revelation there is no way to even "dialogue" about truth and practice and evangelism. Postmodernism, being in itself a violation of the Christian worldview and standing in conflict thereto, cannot express itself without, at key points, "borrowing" from the biblically-based world-view that involves "absolute truth claims."
One is forced to wonder: given the prevalence of apologetic argumentation in the New Testament (Acts 17-18, Galatians, Colossians, 1 John, Jude, just as a few examples), does it follow that the Apostles were somehow suffering from a "lack of example in speech, behavior, love, faith, and purity"?
I am quite certain that the unregenerate heart of the vessel of wrath prepared for destruction finds the proclamation of the claims of the Potter to be "coercive" and "colonial." Would Jesus' words in Luke 13:3 fall into the same "coercive and colonial" and hence "offensive" words? ""I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish." That sounds very coercive, and I must agree with McLaren here that postmoderns would find this kind of language "immoral." Many who stand before judges question the judge's right to pronounce judgment. But the question should be, "Will those who are the recipients of divine grace and regeneration by the Holy Spirit find the truth of God immoral and offensive"? Surely not! This is one of the main problems with this movement (and with a large portion of evangelicalism today, to be honest): it is a manifest distrust of the Spirit of God that we are concerned about the "offense" of the message. Is it not the work of the Spirit of God to change hearts? Are the sheep of Christ offended by the voice of their Shepherd? Surely not. Spurgeon spoke with great force to this reality:

By this the elect of God are known—that they love the Word of God, and they have a reverence for it, and discern between it and the words of man. Notice the lambs in the field, just now; and there may be a thousand ewes and lambs; but every lamb finds out its own mother. So does a true-born child of God know where to go for the milk which is to nourish his soul. The sheep of Christ know the Shepherd's voice in the Word, and a stranger will they not follow, for they know not the voice of strangers. God's own people have discernment to discover and relish God's own Word. They will not be misled by the cunning craftiness of human devices. Saints know the Scriptures by inward instinct. The holy life, which God has infused into believers by his Spirit, loves the Scriptures, and learns how to use them for holy purposes. (source)
Now, though I wish to continue this discussion, I need to explain the role of Psalm 73. It goes back to the beginning of this article, and the wide variety of issues facing the church today. At times it seems overwhelming. But remember how the Psalmist likewise became disheartened and discouraged at the progress of evil in his day. And where did he come to find the proper perspective? Psalm 73 tells us: in the place of worship. There, where one's mind is taken up with eternal things, and one's focus is upon the Creator and one has a proper perspective on oneself as a creature, a created thing who is a vapor that appears and then vanishes away---in that place, one sees with clear vision. And when I begin to lose perspective and feel overwhelmed not by God's glory and majesty but by the challenges and tasks I face, that is where I need to go. That is why God places us in the church, and enjoins upon us the regular meetings. He is wise. He knows our needs.

Sean

A Little Light Reading Over Dinner
I don't remember at the moment why I bought it, but I picked up Burklo's Open Christianity a few weeks ago. Maybe I like self-torture or something, I don't know. The author is a minister in the same denomination as Barry Lynn. I knew what I was in for. And I wasn't disappointed. From the first page one is hammered with the idea that simple "common sense" tells you the doctrinal structure of "traditional" Christianity is irrational and beyond belief. We are told how the author could never believe the stories of the Bible, and how by age 8 he had concluded that the religion that grew up around Jesus was "creepy." Then we encounter the "raw faith" idea (faith without an object, Christianity without truth or substance, just a vague "experience" and "love"). So it was almost "ho hum" to encounter this:

The doctrine of the Trinity---Father, Son, and Holy Ghost or Spirit---has perplexed Christians for a long time. It was formulated in the fourth century as a way of settling a long theological and political controversy in the church about the nature of Christ. The doctrine is not to be found in the Bible. It is the result of an ancient philosophical debate that has little to do with spiritual experience, and it is not necessary to believe in it to be a Christian today. But the doctrine of the Trinity does remind us that there are many useful names for God. Each name has a context, each name expresses a different quality of the encounter between God and human beings. As Christians, we have choices about which names for God most eloquently express our encounters with the divine (p. 26).


I suppose if I had not debated Barry Lynn a few years ago, and as a result had seen the utter apostasy and anti-Christian character of the UCoC (United Church of Christ), such a paragraph might have surprised me more than it did. The Trinity was not formulated in the fourth century, of course; and even if you identify Constantine's involvement as the "political" element, it was hardly a "long standing" political controversy that prompted Nicea (assuming he is even referring to Nicea in the first place). If the doctrine is not found in the Bible, I wonder how I wrote an entire book about it based on the Bible? Odd. It obviously has little to do with Burklo's "spiritual experience," but it has everything to do with Christian worship, because it is central and definitional to Christian truth (a term Burklo, as a thorough-going post-modernist, cannot even define outside of his own experience). But note the utter creatureliness of the last sentences: this is barely a step above atheism, truly, for the "god" of this system exists solely in the "experiences" of human beings. Real Christians do not pick and choose what names for God "most eloquently express our encounters with the divine," we worship and adore the Triune Majesty as it pleases Him, not as it pleases us. He has revealed Himself to His people, and we worship Him in spirit and in truth.
All of this post-modernism and "emergent church" stuff could cause a saint of God sleepless nights...until we remember that God is still on His throne. He has promised to build His church and that His truth would remain with us, has He not? Has He not kept His promises in ever preceding generation? And is it not true that someone like Burklo is putting out an extremely large amount of energy just suppressing the knowledge of God and living in such a fashion as to violate the very imago Dei in which he is created? People can't keep that up forever. It wears on you. And the Holy Spirit does not find even this kind of self-deception and error a hindrance to His almighty power. So we press forward, confident that God's purpose will be accomplished.

Sean

Steve Camp on McLaren's Re-Invention of the Faith (Updated)
As most of you know, Steve Camp has become not only a regular guest over the years on The Dividing Line (the program he and I did on the anniversary of Keith Green's death is one of my all time favorites), but he and I have worked together many times now, including doing the apologetics cruises together. Steve provides that rare combination of music and worship together with sound theology, and as such, comments on the wider issues facing the faith today. Recently he commented on Brian McLaren's A Generous Orthodoxy (Zondervan, 2004), which is subtitled:

WHY I AM A missional + evangelical + post/protestant + liberal/conservative + mystical poetic + biblical + charismatic/contemplative + fundamentalist/calvinist + anabaptist/anglican + methodist + catholic + green + incarnational + depressed-yet-hopeful + emergent + unfinished CHRISTIAN

Of course, that is meant to activate the sense of disorientation deeply desired and valued by postmodernists who think that the bare action of combining contradictory terms while smiling and humming a tune that uses the terms "love" and "flowers" results in something deeply spiritual. Oh, I should note in passing: I am discovering that as long as you are "pomo" in orientation (post-modern), then everything you say, including your clear denial of the truth of historic Christian doctrine, will be loving and "Christian" and spiritual. However, if you dare find such denigration of the faith offensive, then you are hateful, backwards, unloving, unkind, and unspiritual. That's just part of the "movement." That's why Paul is not the favorite author in this movement. In fact, come to think of it, no biblical author is.

Anyway, Steve Camp reviewed McLaren's recent effort here. And today, Kevin Johnson threw an egg at Camp's review here. I say threw an egg because when you do that (no, I don't have personal experience, just an observation), it really doesn't do much beyond destroying the egg and making a mess. Once you've read Camp's review, you will have a hard time finding the connection to Johnson's response. I wonder why the folks over at TheOxymoronicTitledBlog refuse to accurately represent these issues? Perhaps because for all their talk of ecumenicity, truth-denying compromise only really goes one way?

UPDATE: Ironically, as I posted this, Mr. Johnson posted on the issue of the tsunami and how believers should respond. In an incredible example of what I just pointed out, Johnson decries John Piper's comments as "tragically representing the Bildad-Zophar-Eliphaz faction," and even manages to take a swipe at Doug Wilson (though, amazingly, he does so based upon how Wilson responded to 9/11---in case that confuses you, Johnson just recently left a CREC church, and has since then been repeatedly critical of Wilson---I will let the reader do the math on that one). Anyway, Johnson then lauds both NT Wright and the Archbishop of Canterbury (see previous blog entry on his comments), and writes,

The Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams also spoke to the recent disaster. This prompted gnostic-like comments by Dr. James White--ostensibly because there are no real references to "Jesus / Christ / sovereignty / sin / repentance / wrath / judgment / wickedness / rebellion / glory of God" and the Archbishop fails to consider "any serious discussion of God's purposes in this world, the result of sin, or the justice and judgment of God" in regards to the horrific loss of life and destruction caused by the recent Tsunami. Let me get this straight. People in the various regions affected by the Tsunami are suffering, dying, starving, deprived of their general ability to live a normal life, and thousands of their friends, family, and countrymen are dead and we think it would be appropriate to speak about this tragedy merely in terms of biblical doctrine--wrath, judgement, sin, and the like--let alone do anything about helping to resolve such suffering.
Gnostic? How ecumenical and postmodern of Mr. Johnson! Remember, pomos can use any terms they like, since they do not have to use established categories of truth, nor do they have to use established definitions of words. So why not throw a term like that around? If an IT guy who sells coffee can call Steve Camp a "hack," why not redefine entire theological terms? It's a wonderful new world where truth is no longer a term worth using! I am truly forced to wonder when reading this kind of rhetoric if Johnson and others who join him in this rush from truth realize what they are saying. How dare I talk about earthquakes and tsunamis in the context of biblical doctrine! How uncompassionate! And we wonder why these folks end up throwing the faith out and adopting some kind of man-centered alternative where everyone is good and there is no sin or punishment or wrath or judgment...and the cross becomes a feel-good symbol rather than the decisive act of God in redemptive history. Bah, it's all gnosticism anyway, right?
What follows is a glowing example of religiosity devoid of biblical truth. It sounds so nice and warm and fuzzy, but it has no substance. Obviously, like his heroes, Johnson avoids any biblical foundation. The passages in Scripture (and they are numerous) that directly connect God's purposes to events in time, including His demonstration of His wrath and making His power known (can anyone say "Exodus" or "Pharaoh"?) are notably absent, for obvious reasons. I wonder when these allegedly "Reformed" folks came to the conclusion that the Holy Spirit would honor and make alive in the hearts of people something other than that which He Himself has inspired? Let's face it, friends, these folks are, as John MacArthur put it years ago, ashamed of the gospel. They are ashamed of a revelation that says, "This is true. It is true for all time. It is true for all people." They are ashamed of a God who has wrath against sin. They are ashamed of a holy God who is wholly other. Would it really have mattered if the Roman soldiers had smiled and said, "So sorry to do this" while nailing the Savior to the tree? Would that have made their act any less heinous? So why is it that we don't see past the smiling faces of these Prophets of a Lesser God and realize that they are just as intent upon the destruction of the faith as any Grand Inquisitor of Spain? Wake up, folks, the mind-numbing drag of our culture is making us slow to see what is truly happening around us.

Sean

And finally,

This morning I read at least one side of the dialogue in e-mail between a man named Bob Robinson and my friend Steve Camp (I haven't had a chance to talk to Campi about all of this as yet: getting hold of him is always an experience)--at least as much as was posted. I confess it is simply maddening to me to read postmodern writing. Like the liberalism that I had to survive in seminary, I have a strong desire to simply grab a postmodernist and scream, "Would you just come out and say something meaningful, please?" I know that is not going to happen, for the obvious reason that postmodernism lacks a foundation upon which to place meaning anyway, but I have never been able to produce a lot of patience for those who flit about the theological landscape producing tremendous amounts of verbiage but never actually getting around to saying anything. And, of course, the very fact you do not have patience for such things is clear evidence of the superiority of postmodernism anyway.
Now, if you are just waking up to this movement, don't get lost in all the buzzwords they throw around. For folks who talk all about communicating with the culture, they have the most clique-ish vocabulary imaginable. "Metanarrative" and particular understandings of "community" and a list of philosophical gurus a mile long are all part and parcel of the most basic introduction to their views and the "Emergent church" movement. A whole new set of names needs to be learned as well to come to understand "who is who." And if you are looking for a book that provides a full, meaningful, biblically based defense of the system, don't bother. The very idea that the Bible was intended to, or capable of, providing such a basis is one of the first casualties of postmodernism. In fact, don't expect any debates on the subject: a debate assumes truth and error and the ability of mankind, based upon the clarity and perspecuity of God's revelation, to come to a sound conclusion so as to say one side is right and one side is wrong. Once again, that is "modernism," and we have now gotten past believing such things. Revelation is an outmoded term: now we have "conversations" and tell "stories." This is all we can really do, and all we've ever been able to do: previous generations were self-deluded to think they had gone past that level.
The main thing to remember about this movement, whatever name it goes under, is this: it does not derive from biblical exegesis; it is fundamentally and inherently contrary to a biblical worldview; and in the vast majority of its expressions, it is nothing more than an expression of the sinful rebellion of the human heart, resulting in the darkening of the mind (Romans 1).
Let's look at some examples. Brian McLaren is indeed one of the "prophets" of this new movement. In a current issue of Christianity Today we are offered a summary of his views on "evangelism." We read,

For McLaren, the gospel is not primarily informational but relational/missional. That is, imparting information about how to be individually saved is secondary to inviting people into relationship with a king and with members of a kingdom whose foremost concern is wholeness for a broken world, rather than an insurance policy for eternal destiny.

Immediately one asks, "How can the gospel be one or the other?" That is, you cannot have a relationship with someone about whom you are ignorant. Hence, Christians have always believed that the gospel has been entrusted to them and they are to proclaim it (faith comes by....?). The gospel contains information, yes, even truth, objective truth, definitional truth (the thuds you are hearing are postmodernists dropping like flies), for Christian faith has an object outside of ourselves ("the God who justifies") and includes truths upon which we act (God is God; sin is sin; wrath is wrath; repent or perish). The result of the gospel is relationship with God. But jettison the informational/proclamational and you no longer have the regenerational which leads to the relational ("-al" is a favorite ending in postmodern writing). Further, "inviting" rebels "into relationship" with the one they hate and are in rebellion against and the knowledge of whom they are suppressing requires the radical work of the Spirit in changing the heart and mind of such a person. That's called conversion, not merely assimilation of a "Jesus element" into one's life. What, exactly, does "wholeness for a broken world" mean? That sounds awefully wonderful, but what does it mean? If it means their concern is the clear and compelling proclamation that is a stumbling block, a scandal, and the smell of death (aka, the gospel), so that through it God may bring His peace to His elect people, then I agree. But that is not what is meant, nor could this system allow for such specificity. We continue,

The gospel, McLaren said, starts "with God's concern for the world, in which God creates a community called the church, comprised of persons who stop (or repent of) being 'part of the problem' and choose instead to join God as 'part of the solution'—thus simultaneously entering a mission and a community in which one is accepted by grace, through faith in Jesus."
There is a part of me that really wants to try to read that in a biblical paradigm, honestly. But immediately my mind says, "So why not just say it the way the Holy Spirit said it in Scripture?" In any case, "God's concern for the world" sounds a lot more like a benevolent grandfather than the sovereign King working out His purpose in creation to His own glory. How does God "create" a community called the church? Biblically, He does so sovereignly, powerfully, sacrificially, through the atonement of Christ. It is surely comprised of repentant sinners, if that's what "being a part of the problem" means, but descriptively, not prescriptively. But I wonder where regeneration and all that "biblical" stuff fits in here? Or is it just to hard to express those terms in postmodern categories?
Well, I see I am waxing long, and still have much to get to. Time to break this up. We shall continue as the Lord grants time. Just remember:

To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn. (Isa. 8:20)

Stephen

I haven't read all of the comments here. There are too many and life is too short. However, I can't help observe that there are some here pontificating about calvinism who know little about it. Some of the comments are just plain wrong.

Let me suggest something. If you want to critique accurately, read up on what you want to critique! I am trying to do that with EC and trying to be as generous as I can over orthodoxy (!). Come on guys, do us a favour and do your homework!

jen

From the Emgergent "Rule" page:

"We seek to be irenic and inclusive of all our Christian sisters and brothers, rather than elitist and critical, seeing “us” we were used to see “us versus them.” We own the many failures of the church as our failures, which humbles us and calls us to repentance, and we also celebrate the many heroes and virtues of the church, which inspires us and gives us hope."

"To seek peace among followers of Christ, and to offer critique only prayerfully and when necessary, with grace, and without judgment, avoiding rash statements, and repenting when harsh statements are made. To speak positively of fellow Christians whenever possible, especially those with whom we may disagree."


Tony,

It seems to me that by publishing your post, you nagatively singled out a particular group of fellow believers and caused division among other believers based on your "obersvation" (read indignation) of the singled-out group's response to this movement.

If Emergent is going to establish "rules" that others are expected to follow, it's proponents ought to follow them themselves.

Adriene

Well, I just read this whole conversation, and it seems to be proof of Tony's original comment. Although I haven't been reading all the 'criticism' of emergent, if this is a taste of it, then yep, its coming from the absolutely-sure-of-themselves-Calvinists who consider anything else heretical.

Jackson wrote:
"I'm all for dialogue with people who don't think like me. In fact, emergent is built upon such dialogue. That's why we call ourselves a "conversation." But I won't go into a conversation with someone who already thinks that he's completely right about everything and that I'm completely wrong--what good will that do? What will we accomplish other than fighting? Our discussion here is clear evidence of that."

I have to agree. If the only point of conversation is to convince the other side of the rightness of your viewpoint, then there's no point. But it helps to clarify what the issues are, and maybe helps people who haven't got the advanced degrees get a sense of what the divisive issues are.

The tone of several of the critical posts was quite arrogant - insults and caricatures don't make you look smarter and right-er, guys. But it does add spice to the theological discussion, and I believe we have historical precedent for that, too!

I am grateful for the conversation!

idiotsall

Yeah, divisive issues like the gospel. I don't know how Jesus every got Himself crucified. Apparently, according to you people, He should have been the nicest man who ever lived. But if one is called divisive and slandered for the sake of the truth, then I think he follows in the path of the historical Jesus (that's the one that you Neo-orthodox/Neo-Liberal folks don't know). But the happy, smiling Jesus, you probably got from a Sunday School picture of a bearded Mr. Rogers holding a lamb or something, makes me feel warm inside too. I imagine that is the way Christ is with His people, but heretics get the "children of hell and devil" comment (in case you haven't heard, that was said by Jesus too).

tooaugust

BTW, Grudem's book is free online.

http://www.cbmw.org/rbmw/rbmw.pdf#search='biblical%20manhood%20and%20womanhood%20pdf'

tooaugust

BTW, why did you not correct Chris on anything? Here again we see this us against them mentality that is typical of the conservative/liberal debate. Just admit that this is the situation we are in and you do fall into one or the other.

tooaugust

Eric, what if what God is doing is separating out His people from error? What if what He is doing is dividing sheep from goats? Why do you think God is only doing happy uplifting things?

tooaugust

If you want to see the distinction between the two views, see here:
http://www.the-highway.com/Sola_Scriptura_Mathison.html

bart

tooaugust

get a life

Bart

tooaugust

Anyone gotten a chance to listen to the Whitehorse Inn program this week. It's a good one.
http://www.oneplace.com/Ministries/The_White_Horse_Inn/

tooaugust

Thanks for the clarification Cindy. I would then ask if a Mormon or JW wants to be saved by Jesus? Do I need to want to be saved by the right Jesus? Or do I need to want to be saved the right way? For instance, didn't the Judaizers also want to be saved by Christ? If not, was it that that brought on Paul's curse upon them as preaching a false gospel? Or was it what they said the Gospel was?

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