Recently I have been branded as an ’emerging church’ type who are rebellious and don’t accomplish anything for the Lord. That comment stung me for a few reasons. One, I have never labeled myself as emergent – last time I checked I was labeled by God Himself as a beloved child of Him; it’s a celestial-label I feel humbled by and very comfortable in. Second, I love most of the things coming out of the Emergent movement and have tremendous respect for the people who are part of the conversation. Thirdly, I think we live in a time in which it’s crucial for us to forgive each other and embrace anew Christ’s prayer of unity prayed in John 17. In the fourth place, the criticism wasn’t given in the context of conversation but via a third person.
In this past week an article appeared in a magazine accusing Emergent leaders of compromising the gospel and dealing carelessly with Scripture. What does it mean?
Here’s a quote,
The Emergent movement represents a significant challenge to biblical
Christianity. Unwilling to affirm that the Bible contains propositional
truths that form the framework for Christian belief, this movement
argues that we can have Christian symbolism and substance without those
thorny questions of truthfulness that have so vexed the modern mind.
The worldview of postmodernism–complete with an epistemology that
denies the possibility of or need for propositional truth–affords the
movement an opportunity to hop, skip and jump throughout the Bible and
the history of Christian thought in order to take whatever pieces they
want from one theology and attach them, like doctrinal post-it notes,
to whatever picture they would want to draw. Albert Mohler, here.
Eugene Peterson gives some huge challenges for the prevalent modern way for handling Scripture as only propositional truth (I resonate with it a lot).
"The great attraction for distilling Scripture into truths and morals
and lessons is simply laziness. The lazy pastor no longer has to bother
with the names, the cities, the odd embarrassing details and awkward
miracles that refuse to fit into a modern understanding of the good
life. Across this land pastors have turned their studies into "stills,"
illegal distilleries that extract ideas and morals from the teeming
narrative of Scripture. People, of course, love it. They come to get
their Mason jar lives filled with pure truth so that they won’t have to
deal with either the details of Scripture or the details of their own
lives. Drinking this pure white lightning bypasses the laborious
trouble of hoeing the garden, digging the potatoes, preparing and
cooking the meals, eating and digesting. This distilled liquid goes
directly to the bloodstream and gives a quick rush of exhilaration. But
it is, in fact, poison. We are not constructed biologically or
spiritually for ingestion of this 100-proof stuff. We have
mental-emotional digestive systems with complicated interconnections
that notice and savor an enormous variety of words and sentences,
stories, and songs, runinatingly take them in and assimilate all the
vitamins, enzymes, and calories that give us healthy lives." Living the Message, p.95