recipes. whatever is true. adoption. whatever is just. redemption. whatever is honorable. modesty. whatever is pure. motherhood. whatever is lovely. think about it.

Monday, April 7, 2008

The Emergent Movement: Part One

Faced with such opposition and the pressure it brings, postmodernism is a form of intellectual pacifism that, at the end of the day, recommends backgammon while the barbarians are at the gate. It is the easy, cowardly way out that removes the pressure to engage alternative conceptual schemes, to be different, to risk ridicule, to take a stand outside the gate. But it is precisely as disciples of Christ, even more, as officers in his army, that the pacifist way out is simply not an option. However comforting it may be, postmodernism is the cure that kills the patient, the military strategy that concedes defeat before the first shot is fired, the ideology that undermines its own claim to allegiance. And it is an immoral, coward’s way out that is not worthy of a movement born out of the martyrs’ blood.

J. P Moreland

Have you noticed lately that the topic of much debate in the church is whether or not absolute truth matters? Whether or not the Bible is free of error? It has been said that as believers, we should be assured that our faith is true, but that we can't be certain of it; or that belief of the virgin birth is not essential to our Christianity; or lack of a literal Hell; inability to accept a six literal day creation; the list goes on and on.

God has given us his Word, the Holy Spirit, the Law written on our conscience and conviction to show Himself to us. We have not blindly accepted the truth of the Bible, but rather it's truth has been revealed to us as we search, read and witness first hand in creation. Until we are in eternity we will always be searching to know more about God and his nature, but to continue to question the foundation of our faith gives proof that it has not yet been fully embraced by the seeker.

The Emergent movement is quickly creeping in the churchwith ideology that absolutely conflicts to the foundations of our faith and knowledge of truth. I am going to take the next few posts to give you a background of what exactly the basis of this moment is founded upon, the influential leaders in our culture and the problematic theology in the context of scripture.

The emerging church (also known as the emergent church movement) is a Christian movement of the late 20th and early 21st century whose participants seek to engage postmodern people, especially the unchurched and post-churched.

Dr. R. Todd Mangum, Associate Professor of Theology and Dean of Faculty at Biblical Seminary, describes it this way:

“Emergent” is a loosely knit group of people in conversation about and trying experiments in forwarding the ministry of Jesus in new and different ways, as the people of God in a post-Christian context. From there, wide diversity abounds. “Emergents” seem to share one common trait: disillusionment with the organized, institutional church as it has existed through the 20th century (whether fundamentalist, liberal, megachurch, or tall-steeple liturgical)."

Any text such as the Bible takes on a personal meaning as they experience it, but it has no objective, authoritative meaning such as authorial intent to distinguish a right from wrong interpretation. A plurality of Scriptural interpretations is acknowledged in the emerging church movement. Emergent Village leader Tony Jones says “We must stop looking for some objective Truth that is available when we delve into the text of the Bible.”

Marcus Borg, for example, notes that individuals who have read the same Bible "literally" may have different accounts of the message of Christianity, which are often mutually exclusive. Borg claims that many aspects of people's lives, including their political beliefs and their surrounding culture can provide a "lens" that can distort the Bible and influence which parts of the Bible they take literally, and which parts they may ignore. The postmodern relativism which predominates the emerging church movement causes participants to believe there are radically diverse perspectives within "Christianity" that are valuable for humanity to progress toward truth as they understand it and a better resulting relationship with what they understand to be God. They believe this non-dogmatism coupled with a liberal social agenda will facilitate harmony with the rest of God's creation (other people and the rest of the universe).

The previous portion of italicized text can be found in full context at: . I think that you can get a very firm grasp of someone's theology based on their interpretation (or lack thereof) of absolute truth. Do you understand the depth of what this group is proposing? We'll explore affect on the modern day the in the church in Part II.


Melissa @ The Inspired Room said...

Thanks, I'll be tuning in! I just found you from Nester.


Tracy said...

I am glad you are posting about this.