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mcgyver
Jul 18th 2008, 05:36 PM
Romans 14:19
Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.

Time for a little Edification :)

We hear the term "Emergent Church" all the time, but yet there are many who have no idea of just what an EC is...What they espouse, Why they espouse what they do, etc.

Each church "movement" whether for good or bad has certain "hallmarks" or "distinctions".

I personally consider the EC to be a "dangerous" movement, but I'm going to place in abeyance for a moment my reasons for so thinking in order to ask the following questions:

What do you consider to be the "hallmarks" of an EC?

How can one recognize an Emergent Church?

Do you feel that they are a good or a bad thing?

Lastly, What are they doing right/wrong?

Feel free to address any or all of these questions...:)

keck553
Jul 18th 2008, 05:45 PM
Sorry for my ignorance, but what is an "Emergent Church"?

Bethany67
Jul 18th 2008, 06:25 PM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emergent_church

A dear friend of mine pastors what I would class an Emergent Church in Salem MA. His desire is to reach out to the Pagan and Wiccan population, who are so often feared and ignored by more traditional evangelicals. They're very active during Halloween week when thousands of people go to Salem to celebrate the witch history there. In my opinion he doesn't ever 'fluff' the Gospel, but his style is very much based on friendship evangelism, rather than preaching on street corners. His church dialogues; they don't speak AT people.

They're pretty radical at times - I've seen them use Tarot cards (popular in Pagan circles), along with Psalm Reading (using the traditional features of palm reading ie. what the different handlines represent) to share the Gospel, and he tends to attract some condemnation from more traditional Christians.

I'd say the key features of an Emergent Church are at core evangelistic; they're not seeking to be alternative or trendy for the sake of it, but to present the Gospel in a way their hearers understand. I think of this as the modern corollary to Paul in Athens in Acts 17 using the altar to the unknown god to preach the Gospel.

Having said that, there's a whole spectrum of things that fall under the umbrella term, and it's well to be aware of the pitfalls and dangers. The biggest risk from my perspective is that in the desire to be culturally-relevant, the teaching may slide away from Biblical Christianity into a mushy watering-down for fear of offending. Unless the people really keep their eyes on God, and truth central, there's a risk of teaching a Gospel message that may tickle the ears but not convict of sin. In the early Nineties I was involved in an offshoot of the Nine O'Clock Service, an alternative worship service started in Sheffield UK under Anglican auspices, which sought to be radical and which went horribly wrong.

Here's an example of the worst that can happen when compromise gets a hold:

Link (http://www.shipoffools.com/mystery/1998/026Mystery.html)

But I haven't seen that with my friend; I've walked with him through the city, into the Pagan and Satanist and occult shops, and seen what good relations he has with the resident people. They'll drop in to the church for coffee, discussions, borrow books from the church library. When they're in hospital or in trouble, it's him they call for help and prayer, not their community leaders. And his church is seeing results.

Whenever he and his youth group have stayed with us in the UK, I've seen my Pagan friends be blown away by this Christian guy who's not afraid of being different, and who treats them as real people, not evil things to be feared. He's invited to speak at Pagan gatherings about his faith and the church he pastors, and you'll know how unheard-of that is if you're at all aware of how Pagans regard evangelical Christians. They really love him, and my best friend in particular looks to him for spiritual input, although she's not yet a Christian. He's probably my Pagan husband's best friend and father-figure; the Pagans will discuss and listen to him in a way they wouldn't even remotely consider with a traditional pastor. This is a guy who shares the full gospel and works in the power and under the prompting of the Holy Spirit. I have no trouble endorsing his church and what they do.

Here are a couple of similar ventures from London UK reaching out to the Goth subculture:

http://www.gloriousundead.com/

http://www.asylumlondon.com/

mizzdy
Jul 18th 2008, 06:46 PM
What do you consider to be the "hallmarks" of an EC?

There are more than a few 'hallmarks' I think. Some of these churches believe they must get back to the first century chuch and use drumming and such. Many of these churches seem to be going back to Mary worship also. The 'many paths' to Christ is a big one in the EC. I have also read where the bible isn't used as the word of God but as a guideline of sorts since it seems we really don't know what is in the origional manuscripts. Recognizing an EC may be hard for new believers but if I were to walk into one of these and see all the candles in a darkened room that just may alert my spidey senses. :) One video I saw there were couches and recliners with one chair in the middle and its more or less a 'service' where everyone talks and asks questions, I didn't see one bible in use either. I see this as a bad thing.

daughter
Jul 18th 2008, 06:58 PM
Bethany, that sermon where Jesus wasn't mentioned once isn't that unusual. Last year at Easter I was practically in tears after the vicar (not my current church) delivered a sermon about the easter bunny, daffodils and eggs... he even mentioned oestre and reincarnation... but not once Jesus.

I've had run ins with a local emergent group, and in the end I have had to part ways with them, because the guy who runs the group (not so much the others though) doesn't believe in sin, thinks hell is irrelevant, etc etc...

Well, you can probably guess what it's like.

Bethany67
Jul 18th 2008, 07:00 PM
Bethany, that sermon where Jesus wasn't mentioned once isn't that unusual. Last year at Easter I was practically in tears after the vicar (not my current church) delivered a sermon about the easter bunny, daffodils and eggs... he even mentioned oestre and reincarnation... but not once Jesus.

I've had run ins with a local emergent group, and in the end I have had to part ways with them, because the guy who runs the group (not so much the others though) doesn't believe in sin, thinks hell is irrelevant, etc etc...

Well, you can probably guess what it's like.

Yeah I can guess what it's like. It's not just the emergent churches that can be apostate.

Next March, come down to us to meet Pastor Phil and the Salem contingent :)

apothanein kerdos
Jul 18th 2008, 07:03 PM
Oh, my forte!

I just posted a topic about a conference run by Tony Jones and Doug Pagitt (two emergent leaders) and even interviewed them. Likewise, I have stayed up to date on my reading of emergent material, including the philosophical influences (including some that even some Emergents aren't aware of...but are still influenced by due to the 'trickle-down' effect). With all that said:


What do you consider to be the "hallmarks" of an EC?

Defining the EC is like trying to nail jello to the wall. However, here are some of the defining marks I've seen:

- Disdain toward the modern church

- Emphasizes loving people, but de-emphasizes evangelism

- Cares more about what people get out of Scripture than what Scripture really means

- Unwillingness to use terms "absolute" in defining doctrine or truth

- Believes truth is experienced but cannot be known via a system of thinking

- Very distrustful of anything 'modern' within Christianity

- Big emphasis on helping the poor and oppressed

- Pastor converses with the church, doesn't preach to them

- Denies or de-emphasizes the sin of humanity; believes most sin is a result of a person's upbringing

- Denies the existence of Hell; won't talk about Heaven and Hell, only concerned about 'the now'

Those are just a few of the signs I've seen in my studies and experience.


How can one recognize an Emergent Church?

Look above. :)


Do you feel that they are a good or a bad thing?

Both. It's good because the Church really needs to wake up and realize that there is a world that is physically suffering and we've neglected them. We've become too comfortable and we need things shaken up. We need to stop just presenting the Gospel and also help their physical needs as well, regardless of their response to the Gospel.

Likewise, the EC has been extremely helpful in showing how modernism has slipped into Christianity too much - in our worship style, church structure, and even theology.

It's bad for the following reasons:

(1) In its embracing of existentialism, nihilism, and postmodernism (which, really, is hyper-modernism or ultra-modernism). They've embraced people like Barth, Bulmann, Bonhoffer, Kierkegaard, Jaspers, and other neo-orthodox/theistic existentialist (though not the same, they're close enough that I'll refer to both for brevity's sake). What this means is that the place a chasm between faith and reason. Reason is seen as opposed to faith or at least subjected to it. Thus, whenever we run into reasoning or evidence that runs contrary to the Christian faith, we are still supposed to believe it.

The problem with the above of course is that God calls us to pursue knowledge, wisdom, and reasoning. I don't have time to look up the passages, but Peter tells us to reason through our faith (in fact, faith simply means "trust in what is known," not "belief in things unseen") and Proverbs tells us to seek wisdom and knowledge. This runs contrary to Existentialism. This, of course, is merely one branch of the EC (where I'd place Tony Jones, Doug Pagitt, Rob Bell, Donald Miller, and others).

The second group is far more grotesque in their theology. The above group are still Christians, though misguided. This group, unfortunately, are not Christians at all. These are the EC people who have bought into "Christian nihilism" or "religion without religion." Jacques Derrida is the philosophical father of this movement. From Jacques we get John "Jack" Caputo and Gianni Vattimo (almost unheard of in the US, but he helped influence Caputo). Both Caputo and Vattimo, following nihilistic trends (that all authority or authoritarian type beings and systems) teach that God is not the "know-all, see-all, all-powerful" God - such a belief is merely a social construct.

The reason they are important is because they have helped influence Brian McLaren and Peter Rollins. Rollins isn't known in America (that much), but McLaren is looked at as the poster child for the EC. McLaren, however, is far more radical than Jones or Pagitt in that he buys more into the nihilistic version of the EC than Jones or Pagitt do.

(2) It devalues the idea of propositional truth within the Bible. Propositional truth simply means truth can be 'reduced' down to a knowledge system - it can be known without being experienced (though the experience adds to and clarifies truth statements). Such truth is known from the Bible - we can explain truth, we can defend it, etc.

(3) It devalues evangelism.


Lastly, What are they doing right/wrong?

What they're doing wrong is what Christians have done wrong for quite some time - they're making humanity the center of their theology. The Catholic Church, prior to the Reformation, was becoming more and more human centered in its theology (due to the influence of the Renaissance and Italian humanism). This, of course, led to some weird and heretical concepts. Then the Enlightenment came along and it was the Protestant's turn to buy into humanism (or human centeredness). The Enlightenment thinkers attempted to argue that reason alone would perfect our faith and that we didn't need Scripture. The postmoderns are merely doing the same way - humans cannot discover truth, therefore truth cannot be known, only experienced. It never crosses their mind that it is God that imparts truth onto humans, thus meaning humans are not the center of everything.

Anytime God is not the starting point for our theology, our theology is bound to be full of error and heresy.

daughter
Jul 18th 2008, 07:11 PM
Interesting what you say about McLaren. I think the group leader of the EC "community" I was briefly part of thinks McLaren is "cutting edge" theology. He was always talking about making Christianity "edgy"... I stopped going when the group came out with it and said "our remit is to make God relevant in modern society..."

MAKE God relevant? He's the only relevant thing in the whole universe! What are they playing at!!!

mcgyver
Jul 18th 2008, 08:15 PM
Thanks for the replies!

I'll be back in a bit (I'm in and out here today) but please keep posting. :)

apothanein kerdos
Jul 18th 2008, 08:31 PM
Interesting what you say about McLaren. I think the group leader of the EC "community" I was briefly part of thinks McLaren is "cutting edge" theology. He was always talking about making Christianity "edgy"... I stopped going when the group came out with it and said "our remit is to make God relevant in modern society..."

MAKE God relevant? He's the only relevant thing in the whole universe! What are they playing at!!!

That's what Tony said too - he wants a faith that is relevant to the culture. They both miss the fact that our job isn't to make God relevant to the culture, but instead make the culture relevant to God.

keck553
Jul 18th 2008, 09:32 PM
Yikes.

I'll just stick to doing what God says.

There's nothing wrong at all with ministering to pagans and wiccans, but neither Jesus nor His Talmidim, including Paul practiced any sinful habits, pagan rites or traditions.

SpokenFor
Jul 19th 2008, 12:53 AM
Here's my quick rundown of what I see the beliefs of the EC are:

1. Seeker-friendly with a watered down gospel message.
2. promote ecumenism with the New Age thought of one world, one church.
3. all about the "feelings" and "experience
4. embraces a plurality of interpretations of the Bible, including those from other religions.
5. believe that all roads lead to heaven and that one can be a Hindu-Christian, Muslim-Christian, pagan-christian, etc.
6. promote contemplative prayer
7. do not believe the Bible to be inerrant

SIG
Jul 19th 2008, 04:19 AM
My church has planted two local churches here in the last few years, and I am sorry to say they both have trappings of EC congregations.

Both are led by young pastors; both are trying to reach out to somewhat skeptical subcultures (college students and hippies). Both, I fear, may be tailoring the Gospel to attempt to make it more attractive...

(The chief planter/pastor of one of these congregations is currently non-functional after a traumatic accident that has had him suffering from PTSS for the past year. My choice of psychological terms here is not accidental, as he is seeking help in those realms. I have told folks I think he is suffering from Post-Modern Stress Syndrome).

The gospel unadulterated is sufficient to save anyone from any culture at any time. This involves a transaction between God and one soul. We are not clever enough to make what is supernaturally attractive MORE attractive. By trying to do so, we rob the message of its inherent power.

apothanein kerdos
Jul 19th 2008, 04:42 AM
My church has planted two local churches here in the last few years, and I am sorry to say they both have trappings of EC congregations.

Both are led by young pastors; both are trying to reach out to somewhat skeptical subcultures (college students and hippies). Both, I fear, may be tailoring the Gospel to attempt to make it more attractive...

(The chief planter/pastor of one of these congregations is currently non-functional after a traumatic accident that has had him suffering from PTSS for the past year. My choice of psychological terms here is not accidental, as he is seeking help in those realms. I have told folks I think he is suffering from Post-Modern Stress Syndrome).

The gospel unadulterated is sufficient to save anyone from any culture at any time. This involves a transaction between God and one soul. We are not clever enough to make what is supernaturally attractive MORE attractive. By trying to do so, we rob the message of its inherent power.

The problem is they embrace postmodernism without realizing that postmodernism, as a philosophy, is dying out and losing credibility within the academic community (at least in philosophy departments - it still reigns supreme in other fields of the humanities).

As an acquaintance of mine has said, "These days post-modern philosophy haunts American universities like the undead haunt shopping malls in George A. Romero's zombie films. It's dead, but somehow it doesn't know it: it just trudges along, bumping into walls here and there, groaning the same futile arguments over and over, and still managing to take a bite into the brains of those most vulnerable --the young, the curious, the ill-informed."

The question we have is why are people being drawn to it and what can we do about it?

In all honesty, the reason people are drawn to the EC is because the Church has pushed them there. When the EC criticizes the actions and structure of the Church, they are - unfortunately - correct in their analysis (most of the time). We have churches that are more concerned about growth plans than about feeding the hungry. They are more concerned about claiming blessings than being a blessing to the world. People join the EC because they are rightfully disillusioned with the modern Church. They are justifiably disgruntled Christians.

The best response to the EC is the true Gospel. Tony Jones was partially right when he said that truth isn't some concept that floats above our heads and that we grasp onto. Though truth can be known propositionally and exists within the mind of God, truth also requires actions. For instance, if we truly believe that God created this world in 6 days, or 6,000 years, or 6,000,000 years, or 6,000,000,000 years, then why do we pollute it? Truth would dictate that if we love the Creator that we would also love the creation - not to the same level, but with some amount of respect.

If we honestly believe that God created all humans in His image, then shouldn't it follow that we help the poor, distressed, oppressed, orphans, and widows? Not for the end goal being an evangelistic opportunity, but instead let the helping be an end in and of itself (helping would include taking care of both physical and spiritual needs). Why do we treat people as ends to an evangelistic mean when the Bible teaches that all humans are endowed with intrinsic value?

If you really want to challenge the EC, then start believing in truth, teaching truth, and living truth.

Scubadude
Jul 19th 2008, 05:57 PM
hi, mcgyver

Interesting thread. You've commented before about your distrust of the EC. I am in agreement to some extent. But I'm curious why you feel this way, enough to start a thread on the subject.

My in-laws attend an EC church in Westford MA, called Grace Community Church. http://www.grace-community.org/index.php
The pastor studied under Rob Bell, author of the Velvet Elvis (a good read, btw). I've listened to the audio sermons for myself, and I don't get what many of you are saying. Not the descriptions of what an EC looks like (I don't care to defend EC. It isn't my calling), but the sense of demonization I'm hearing from many comments. Maybe that's too strong a statement? In any case, I've seen many churches (before I ever heard of EC) try to repackage Jesus, try to make Him 'relevant'. Making the floundering church's in America out to be EC because of their silly attempts to repackage Jesus would be a misdirection of valuable energy, IMO. While I have no interest in trying to characterize an EC, I doubt they are a problem. Better for the local church's to focus on repenting from their own wickedness, instead of pointing at another's. Just my opinion.

mcgyver
Jul 19th 2008, 06:49 PM
hi, mcgyver

Interesting thread. You've commented before about your distrust of the EC. I am in agreement to some extent. But I'm curious why you feel this way, enough to start a thread on the subject.

My in-laws attend an EC church in Westford MA, called Grace Community Church. http://www.grace-community.org/index.php
The pastor studied under Rob Bell, author of the Velvet Elvis (a good read, btw). I've listened to the audio sermons for myself, and I don't get what many of you are saying. Not the descriptions of what an EC looks like (I don't care to defend EC. It isn't my calling), but the sense of demonization I'm hearing from many comments. Maybe that's too strong a statement? In any case, I've seen many churches (before I ever heard of EC) try to repackage Jesus, try to make Him 'relevant'. Making the floundering church's in America out to be EC because of their silly attempts to repackage Jesus would be a misdirection of valuable energy, IMO. While I have no interest in trying to characterize an EC, I doubt they are a problem. Better for the local church's to focus on repenting from their own wickedness, instead of pointing at another's. Just my opinion.

Hi Scuba!

To answer your question :):

I think that there is a definite difference between a church that tries to "reach people where they're at" (so to speak) yet does not compromise the Gospel message...The Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Cor 9 that:

"For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, Now this I do for the gospelís sake, that I may be partaker of it with that I might by all means save some. you."

But there is a definite problem with with a church that is so into "reaching people" that they water down or change the message of the Gospel to fill their ranks. Going back to our friend Paul:

Galatians 1

"I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.
For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ."

We have all the authority under Heaven to preach the Gospel...We have NO authority to change the Gospel.

The term "Emergent Church" has come to take on certain connotations and has in fact been recognized as a "Movement".

The purpose of this thread is simply to "see what they're all about"...What they believe, how they "do what they do" etc.

Or more simply: "What exactly makes them an EC?"

Hope that answered your question. :)

apothanein kerdos
Jul 19th 2008, 09:11 PM
hi, mcgyver

Interesting thread. You've commented before about your distrust of the EC. I am in agreement to some extent. But I'm curious why you feel this way, enough to start a thread on the subject.

My in-laws attend an EC church in Westford MA, called Grace Community Church. http://www.grace-community.org/index.php
The pastor studied under Rob Bell, author of the Velvet Elvis (a good read, btw). I've listened to the audio sermons for myself, and I don't get what many of you are saying. Not the descriptions of what an EC looks like (I don't care to defend EC. It isn't my calling), but the sense of demonization I'm hearing from many comments. Maybe that's too strong a statement? In any case, I've seen many churches (before I ever heard of EC) try to repackage Jesus, try to make Him 'relevant'. Making the floundering church's in America out to be EC because of their silly attempts to repackage Jesus would be a misdirection of valuable energy, IMO. While I have no interest in trying to characterize an EC, I doubt they are a problem. Better for the local church's to focus on repenting from their own wickedness, instead of pointing at another's. Just my opinion.

Velvet Elvis is probably one of the worst books ever written about Christianity that was popularly consumed.

The big worry and concern about the EC is that they're repeating a lot of mistakes. Though we should be concerned with our individual lives, it doesn't follow that we can't be concerned about how Christianity as a whole is holding up. If this were the case, we must wonder what Paul was doing.

Scubadude
Jul 20th 2008, 09:00 AM
The big worry and concern about the EC is that they're repeating a lot of mistakes.

Many of the things I keep hearing on this thread sound just like the church I stopped attending 10 years ago; watered down gospel, repackaged Jesus, making God relevant. What ever the EC is (and I am resisting the temptation to research the EC and find out what they are from some other biased sources), it can't be everything you all are saying it is. Because, I've been a Christian for a long time, and most everything you are talking about are the things I struggled with in local churches long before EC was ever coined. Stop projecting the problems of the modern day church on some mythical black sheep. Take some responsibility for the problems society has with Christ because church has become meaningless to more and more people. People are leaving the church, not because they are losing their faith, but in an effort to preserve their faith.

Aside from the fact that I have a lot of respect for my in-laws, who happen to be far more conservative in their beliefs than me (and much older), I don't care to defend some-thing I don't have an opinion on. Even though they attend a church that was influenced directly by Rob Bell, The Velvet Elvis, they don't strike me as anything any of you are talking about. So, I have to decide, either all your opinions are biased for some personal reason (maybe fear?), you are all just trying to find something to connect on, even if it involves gossip (yum, those tasty morsels!), or I am such a pore judge of character that I should be pitied, and my in-laws are snickering about how they have me fooled. Isn't there anyone out there who has a mildly fond understanding of EC? I guess I just don't want to think my in-laws are so stupid.

daughter
Jul 20th 2008, 09:15 AM
I'm sorry if I've misunderstood, but you seem to be really angry and to have fixed on negatives... even though Bethany pointed out both pros and cons of the Emergent Church.

Nobody has mentioned your inlaws, or said that ALL Emergent Churches are apostate. Why have you allowed yourself to get into such a state? Now we're all gossips refusing to take responsibility for the sins of society? That seems a bit of a stretch.

Scubadude
Jul 20th 2008, 09:33 AM
I think that there is a definite difference between a church that tries to "reach people where they're at" (so to speak) yet does not compromise the Gospel message..............................

The purpose of this thread is simply to "see what they're all about"...What they believe, how they "do what they do" etc.


Hope that answered your question. :)


No, it didn't answer my question. I was more interested in why you are asking the question. You already said you personally consider them to be dangerous. It sounds like there is an interesting background to your question, and was hoping to hear why you have such strong feelings against them. I wasn't asking where in scripture does Paul condemn another gospel besides the one we have been given. I can find that on my own (though it's nice to be reminded ;)). Where within EC doctrine do you see the gospel message compromised? I think you are bringing up a good topic, and I intend to start researching it.

Scubadude
Jul 20th 2008, 09:42 AM
I'm sorry if I've misunderstood, but you seem to be really angry and to have fixed on negatives... even though Bethany pointed out both pros and cons of the Emergent Church.

Nobody has mentioned your inlaws, or said that ALL Emergent Churches are apostate. Why have you allowed yourself to get into such a state? Now we're all gossips refusing to take responsibility for the sins of society? That seems a bit of a stretch.

I'm not angry. Why would you say I'm angry?

apothanein kerdos
Jul 20th 2008, 03:21 PM
Many of the things I keep hearing on this thread sound just like the church I stopped attending 10 years ago; watered down gospel, repackaged Jesus, making God relevant. What ever the EC is (and I am resisting the temptation to research the EC and find out what they are from some other biased sources), it can't be everything you all are saying it is. Because, I've been a Christian for a long time, and most everything you are talking about are the things I struggled with in local churches long before EC was ever coined. Stop projecting the problems of the modern day church on some mythical black sheep. Take some responsibility for the problems society has with Christ because church has become meaningless to more and more people. People are leaving the church, not because they are losing their faith, but in an effort to preserve their faith.

Aside from the fact that I have a lot of respect for my in-laws, who happen to be far more conservative in their beliefs than me (and much older), I don't care to defend some-thing I don't have an opinion on. Even though they attend a church that was influenced directly by Rob Bell, The Velvet Elvis, they don't strike me as anything any of you are talking about. So, I have to decide, either all your opinions are biased for some personal reason (maybe fear?), you are all just trying to find something to connect on, even if it involves gossip (yum, those tasty morsels!), or I am such a pore judge of character that I should be pitied, and my in-laws are snickering about how they have me fooled. Isn't there anyone out there who has a mildly fond understanding of EC? I guess I just don't want to think my in-laws are so stupid.

So even though I used to be emergent, have read every single major work (and almost every single minor work) that is pro-emergent, have visited multiple EC churches recently to see how they practice and believe Christianity, and even interviewed two of the biggest proponents and leaders, you're saying that I don't know what's going on?

Even though I brought up the positives and pointed out how such a movement was needed, you think I'm just demonizing it?

Even though I pointed out exactly how it is causing the problems I accused it of, you accuse me of creating a black sheep?

Though your entire interaction with the EC is based solely upon your in-laws interaction with it while mine is from personal experience (both when I was a part of it and now when I visit EC churches), plus interviews, plus hours upon hours of reading and research, you're going to say your one experience trumps everything I've done?

Finally, have you read The Weakness of God, have you read What Would Jesus Deconstruct, have you read How (Not) To Speak of God, have you read The Fidelity of Betrayal, or how about A Generous Orthodoxy, or maybe Everything Must Change? I could go on and on, but the fact is I've read EC material and even the deep philosophical underpinnings of it. Do you realize their influences come from the neo-orthodox movement (not something I'm making up; this is by confession of their own mouth)? Do you realize a lot of their philosophical influence comes from people such as Derrida and Lyotard?

My point in all of this isn't to say, "Oh, look at me and how marvelous a job I've done at researching." None of this would be possible without the grace of God - which I needed to pull me out of the EC. My ultimate point in all of this is maybe your one experience is skewed in this possibility - your in-laws just aren't all that aware of what their pastor believes or don't fully understand the threat themselves. This happens quite a bit and is not uncommon.

The fact is, I've put hours upon hours of research into this movement and probably have the fairest view of it (Tony Jones even labeled me a 'friendly critic' and said I'm one of the first people he's met that actually understands what's going on with the EC after I explained my critiques to him). I don't think it's fair to brush all that aside simply because your in-laws have had one experience with one church.

If you want I can send you a link to two articles that deal with the 'lighter' side of the EC and the 'darker' side of the EC.

Athanasius
Jul 20th 2008, 03:28 PM
Many of the things I keep hearing on this thread sound just like the church I stopped attending 10 years ago; watered down gospel, repackaged Jesus, making God relevant. What ever the EC is (and I am resisting the temptation to research the EC and find out what they are from some other biased sources), it can't be everything you all are saying it is. Because, I've been a Christian for a long time, and most everything you are talking about are the things I struggled with in local churches long before EC was ever coined. Stop projecting the problems of the modern day church on some mythical black sheep. Take some responsibility for the problems society has with Christ because church has become meaningless to more and more people. People are leaving the church, not because they are losing their faith, but in an effort to preserve their faith.

Aside from the fact that I have a lot of respect for my in-laws, who happen to be far more conservative in their beliefs than me (and much older), I don't care to defend some-thing I don't have an opinion on. Even though they attend a church that was influenced directly by Rob Bell, The Velvet Elvis, they don't strike me as anything any of you are talking about. So, I have to decide, either all your opinions are biased for some personal reason (maybe fear?), you are all just trying to find something to connect on, even if it involves gossip (yum, those tasty morsels!), or I am such a pore judge of character that I should be pitied, and my in-laws are snickering about how they have me fooled. Isn't there anyone out there who has a mildly fond understanding of EC? I guess I just don't want to think my in-laws are so stupid.

I don't think it's any of the above. I think you believe you're familiar with the emergent church but not as much as you believe you are. There's no bias, there's no attempt to connect, there's no gossip. You're in laws aren't snickering, and you probably shouldn't be pitied.

Your in-laws aren't stupid... Just decieved.
You're allowed to become angry with that comment, it was very blunt. I don't even know if it's the right thing to say, I don't know them. But with that said, if they are part of the emergent church and are 'fine' with it, I would say they are indeed decieved.

Scubadude
Jul 20th 2008, 07:03 PM
So even though I used to be emergent, have read every single major work (and almost every single minor work) that is pro-emergent, have visited multiple EC churches recently to see how they practice and believe Christianity, and even interviewed two of the biggest proponents and leaders, you're saying that I don't know what's going on?

Nope. What I'm saying is I've been a Christian for a long time, and most everything you are talking about are the things I struggled with in local churches long before EC was ever coined. God is infinitely creative and has found as many ways to express Himself, if scripture and hystory is any indication. I just don't want to be in a position of telling God how He is allowed to move in the world. Are you saying EC is anti-God?



Even though I brought up the positives and pointed out how such a movement was needed, you think I'm just demonizing it?

I said that demonizing might be too strong a statement. How did you point out how such a movement was needed? You are saying that you poined out the positives? What I remember you saying is "The question we have is why are people being drawn to it and what can we do about it?" That sounds like a call to arms, to me. I may have missed you pointing out the positives.



Even though I pointed out exactly how it is causing the problems I accused it of, you accuse me of creating a black sheep?

Yes. You haven't made any criticisms that can't be said about churches in general, and making the EC the one to bear all those sins is the definition of 'black sheep'.



Though your entire interaction with the EC is based solely upon your in-laws interaction with it while mine is from personal experience (both when I was a part of it and now when I visit EC churches), plus interviews, plus hours upon hours of reading and research, you're going to say your one experience trumps everything I've done?

I'm not competing with you. I can't speak to your experiences. I don't know why you are on this crusade against EC. Are you saying that my experiences with my in-laws and their church (when we visit MA) is insignificant?


Finally, have you read The Weakness of God, have you read What Would Jesus Deconstruct, have you read How (Not) To Speak of God, have you read The Fidelity of Betrayal, or how about A Generous Orthodoxy, or maybe Everything Must Change? I could go on and on, but the fact is I've read EC material and even the deep philosophical underpinnings of it. Do you realize their influences come from the neo-orthodox movement (not something I'm making up; this is by confession of their own mouth)? Do you realize a lot of their philosophical influence comes from people such as Derrida and Lyotard?

No I haven't read those works, but I will. I know Derrida is into deconstruction of thought, but have never heard of Lyotard. From your question, I'm taking it that these are bad men and their thoughts are to be feared?


My point in all of this isn't to say, "Oh, look at me and how marvelous a job I've done at researching." None of this would be possible without the grace of God - which I needed to pull me out of the EC. My ultimate point in all of this is maybe your one experience is skewed in this possibility - your in-laws just aren't all that aware of what their pastor believes or don't fully understand the threat themselves. This happens quite a bit and is not uncommon.

Why? Why is it not uncommon? There is something about EC that is attractive to many people. At first blush, I would say that one of the things that is attractive with EC is I don't get the idea 'they' are telling anybody how to think or believe. It is one thing to pursue God's will and understand where He is leading, and another to simply resign my thoughts to someone else who has already done a lot of thinking on the subject. It is the common church way of doing things. The pastor does all the studying for the parishioners, and if they like his personality, they chose to believe as he does. Many people are leaving the church, not because they are losing their faith, but in an effort to preserve their faith.


The fact is, I've put hours upon hours of research into this movement and probably have the fairest view of it (Tony Jones even labeled me a 'friendly critic' and said I'm one of the first people he's met that actually understands what's going on with the EC after I explained my critiques to him). I don't think it's fair to brush all that aside simply because your in-laws have had one experience with one church.

I'm not brushing anything aside. I'm saying that I know my in-laws, and they are highly educated, well read, very experienced and successful individuals who parented 3 children (all very intelligent and successful. One of whom I married). I've been to the church a few times when we can afford the trip. I even listened to the audio from the web site I posted, and don't hear what you are talking about. What I hear from you and most posters (not everyone. If my comments don't relate to you, why get mad at them?) is everything that can be said about church's in general. I'm not hearing anything like an EC statement of faith, or a manifesto?

If you want I can send you a link to two articles that deal with the 'lighter' side of the EC and the 'darker' side of the EC.[/quote]

I would be interested in that. But, I might not agree with all your conclusions.

Scubadude
Jul 20th 2008, 07:26 PM
I don't think it's any of the above. I think you believe you're familiar with the emergent church but not as much as you believe you are. There's no bias, there's no attempt to connect, there's no gossip. You're in laws aren't snickering, and you probably shouldn't be pitied.

Maybe you're right. Maybe I'm the one who is deceived because I don't see my in-laws moving in the dangerous direction posters on this thread are suggesting. You intended to be gracious, and that's very nice. But if I can't see what is in front of everyone's eyes, than I am to be pitied.



Your in-laws aren't stupid... Just decieved.
You're allowed to become angry with that comment, it was very blunt. I don't even know if it's the right thing to say, I don't know them. But with that said, if they are part of the emergent church and are 'fine' with it, I would say they are indeed decieved.

Why would you say 'deceived'? Your comment doesn't make me angry, just sad that you don't know my in-laws. Still, not one specific about EC that can't be said of church's in general. It causes me pause. The problems are much closer to home, Xel'Naga.

apothanein kerdos
Jul 20th 2008, 07:38 PM
Nope. What I'm saying is I've been a Christian for a long time, and most everything you are talking about are the things I struggled with in local churches long before EC was ever coined. God is infinitely creative and has found as many ways to express Himself, if scripture and hystory is any indication. I just don't want to be in a position of telling God how He is allowed to move in the world. Are you saying EC is anti-God?

Please, for the sake of sanity, tell me your "hystory" misspelling was just a typo and not a hat nod to radical feminism. If it was a hat nod, then I think I've found the problem in your view of the EC. If it is just a typo, then I'll certainly be less worried.

As for seeing it happen, I agree that it's been around for a while. The EC is the 'popular man's' neo-orthodoxy. Whereas the Neo-Orthodox movement swept through seminaries at the turn of the century, essentially killing them off, the EC is a 'dumbed-down' version of the Neo-Orthodox movement.

This is why it looks and feels so familiar, yet it is different in many ways. For one, it's embrace of nihilism is new and unique and has never once occurred before in Christianity.

Do I feel the EC is anti-God? Yes, I do. Though used by God to waken up His elect, and though some of the elect find themselves stuck in the EC, the deeper leaders, the philosophical underpinnings, and the theological views are most certainly anti-God.



I said that demonizing might be too strong a statement. How did you point out how such a movement was needed? You are saying that you poined out the positives? What I remember you saying is "The question we have is why are people being drawn to it and what can we do about it?" That sounds like a call to arms, to me. I may have missed you pointing out the positives.

Well, when you come to post with an agenda, it's easy to miss significant points of what someone is trying to say. ;)

I stated:

t's good because the Church really needs to wake up and realize that there is a world that is physically suffering and we've neglected them. We've become too comfortable and we need things shaken up. We need to stop just presenting the Gospel and also help their physical needs as well, regardless of their response to the Gospel.

Likewise, the EC has been extremely helpful in showing how modernism has slipped into Christianity too much - in our worship style, church structure, and even theology.


Yes. You haven't made any criticisms that can't be said about churches in general, and making the EC the one to bear all those sins is the definition of 'black sheep'.

Did you even pay attention to anything I posted? Here are the negatives I posted:

(1) In its embracing of existentialism, nihilism, and postmodernism (which, really, is hyper-modernism or ultra-modernism).

Name one movement in the history of Christianity that has done this.

(2) It devalues the idea of propositional truth within the Bible.

This was only done through German higher criticism, which the EC embraces.

(3) It devalues evangelism.

Of the three things I listed, this is the only one that has universally been attacked through the ages. The second point is only about 200-300 years old. The first point is only about 20 years old.

Oh, and just for fun, here's another important thing you missed:

What they're doing wrong is what Christians have done wrong for quite some time - they're making humanity the center of their theology.

So I even acknowledged that some of the problems have been around for a while, but the way the EC manifests itself and some of the philosophical viewpoints it adopts are unique to this time period.

I'm not competing with you. I can't speak to your experiences. I don't know why you are on this crusade against EC. Are you saying that my experiences with my in-laws and their church (when we visit MA) is insignificant?

No, I'm saying your experience with your in-laws is either an anomaly, ignorant, or a misunderstanding. It is possible that your one experience somehow transcends all known facts of the situation, but it certainly isn't probable.


No I haven't read those works, but I will. I know Derrida is into deconstruction of thought, but have never heard of Lyotard. From your question, I'm taking it that these are bad men and their thoughts are to be feared?

Please, don't patronize me. Don't sit there and us childish terms such as "bad men" when discussing these philosophers, as though I am talking about the monster under my bed.

Lyotard is the postmodern thinker that is famous for summing up postmodernism as "incredulity toward metanarratives." In saying this, Lyotard is saying there is no one narrative story that can summarize or explain all of existence. If a Native American culture wishes to believe they descend from Buffalo People while a European Culture wants to believe we evolved, both are right and are merely sharing their cultural stories.

As for being feared, I don't fear anyone. I've studied these philosophers, read their works, and don't see anything fearsome about them. We should, however, be cautious and work to keep their thinking out of the Church if we actually love Christ. If, however, we love ourselves more than we love Christ, I guess there shouldn't be a problem in allowing such thinking in the Church.


Why? Why is it not uncommon? There is something about EC that is attractive to many people. At first blush, I would say that one of the things that is attractive with EC is I don't get the idea 'they' are telling anybody how to think or believe. It is one thing to pursue God's will and understand where He is leading, and another to simply resign my thoughts to someone else who has already done a lot of thinking on the subject. It is the common church way of doing things. The pastor does all the studying for the parishioners, and if they like his personality, they chose to believe as he does. Many people are leaving the church, not because they are losing their faith, but in an effort to preserve their faith.

You're right - "stupid faith" is causing people to go to the EC. We're a lazy, stupid, narcissistic, arrogant, ignorant, unholy, sinful, and anti-God generation of people - this is why people like going to the EC because it feeds into that. It acts in complete autonomy (which is anti-God). It demolishes authority structures (which is anti-Scripture). The EC is drawing people in because it lets them be what they want to be - it turns into a Christianity they want to believe, not what Christianity is.


Before continuing, are you familiar with nihilism, weakness theology, neo-orthodoxy, or anything I've mentioned?

I probably wouldn't come across so harsh or rude if it weren't for the fact that you're sitting there, admitting your ignorance to this movement, yet trying to defend what you know nothing about. Do you realize how frustrating that is for someone that has taken the time and effort to actually study the movement?

Scubadude
Jul 20th 2008, 09:07 PM
Found this interview with Tony Jones. What strikes me as interesting is Tony Jones is asking some very good questions. I was expecting worse. Your statement, "Do you realize a lot of their philosophical influence comes from people such as Derrida and Lyotard?" had me juiced up for some nihilistic discourse. He says that every day he wakes up and takes up the lordship of Jesus Christ. That doesn't sound nihilistic, watered down or dangerous. That sounds wise.



http://www.apprising.org/archives/2008/02/tony_jones_inte.html

apothanein kerdos
Jul 20th 2008, 09:25 PM
Found this interview with Tony Jones. What strikes me as interesting is Tony Jones is asking some very good questions. I was expecting worse. Your statement, "Do you realize a lot of their philosophical influence comes from people such as Derrida and Lyotard?" had me juiced up for some nihilistic discourse. He says that every day he wakes up and takes up the lordship of Jesus Christ. That doesn't sound nihilistic, watered down or dangerous. That sounds wise.



http://www.apprising.org/archives/2008/02/tony_jones_inte.html



Once again, had you paid attention to my post you'd see that I didn't put him in the Nihilistic aspect of the EC, but instead in the Existential aspect.

Let me ask you, and please answer honestly - did you even read my post, or just glance through it and decide to start posting on what you thought you saw?

Again, I've read all the works of Nietzsche and read the partial works of Derrida, Lyotard, Baudrillard, and other Nihilistic postmodernists. I've also read Vattimo, Caputo, and other self-avowed "Christian Nihilists" and have read where McLaren has stated such thinking has influenced him.

Tony, Doug, and those guys are on the existential side of the EC - still Christians, but highly misguided. Though the majority of EC followers are in this aspect, many are moving over to the Nihilistic aspect (because it is the logical conclusion of what Tony, Doug, and others teach).

How have I not made this clear enough? Of, could it be, you're simply trying to find an argument?

ProjectPeter
Jul 20th 2008, 10:50 PM
Chill out folks. This thread shouldn't be causing this big a stink.

Scubadude
Jul 21st 2008, 12:28 AM
Like I said in the beginning, I have no intention of trying to defend the EC. I wouldn't know how to begin if I wanted to. It (what ever 'it' means) has no statement of faith, no organization other than a few people who are ok with being called a part of the EC movement. It is whatever someone wants it to be, good or bad. I think that is an answer to the OP. I guess EC is anything that is not good about the church today. ?

manichunter
Jul 21st 2008, 01:01 AM
Chill out folks. This thread shouldn't be causing this big a stink.


This true. We should be investigating as the Bereans did. God allows us to test things whether they are of God. I to see this need movement regarding some churches tailoring their messages to reach people. Should not Jesus be enough to draw all men. No man can come to Jesus unless the Father draws them.

We need to be patient to see what materializes from each individual EC group. God will not allow the false teachers and groups to abide in the future. If you look now. The United States government is investigating several large mega churches for legal violations against the non-profit codes. This type of thing will increase. In my city, the government past an ordinance that prevents any churches from being built. I thought it was crazy, but it is true.

IBWatching
Jul 21st 2008, 03:23 PM
...I've had run ins with a local emergent group, and in the end I have had to part ways with them, because the guy who runs the group (not so much the others though) doesn't believe in sin, thinks hell is irrelevant, etc etc...

Well, you can probably guess what it's like.

I am greatly saddened to see that this silliness has spread to the UK. :mad:

IBWatching
Jul 21st 2008, 03:30 PM
...Again, I've read all the works of Nietzsche...

Nietzsche... "God is dead"
God... Nietzsche is dead

:rofl:

mcgyver
Jul 21st 2008, 06:05 PM
No, it didn't answer my question. I was more interested in why you are asking the question. You already said you personally consider them to be dangerous. It sounds like there is an interesting background to your question, and was hoping to hear why you have such strong feelings against them. I wasn't asking where in scripture does Paul condemn another gospel besides the one we have been given. I can find that on my own (though it's nice to be reminded ;)). Where within EC doctrine do you see the gospel message compromised? I think you are bringing up a good topic, and I intend to start researching it.

Well, in a nutshell (and please keep in mind that this is from my own experiences):

The EC churches that I have personally "run into" have almost universally presented a watered down version of the Gospel...which is not the Gospel at all.

In particular...there is the message of "salvation without repentance", no call to discipleship, truth is relative and changeable, sin "ain't that bad" (I mean God loves us, right? :rolleyes:), and the Bible is mostly either: allegory or not "culturally relevant". The focus seems to be on man's wants/desires rather than on what God has declared...Changing to merge with the culture, instead of being light to that culture. I remember a sermon in particular about how we should not be "Odd For God" (his words) but blend in with the culture and not use "churchy" words like..."Sin"..."Hell"..."Redemption"..."lost"..."saved". I mean, if we tell people that they are "lost" in their "sin" and that "redemption" is "only" found in Jesus Christ; they may not want to come to church. :(

What I personally have seen is what I term "The sausage effect": It looks like a sausage...has the color of a sausage...but when you bite into it you find that the sausage skin was stuffed with fish! :P

As far as WHY I started this thread: If I'm wrong about the EC movement and the churches I've visited were simply anomalies, then I need to keep my mouth shut and repent of my thoughts...

BUT if I'm right about what I perceive about the movement, Then as Bible believing, born-again children of the Living God we need to be sounding the alarm...because people are buying into this heresy (there, I said it :lol:) left and right.

I've read some literature by the EC proponents, but I knew that there were people here who have studied the EC movement in depth, and I wanted their opinions.

So I asked. :)

apothanein kerdos
Jul 21st 2008, 06:41 PM
I am greatly saddened to see that this silliness has spread to the UK. :mad:

It actually began in Europe, though was slightly different in its origins. The EC has predominately become an American movement and there are different styles between the two (the UK's and Ireland's EC is far more nihilistic), but it really did originate in the UK.


Nietzsche... "God is dead"
God... Nietzsche is dead

:rofl:


I've heard this a few times and it is pretty funny.

Unfortunately, Nietzsche's complete quote is far more darker than this brief one: "God is dead...and we have killed Him." Basically, he was pointing out how the Christian church no longer used God and acted as though He wasn't needed. Nietzsche was, of course, pleased with this...but it is what happened.

ProjectPeter
Jul 21st 2008, 08:04 PM
He was spot on it it too (his analysis) by and large. What the old (dead) guy didn't realize... there's always that few and with few... God can do much.

Athanasius
Jul 21st 2008, 08:08 PM
Nietzsche... "God is dead"
God... Nietzsche is dead

:rofl:
(Blessed be the blades)
(Blessed be the scythes)

Dionysus, against the crucified.

Nietzsche, for all he said, was pretty bang on most of the time.

Scubadude
Jul 22nd 2008, 03:40 AM
(Blessed be the blades)
(Blessed be the scythes)

Dionysus, against the crucified.

Nietzsche, for all he said, was pretty bang on most of the time.

God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?

in section 125 ; The Madman



We create God in our image, find Him wanting, then destroy Him. You cannot believe in God because you have no ability to.

Flutecrafter
Jul 22nd 2008, 02:41 PM
Yeah I can guess what it's like. It's not just the emergent churches that can be apostate.

Next March, come down to us to meet Pastor Phil and the Salem contingent :)I'll second that, although I haven't seen Phil in ages.. :)

Bethany67
Jul 22nd 2008, 05:06 PM
Mark!!! Hello again :) Do you think there's any forum on the Net where I won't bump into you eventually? Mike says Hi :)

Athanasius
Jul 23rd 2008, 01:27 AM
God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?

in section 125 ; The Madman

We create God in our image, find Him wanting, then destroy Him. You cannot believe in God because you have no ability to.


I agree. I furthermore like what he said a bit further down:

Here the madman fell silent and looked again at his listeners: they, too, were silent and stared at him in astonishment. At last he threw his lantern to the ground, and it broke into pieces and went out. "I have come too early," he said then; "my time is not yet. This tremendous event is still on its way, still wandering—it has not yet reached the ears of men. Lightning and thunder require time; the light of the stars requires time; deeds, though done, still require time to be seen and heard. This deed is still more distant from them than the most distant stars—and yet they have done it themselves!"— It has been related further that on the same day the madman forced his way into several churches and there struck up his requiem aeternam deo. Led out and called to account, he is said always to have replied nothing but: "What after all are these churches now if they are not the tombs and sepulchers of God

-Nietzsche, The Gay Science, 125; The Madman.

Flutecrafter
Jul 23rd 2008, 02:30 AM
Mark!!! Hello again :) Do you think there's any forum on the Net where I won't bump into you eventually? Mike says Hi :)
LOL
prolly not a single one. :)
Not that I have as much time to run forums as I used to. :)
*waves at Mike*

Scubadude
Jul 23rd 2008, 05:03 AM
I remember a sermon in particular about how we should not be "Odd For God" (his words) but blend in with the culture and not use "churchy" words like... "Sin"... "Hell"... "Redemption"... "lost"... "saved". I mean, if we tell people that they are "lost" in their "sin" and that "redemption" is "only" found in Jesus Christ; they may not want to come to church. :(

I heard a similar sermon, once. Maybe I've been around EC more than I realized. :lol: I don't remember the sermon as much as I remember the conversations that followed. The main idea of the sermon was habitual use of religious words has emptied the words of their meaning. For the churched, using words like "righteous", "saved", "redemption", and "sin" can have many different meanings. Line up 10 men you consider to be righteous, and ask them what it means to live a holy life. You'll get a lot of different answers, and I might pick a different 10 men, having different answers. (guess I remember more of that sermon than I thought).

I'm trying very hard to understand what you mean by "watered down gospel", and maybe this is an example. ? I don't think this preacher was trying to say that God's words have become meaningless. He was preaching from the bible. I think what he was trying to say is that we have made something meaningless in our culture by refusing to grow with it. God's word isn't the problem, we are. I've used different bible translations when I want to "see" things differently. How is that different that finding a way to discuss scripture with the unsaved without quoting a passage or using religious words?

I guess this means I must be EC, because I kind of like thinking this way. :sad: Does this mean I'm deceived? I might be angry, but I don't feel that way. I just don't want someone else's opinions of God to become my foundation for conviction. God IS capable to instruct or change my mind on any matter. Why not live as though you are free to think for ourselves, and expect God to guide?

Am I still missing the point on your OP?




BUT if I'm right about what I perceive about the movement, Then as Bible believing, born-again children of the Living God we need to be sounding the alarm...because people are buying into this heresy (there, I said it :lol:) left and right.



Battle on, dude! :thumbsup:

apothanein kerdos
Jul 23rd 2008, 05:07 AM
I heard a similar sermon, once. Maybe I've been around EC more than I realized. I don't remember the sermon as much as I remember the conversations that followed. The main idea of the sermon was habitual use of religious words has emptied the words of their meaning. For the churched, using words like "righteous", "saved", "redemption", and "sin" can have many different meanings. Line up 10 men you consider to be righteous, and ask them what it means to live a holy life. You'll get a lot of different answers, and I might pick a different 10 men, having different answers. (guess I remember more of that sermon than I thought).

I'm trying very hard to understand what you mean by "watered down gospel", and maybe this is an example. ? I don't think this preacher was trying to say that God's words have become meaningless. He was preaching from the bible. I think what he was trying to say is that we have made something meaningless in our culture by refusing to grow with it. I've used different bible translations when I want to "see" things differently. How is that different that finding a way to discuss scripture with the unsaved without quoting a passage or using religious words?

I guess this means I must be EC, because I kind of like thinking this way. Does this mean I'm deceived? I might be angry, but I don't feel that way. I just don't want someone else's opinions of God to become my foundation for conviction. God IS capable to instruct or change my mind on any matter. Why not live as though you are free to think for ourselves, and expect God to guide?

It doesn't mean you're EC, just that they are right on a lot of cultural things. We can still use the ideas behind "saved," "lost," and so on without using the actual words. Using such words with people and so often can cause them to lose their meaning or mean nothing to the people hearing them.

The problem with the EC is that they attempt to eradicate the concepts as well as the words.

Scubadude
Jul 23rd 2008, 05:29 AM
The problem with the EC is that they attempt to eradicate the concepts as well as the words.

That was my point with the sermon illustration. 10 x 10 men will have different answers on what it means to live a holy life. It is not just the word, it is the concept the word is 'suppose' to convey. I don't have a problem with someone challenging traditional concepts of words (or even eradicating some, like, "carnal Christian"). Jesus seemed to enjoy doing just that with the Pharisee's. Why not follow His example today?

Perhaps you can give me a "for instance"?

apothanein kerdos
Jul 23rd 2008, 05:35 AM
That was my point with the sermon illustration. 10 x 10 men will have different answers on what it means to live a holy life. It is not just the word, it is the concept the word is 'suppose' to convey. I don't have a problem with someone challenging traditional concepts of words (or even eradicating some, like, "carnal Christian"). Jesus seemed to enjoy doing just that with the Pharisee's. Why not follow His example today?

Perhaps you can give me a "for instance"?

The problem is this is deconstructionism. If I can deconstruct a term - such as 'grace' - why can't I deconstruct a term like "God"? Why can't I say that God is just an event that we describe using words. Even the Biblical descriptions of the words would need to be deconstructed, and the language used to deconstruct would likewise need to be deconstructed. At some point it becomes an infinite regress.

The problem with the logic is that if 10 men have different opinions, we cannot know the meaning of the word. It could be possible, however, that 9 of the men are wrong, all 10 men are wrong, or all 10 men are merely touching on a bigger concept and haven't realized it yet.

The fact is words have to have some concrete meaning, otherwise there would be no way to communicate. When I say "red" you immediately think of the color read, but you might think of it in a different context. You might think of it as red by itself, a red paper, a red dress, a red stop sign, a red light, and so on. Does this mean that "red" needs to be deconstructed and given a new meaning? Of course not - it merely means we associate it with something when we think of it.

Likewise, when we take a word like "grace" some people might had different definitions. Often times this is because they base their definition off the association. This is a flaw in thinking, not in the usage of the word. They think of an association and apply it to the word, which is why we often end up with multiple meanings and understandings to a word (just as if you thought "red" meant "red light" and didn't mean "red dress"). Our associations are subjective - so language appears to be subjective because of how we associate terms with words (instead of doing the opposite). This does not, however, negate the fact that these words are concrete and can, therefore, be used and understood by their proper definitions.

Scubadude
Jul 23rd 2008, 06:32 AM
or all 10 men are merely touching on a bigger concept and haven't realized it yet.

Or, maybe they have. Sorry to chop up your sentence. But, isn't it better to assume that there is much bigger realities to be found? We serve an infinitely creative God. If you and I had the same understanding of every word we were using, would there be any disagreement? The good thing about disagreement, is that it has the potential to make you think in different directions. Or, at least to help develop what you think you think.




The fact is words have to have some concrete meaning, otherwise there would be no way to communicate.

Some words have to have concrete meaning. We both know what concrete means. But we would probably discuss for a very long time the meaning of "sin". Just start a thread on "What does sin mean?", and then start a thread on "What does concrete mean?" Some words are meant to be dynamic, changing over time, or over situations. Some aren't. "Salvation" looks very different between a very wealthy man who thinks he has no need for God, and a poor man who has no friends.



Likewise, when we take a word like "grace" some people might had different definitions. Often times this is because they base their definition off the association. This is a flaw in thinking, not in the usage of the word. They think of an association and apply it to the word, which is why we often end up with multiple meanings and understandings to a word (just as if you thought "red" meant "red light" and didn't mean "red dress"). Our associations are subjective - so language appears to be subjective because of how we associate terms with words (instead of doing the opposite). This does not, however, negate the fact that these words are concrete and can, therefore, be used and understood by their proper definitions.


"Was man made for the Sabbath?Or was the Sabbath made for man?" Is this the kind of 'deconstruction' you are talking about? I'm not sure I am following the argument on how a word gets it's meaning. One thing is for sure, if you are speaking a different language, you are not communicating. If you want to be sure to communicate, get to know that person and learn what words mean to them. Then you will be better equipped to share the gospel. It's what the missionaries do. Saying that the unsaved masses ought to learn our language in order to be saved is not entirely considerate. Christians need to be omni-lingual, kind of like Pentecost everyday. That will require SOME flexibility on certain definitions.

Scubadude
Jul 26th 2008, 06:38 PM
Romans 14:19
Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.

Do you feel that they (EC's) are a good or a bad thing?

Lastly, What are they doing right/wrong?

Feel free to address any or all of these questions...:)



I've been doing a lot of reading and discussing about the Emergent Church. I had to ask myself why the conversation stopped after my attempts for clarification on some key points (EC's watering down the gospel being the main one I am interested in). I hope it wasn't because I was rude in some way.

I have learned to pay attention when a group of believers express such an impassioned concern for some new thing having influence on the church. My conviction is that the Lord is doing a new thing in our lifetime. Not 'revival' of something old, but 'creation' of something new. New wine in New wineskin's. And, this is where things can get sticky.

In order to be a part of that 'something new', I need to have the freedom to think in many different directions. That freedom coming from God Himself. Only He is capable to instruct, because only He has an infinitely creative, loving mind. I trust Him explicitly. But, on the path He has put me and many others, there can be error. Not, "You are a heretic and condemned to hell!" kind of error, but maybe. It should be discussed.

If people are still posting to this thread, I would appreciate hearing why allowing yourself to think many different thoughts, which will lead you in different directions, is wrong? And please give me some specifics. Just calling someone 'existential' or 'deconstructionalist' is not saying much. How do such things create a problem in our relationship with Christ? How do such things detract from His divinity?

mcgyver
Jul 26th 2008, 08:38 PM
Hey Scubadude! :)

First of all I both appreciate and laud your attitude and your questions, and I haven't thought you rude in the least! :)

I think that the biggest problem with trying to identify whether the EC movement is good/bad...is in defining what constitutes an EC in the first place.

A. Kerdos made a good observation when he said that trying to nail down the EC movement's beliefs/distinctions was like trying to nail Jello to the wall.

I think (JMO) that there is a difference between trying to "make" the Gospel relevant to the culture, versus showing the relevance of the Gospel to that culture....if that makes any sense :lol:

(I try to be very, very circumspect in judging whether something "new" is good or bad just because it is new...being brought up in the Episcopal church, I remember the war over "guitars in the Sanctuary" in the 70s as an example :P)

From my own experiences with the several EC churches I've attended...seems that in trying to make the Gospel relevant to the culture, what has happened is that certain key elements of the gospel message have been compromised. To me that is a "watered down Gospel".

I'll give you a couple of examples in a bit...(Kids just got up & the wife is ill :rolleyes:)

mcgyver
Jul 26th 2008, 08:55 PM
Hello again Scubadude!

I'm just about to the point of having to get off line...but I don't want to leave you hanging.

I'd like to give you a link to Al Mohler's website, where he addresses the EC.

Understand please, that my opinions are not based on what he says...they're based on what I myself have observed; but he gives a good insight into what the EC is about:

http://www.albertmohler.com/commentary_read.php?cdate=2005-06-20

Blessings! :)

Scubadude
Jul 27th 2008, 05:54 AM
Hey Scubadude! :)

First of all I both appreciate and laud your attitude and your questions, and I haven't thought you rude in the least! :)

I think that the biggest problem with trying to identify whether the EC movement is good/bad...is in defining what constitutes an EC in the first place.

A. Kerdos made a good observation when he said that trying to nail down the EC movement's beliefs/distinctions was like trying to nail Jello to the wall.

I think (JMO) that there is a difference between trying to "make" the Gospel relevant to the culture, versus showing the relevance of the Gospel to that culture....if that makes any sense :lol:

(I try to be very, very circumspect in judging whether something "new" is good or bad just because it is new...being brought up in the Episcopal church, I remember the war over "guitars in the Sanctuary" in the 70s as an example :P)

From my own experiences with the several EC churches I've attended...seems that in trying to make the Gospel relevant to the culture, what has happened is that certain key elements of the gospel message have been compromised. To me that is a "watered down Gospel".

I'll give you a couple of examples in a bit...(Kids just got up & the wife is ill :rolleyes:)



Take your time, home slice. You got your hands full.

Kevin

apothanein kerdos
Jul 27th 2008, 06:04 PM
I've been doing a lot of reading and discussing about the Emergent Church. I had to ask myself why the conversation stopped after my attempts for clarification on some key points (EC's watering down the gospel being the main one I am interested in)

I know you don't want terms like "existentialism" or "nihilism" thrown around, but they are essential if you want to understand the EC.

Here is an article on existentialism (http://thechristianwatershed.com/2008/04/08/existentialism-how-it-has-affected-modern-christianity/) within the EC. Here is one on Nihilism (http://thechristianwatershed.com/2008/04/10/nietzsche-the-most-dangerous-philosopher-accepted-into-christianity/) in the EC.

The first article deals more with the Rob Bells, the Donald Millers, the Tony Jones and so on. It shows how existentialism has found its way into the Church, why there are some positive aspects, but more importantly why it's more harmful than good.

The second one is much more bleak, showing how there is a growing trend within the EC to accept Nihilism. This article shows the dangers of it and what we have to look forward to if this trend continues.

I'm currently reading The Fidelity of Betrayal by Peter Rollins (a book McLaren said is one of the top 2 theological books of the year). In this book he suggests, in the first chapter, that Jesus actually betrayed Judas. He uses the Gospel of Peter and the Gospel of Judas (both Gnostic gospels) as evidence that Jesus asked Judas to betray Him and that Matthew was wrong in saying Satan entered into Judas.

That is the darker side of the EC, but quickly becoming the majority view. His chapters continue to be "religion without religion" (a concept from Derrida), a religion beyond God, a religion beyond good, and so on. This is the direction the EC is taking and heading.

It's more than watering down the Gospel; it's heresy when it gets this far.

ProjectPeter
Jul 28th 2008, 12:28 AM
I know you don't want terms like "existentialism" or "nihilism" thrown around, but they are essential if you want to understand the EC.

Here is an article on existentialism (http://thechristianwatershed.com/2008/04/08/existentialism-how-it-has-affected-modern-christianity/) within the EC. Here is one on Nihilism (http://thechristianwatershed.com/2008/04/10/nietzsche-the-most-dangerous-philosopher-accepted-into-christianity/) in the EC.

The first article deals more with the Rob Bells, the Donald Millers, the Tony Jones and so on. It shows how existentialism has found its way into the Church, why there are some positive aspects, but more importantly why it's more harmful than good.

The second one is much more bleak, showing how there is a growing trend within the EC to accept Nihilism. This article shows the dangers of it and what we have to look forward to if this trend continues.

I'm currently reading The Fidelity of Betrayal by Peter Rollins (a book McLaren said is one of the top 2 theological books of the year). In this book he suggests, in the first chapter, that Jesus actually betrayed Judas. He uses the Gospel of Peter and the Gospel of Judas (both Gnostic gospels) as evidence that Jesus asked Judas to betray Him and that Matthew was wrong in saying Satan entered into Judas.

That is the darker side of the EC, but quickly becoming the majority view. His chapters continue to be "religion without religion" (a concept from Derrida), a religion beyond God, a religion beyond good, and so on. This is the direction the EC is taking and heading.

It's more than watering down the Gospel; it's heresy when it gets this far.
McLaren keeps popping up today. Must be my unlucky day :rolleyes: :lol:

apothanein kerdos
Jul 28th 2008, 04:51 AM
McLaren keeps popping up today. Must be my unlucky day :rolleyes: :lol:

McLaren is a saint compared to some of the deeper philosophers I've been reading.

I guess I should state that I have studied the EC (and in fact, I'll be pursuing a PhD [God Willing] in philosophy with an emphasis on continental philosophy because of the EC) with such an fervor because I was influenced by them for a while.

I can understand that if a person's only connecting point with the EC is Donald Miller, Rob Bell, Tony Jones, Doug Pagitt, or even Brian McLaren, then it doesn't seem all that threatening. However, once a person begins to read John Caputo, Jacques Derrida, Gianni Vattimo, Friedrich Nietzsche, or Peter Rollins you realize that this movement is quickly becoming the greatest internal crisis in Christianity since the Gnostic struggle. This isn't alarmist language - it's a simple statement of fact.

Consider that in Rollins latest bookThe Fidelity of Betrayal he says the following:

"What if Jesus knew at an early stage [what Judas would do] precisely because Jesus was planning to ask him to do it?" (p. 18)

Rollins goes on, in explaining the 'coincidence' of the woman pouring perfume on Him, preparing Him for burial, and Judas going to plot the death of Jesus:

"The questions that immediately spring to mind when reading this narrative include (1) how did the woman know to engage in this symbolic act? (2) how did Jesus know what this act signified? and (3) why did this event seem to act as the catalyst for Judas' act of betrayal?"

Continuing on, he concludes:

"One wonders whether Jesus, Judas, and this mysterious woman had actually met together previously in a clandestine location so as to carefully script the upcoming events." (p. 19)

He then uses the Gospel of Peter and the Gospel of Judas to validate his questioning.

In discussing how this applies to Christianity, he states, "Yet perhaps it is precisely this that we are being called to: engaging in that most difficult task of putting our religion to death so that a religion without religion can spring forth." (p. 25 - "religion without religion" is a term coined by Derrida).

It gets better though. When discussing the Fall of humanity and God's reaction to eating the fruit, Rollins writes:

"Coming to the story as it stands, it is difficult to unquestionably side with God. Upon reading the story, one is confronted with a variety of problems. For instance, why is it wrong to want to be like God, knowing the difference between good and evil?... Also, even if eating of this fruit were a cosmic criminal act, it is difficult to see how the punishment is in any way commensurate to the crime." (p. 35)

Finally, in stating his opinion on the Bible:

"The words of the Bible, wonderful as they often are, must not be allowed to stand in for God's majestic Word, as if the words and phrases have been conferred with some sacred status and the phonetic patterns given divine power." (p. 56)

What is more interesting is Rollins, or so it seems, is merely popularizing Caputo and Vattimo's "Weakness Theology." In "The Weakness of God" Caputo, in the preface, argues that believing in an all-knowing, all-powerful God is wrong; we should instead believe in a God that doesn't know the future and doesn't control the present.

Essentially, when we see people like Bell, Miller, McLaren, Jones, and others we are merely seeing a tiny ripple on the surface of the ocean. What we don't realize is that tiny ripple is an indicator of the tsunami that is Rollins, Caputo, and the like. If we ignore this ripple, if we act like it will go away, if we think it is nothing to worry about then we will fail to warn the people on the shoreline of the impending destruction to come. They will not know to move away from it and instead will become enamored by this ripple and then destroyed by the tsunami.

That is why I am passionate about this issue - I have read the deeper aspects of this movement and realize the damage is can cause.

ProjectPeter
Jul 28th 2008, 12:01 PM
McLaren is a saint compared to some of the deeper philosophers I've been reading.

I guess I should state that I have studied the EC (and in fact, I'll be pursuing a PhD [God Willing] in philosophy with an emphasis on continental philosophy because of the EC) with such an fervor because I was influenced by them for a while.

I can understand that if a person's only connecting point with the EC is Donald Miller, Rob Bell, Tony Jones, Doug Pagitt, or even Brian McLaren, then it doesn't seem all that threatening. However, once a person begins to read John Caputo, Jacques Derrida, Gianni Vattimo, Friedrich Nietzsche, or Peter Rollins you realize that this movement is quickly becoming the greatest internal crisis in Christianity since the Gnostic struggle. This isn't alarmist language - it's a simple statement of fact.

Consider that in Rollins latest bookThe Fidelity of Betrayal he says the following:

"What if Jesus knew at an early stage [what Judas would do] precisely because Jesus was planning to ask him to do it?" (p. 18)

Rollins goes on, in explaining the 'coincidence' of the woman pouring perfume on Him, preparing Him for burial, and Judas going to plot the death of Jesus:

"The questions that immediately spring to mind when reading this narrative include (1) how did the woman know to engage in this symbolic act? (2) how did Jesus know what this act signified? and (3) why did this event seem to act as the catalyst for Judas' act of betrayal?"

Continuing on, he concludes:

"One wonders whether Jesus, Judas, and this mysterious woman had actually met together previously in a clandestine location so as to carefully script the upcoming events." (p. 19)

He then uses the Gospel of Peter and the Gospel of Judas to validate his questioning.

In discussing how this applies to Christianity, he states, "Yet perhaps it is precisely this that we are being called to: engaging in that most difficult task of putting our religion to death so that a religion without religion can spring forth." (p. 25 - "religion without religion" is a term coined by Derrida).

It gets better though. When discussing the Fall of humanity and God's reaction to eating the fruit, Rollins writes:

"Coming to the story as it stands, it is difficult to unquestionably side with God. Upon reading the story, one is confronted with a variety of problems. For instance, why is it wrong to want to be like God, knowing the difference between good and evil?... Also, even if eating of this fruit were a cosmic criminal act, it is difficult to see how the punishment is in any way commensurate to the crime." (p. 35)

Finally, in stating his opinion on the Bible:

"The words of the Bible, wonderful as they often are, must not be allowed to stand in for God's majestic Word, as if the words and phrases have been conferred with some sacred status and the phonetic patterns given divine power." (p. 56)

What is more interesting is Rollins, or so it seems, is merely popularizing Caputo and Vattimo's "Weakness Theology." In "The Weakness of God" Caputo, in the preface, argues that believing in an all-knowing, all-powerful God is wrong; we should instead believe in a God that doesn't know the future and doesn't control the present.

Essentially, when we see people like Bell, Miller, McLaren, Jones, and others we are merely seeing a tiny ripple on the surface of the ocean. What we don't realize is that tiny ripple is an indicator of the tsunami that is Rollins, Caputo, and the like. If we ignore this ripple, if we act like it will go away, if we think it is nothing to worry about then we will fail to warn the people on the shoreline of the impending destruction to come. They will not know to move away from it and instead will become enamored by this ripple and then destroyed by the tsunami.

That is why I am passionate about this issue - I have read the deeper aspects of this movement and realize the damage is can cause.
Yeah... I've seen that stuff too and it is getting steeped in some pretty thick heresy.

Scubadude
Jul 28th 2008, 07:30 PM
I know you don't want terms like "existentialism" or "nihilism" thrown around, but they are essential if you want to understand the EC.

This article shows the dangers of it and what we have to look forward to if this trend continues.


That is the darker side of the EC, but quickly becoming the majority view. His chapters continue to be "religion without religion" (a concept from Derrida), a religion beyond God, a religion beyond good, and so on. This is the direction the EC is taking and heading.

It's more than watering down the Gospel; it's heresy when it gets this far.


You misunderstood me. If I say that your position is based in fear and itself nihilistic, wouldn't you want me to say more than just throwing a bunch of bombastic generalities at you in support of my argument? You point me to a page that talks about some interesting interpretations of what existentualism is. I studied philosophy in college (and psych) 20 years ago. If I am at risk of commiting heracy, it is because you say so. I know many christians who will suport your postion, or argue against your stance against the EC.


There have been so many abuses from christian leaders who say something like, "Because I am educated, and pastor this church, I am the one to decide what true biblical doctrine should be. Because I can PROVE my point with scripture." Most people who attend church, from my experience, are too comfortable with pre-chewed, predigested spiritual meat. I think thinking for yourself should be encouraged, even if it means running the risk of pushing the edge of traditional Christian doctrine. If you don't ask the hard questions, how can you have any answers? If someone doesn't ask, "Did Jesus condemn Judas, betray him to betray Jesus?" than how will anyone have thoughts to answer the question when an non-believer asks?

I am not sure I am making my position clear. If you would try to paraphrase what you think my point is, maybe I'll realize we are closer in our positions that I think.

apothanein kerdos
Jul 28th 2008, 08:22 PM
[/B]


You misunderstood me. If I say that your position is based in fear and itself nihilistic, wouldn't you want me to say more than just throwing a bunch of bombastic generalities at you in support of my argument? You point me to a page that talks about some interesting interpretations of what existentualism is. I studied philosophy in college (and psych) 20 years ago. If I am at risk of commiting heracy, it is because you say so. I know many christians who will suport your postion, or argue against your stance against the EC.


There have been so many abuses from christian leaders who say something like, "Because I am educated, and pastor this church, I am the one to decide what true biblical doctrine should be. Because I can PROVE my point with scripture." Most people who attend church, from my experience, are too comfortable with pre-chewed, predigested spiritual meat. I think thinking for yourself should be encouraged, even if it means running the risk of pushing the edge of traditional Christian doctrine. If you don't ask the hard questions, how can you have any answers? If someone doesn't ask, "Did Jesus condemn Judas, betray him to betray Jesus?" than how will anyone have thoughts to answer the question when an non-believer asks?

I am not sure I am making my position clear. If you would try to paraphrase what you think my point is, maybe I'll realize we are closer in our positions that I think.

What if, though, having educated leaders (that are more educated than the average lay person) is a calling from God? What if God intended for us to have teachers over us in the Church - not that they are more important, but their role in life is to study theology day and night and study the attacks against it in order to know how to defeat it? What if this is a calling from God and these men and women are meant to tell the congregation, "Hey, this is what we should believe?" What if they are set up to protect the laypeople who are called to do other things and don't have hours to spend reading French philosophers?

Furthermore, how is this idea mutually exclusive from individual responsibility to study? Though the layperson will not have the tools the philosopher or theologian will, they will have the Spirit and enough knowledge to know when they're being fed a lie. They may not be able to write a treatise against deconstruction, but they can know something is wrong.

How are the above mutually exclusive or even anti-Biblical?

Continuing on, wouldn't it make sense for God to give us such leaders and thinkers to help us keep our thoughts within the bounds of orthodoxy? After all, you would agree that we are to love God with all our hearts, minds, and souls. This seems that the entire being of ourselves is to be dedicated to loving God. Since this is a truth, wrong thoughts (mind) would be contrary to loving God. The more unorthodox we become, the more unloving toward God we become. This would mean there is a danger in "thinking freely" and letting your thoughts take you where you will.

Though we should ask the hard questions, though we should never accept what someone says prima facie, and though we should pursue God with our minds - this doesn't mean we think autonomously or without accountability, most importantly it means we don't think outside the bounds of orthodoxy.

All of the above is extremely Biblical, yet would make most in the EC (specifically the Nihilists) cringe.


As for the articles, you asked for me to elaborate, so I elaborate and it seems you have a problem with that as well (just asking you to accept something that is pre-chewed). If you wish to learn autonomously, you will fail in your learning - this is true of all humans.

vivalavida123
Jul 28th 2008, 09:48 PM
My biggest problem with a lot of EC's is their lack of belief in absolutes...

I actually did a term paper on the Emergent Church in college, and a lot of them don't think that the Bible is absolute. Or anything in that matter.

I found this very hard to believe, as I believe the Bible is God's inspired word and is to be used for teaching and as a guide for our lives.

I understand where they are thinking about reaching the "unchurched" but I don't think we need to get rid of the Bible to do it. Yes, it's going to hurt people to find out they have been living in sin and hurting God, but you know sometimes people need to hear the truth and not something to make the feel better about themselves at the end of the night.

Rant over...

SIG
Jul 29th 2008, 03:41 AM
Hmmmmm...Somewhere along the line "traditional" has become a dirty word.

I see it differently. For 2000 years countless Spirit-indwelt souls have been studying Scripture intensely. They have come to an understanding of God's intent in the Spirit. If some call this doctrine "tradition," so be it. It can be tradition and truth both.

I also study Scripture. I find God big enough and complex enough that I could spend many lifetimes trying to understand Him from His word without having to add any input from my Self.

I sense that EC folks are not willing to put themselves aside in order to know God; perhaps they find that too limiting. They want to put themselves into the process--and thus fail to die to Self. Therefore, for them, the Gospel is no longer the Gospel.

Scubadude
Jul 29th 2008, 06:42 AM
What if, though, having educated leaders (that are more educated than the average lay person) is a calling from God? What if God intended for us to have teachers over us in the Church - not that they are more important, but their role in life is to study theology day and night and study the attacks against it in order to know how to defeat it? What if this is a calling from God and these men and women are meant to tell the congregation, "Hey, this is what we should believe?" What if they are set up to protect the laypeople who are called to do other things and don't have hours to spend reading French philosophers?

I think this is a great way to make the statement, "God has a purpose for the educated." You are doing it by asking 'what if' questions that would challenge someones understanding through looking at the same subject from many different approaches. You closet deconstructionalist, you! :thumbsup:



How are the above mutually exclusive or even anti-Biblical?


I don't know? :huh:




Though we should ask the hard questions, though we should never accept what someone says prima facie, and though we should pursue God with our minds - this doesn't mean we think autonomously or without accountability, most importantly it means we don't think outside the bounds of orthodoxy.


You had me all the way up to "WE don't think outside the bounds of orthodoxy." If by 'WE' you mean you, then how is it you know you are correct in your crusade against the EC if you do not allow yourself to think outside of orthodoxy? You know, the Pharisees said Jesus was a hieratic. He thought outside the bounds of orthodoxy because he was the fulfillment of the law. Shouldn't we follow Jesus' example? Or is that watering down the gospel?

Of course we don't think, act or have our being outside of accountability. To me that is like saying somehow we can hide from God. Something that doesn't make sense to me in your argument.... Are you saying that any time you have a thought that is outside of orthodoxy, you are sinning? Do you think The Crusades were sinful? They would have said the same thing you did, "What if this is a calling from God and these men and women are meant to tell the congregation, "Hey, this is what we should believe?" Orthodoxy has it's place in the greater picture of faith. When one man is convinced he is the proponent of Orthodoxy, my first question is, "What makes you believe you are qualified to instruct me or anyone in life and faith?"

It is not true that some are more qualified to speak about God than others. This is a truth that many Pharisees would cringe at. We are nation of priests, brother. Someone who thinks that some people are less qualified to speak about God shows a lack of understanding of the gospel. And waters it down.

Scubadude
Jul 29th 2008, 07:36 AM
Hmmmmm...Somewhere along the line "traditional" has become a dirty word.

Really? Where did you see this?


I see it differently. For 2000 years countless Spirit-indwelt souls have been studying Scripture intensely. They have come to an understanding of God's intent in the Spirit. If some call this doctrine "tradition," so be it. It can be tradition and truth both.

Hold on there, Tevia! No one has suggested that tradition is bad. I have only suggested that it is not enough. And, not all things we call "doctrine" are true "orthodoxy", but men's opinions preached as if it is gospel. And, because many people feel intimidated by the religious "professionals", these opinions go unquestioned for generations. apothanein kerdos suggests that it is he and other men who shall decide how the rest of Christendom shall believe. I say I would rather identify with the EC and risk being called deceived and a hieratic if this is my only option. The Lord is capable to instruct. I trust HIM explicitly. Because of that, I am free to think for myself.


I also study Scripture. I find God big enough and complex enough that I could spend many lifetimes trying to understand Him from His word without having to add any input from my Self.

As long as I've known the Lord, I don't know what this statement means.




I sense that EC folks are not willing to put themselves aside in order to know God;

You are saying they are selfish. What else does God have to work with?



perhaps they find that too limiting.

Perhaps. Is that the only option?



They want to put themselves into the process--and thus fail to die to Self.

Put themselves into the process? And fail to die to Self? The scriptures are written by spirit-indwelt people, as well. And each writer has his own writing style. I think God used many individuals to write the bible in order to show by example that He takes pleasure in interacting with His creation on an individual basis as well as a corporate one. I don't follow how this leads you to the conclusion of.....



Therefore, for them, the Gospel is no longer the Gospel.

apothanein kerdos
Jul 29th 2008, 01:37 PM
I think this is a great way to make the statement, "God has a purpose for the educated." You are doing it by asking 'what if' questions that would challenge someones understanding through looking at the same subject from many different approaches. You closet deconstructionalist, you!
:lol:

I've been accused of being a deconstructionist more than once. However, I prefer to use the term epistemic renovation. Here is a little something I wrote on Deconstruction that sums up my view of it:

Deconstruction - the idea fails simply because of how it's named. For something to be deconstructed it must first be constructed. That is to say, before something can be torn down and rebuilt, it must be proven to be something that was built up to begin with and not inherent to the system.

Example:

We are walking along in the woods and come across a hill and a building on that hill. If we want, we can tear down the building and rebuild it - but we still have to use the same materials. The hill, however, cannot be torn down (for the sake of the analogy, ignore the idea of blasting powder or earth moving machines - although the analogy still works because the land still exists though the hill does not, thus it is not properly deconstructed). We cannot deconstruct the hill because it wasn't constructed to begin with - it is a natural portion of the world.

In epistemology, therefore, if it can be proven that there are certain beliefs that are a priori, or more importantly that are not constructed but basic beliefs, these beliefs are free from deconstruction. Furthermore, beliefs that rest directly upon the basic beliefs are likewise 'safe.' The further a belief is from its foundation, the more likely it is to be deconstructed.

Example:

It is akin to the 'phone game,' but modified. In the phone game one person whispers something into another person's ear. That person, then, whispers what he thought he heard into someone else's ear. Eventually, as things progress the original message is skewed. Proper basic beliefs, then, are similar. Though the basic belief is free from being deconstructed (since you can't deconstruct what was never constructed), it's predecessors do run the risk. For instance:

A (Basic belief) --> B --> C---> D

By the time we get to D there has been quite a bit of human interaction with the belief, thus one should look at the belief and - in a sense - deconstruct it. However, it is not proper deconstruction, because one would be evaluating D on its closeness to A rather than just blindly tearing it down. In other words, it is best to label it epistemic renovation than deconstruction. Assuming that God is a basic belief (this is an assumption, not something I will go into proving right now), all views of God - whether they be Christian, Mormon, Muslim, Hindu, etc - would be the "D's" of the above example. Therefore, one must evaluate D and see if it properly compares with A (this is done through reasoning and, I believe, special revelation). One does not properly deconstruct D, but simply re-evaluates D to see if it follows from A.

Though there are plenty of defensive arguments against deconstructionism (i.e. "Deconstruction merely looks at man's epistemic image and not the ontology of a belief"), this one is quite offensive. In order to validate deconstruction - that is, show how and why it is adequate and good in a certain situation - one first has to show that the knowledge being deconstructed was, in fact, constructed in the first place.



You had me all the way up to "WE don't think outside the bounds of orthodoxy." If by 'WE' you mean you, then how is it you know you are correct in your crusade against the EC if you do not allow yourself to think outside of orthodoxy? You know, the Pharisees said Jesus was a hieratic. He thought outside the bounds of orthodoxy because he was the fulfillment of the law. Shouldn't we follow Jesus' example? Or is that watering down the gospel?

I think one of the biggest misrepresentations of Jesus is that we actually believe the Pharisees were right in their evaluation of Him. Instead, Jesus was standing up for orthodoxy while the Pharisees were anti-orthodoxy. They had added to God's Word with their laws and gone against the express purpose of the Law; in so doing they were unorthodox.

To be orthodox means that you ascribe to the very basic tenets of the faith - God exists, God created the material and spiritual world, Jesus is the Son of God, there is a Holy Trinity, etc.

All of this are things Jesus upheld while the Pharisees ignored them (some of the beliefs at least). This would make Jesus a defender of orthodoxy.


Of course we don't think, act or have our being outside of accountability. To me that is like saying somehow we can hide from God. Something that doesn't make sense to me in your argument.... Are you saying that any time you have a thought that is outside of orthodoxy, you are sinning? Do you think The Crusades were sinful? They would have said the same thing you did, "What if this is a calling from God and these men and women are meant to tell the congregation, "Hey, this is what we should believe?" Orthodoxy has it's place in the greater picture of faith. When one man is convinced he is the proponent of Orthodoxy, my first question is, "What makes you believe you are qualified to instruct me or anyone in life and faith?"

Again, the Crusades were unorthodox because it was man instituting law outside of the Bible (that actually contradicted the Bible). Orthodoxy is that which is based on Scripture and is essential in order for one to be a Christian.

As for what makes a person qualified, if that person has been led by the Spirit, has Scriptural evidence, physical evidence, and logical reasoning for what he is saying, then he most certainly is qualified.


It is not true that some are more qualified to speak about God than others. This is a truth that many Pharisees would cringe at. We are nation of priests, brother. Someone who thinks that some people are less qualified to speak about God shows a lack of understanding of the gospel. And waters it down.

You make a huge claim, but then fail to back it up (because it can't be backed up). Though we are a priesthood of believers, this simply means we all have equal access to God, not that we all have the same knowledge of God or the same doctrinal understanding of God. Paul makes it extremely clear that some are called to have more knowledge about doctrines and theology than others - this would mean there are some that are far more qualified to speak about God than others. This doesn't make them better, it just means they have a different calling than others.

In fact, up until the Enlightenment this was the status quo view, even among proto-Protestants. The Enlightenment taught in autonomous reasoning and equality within epistemology, meaning all were qualified to speak on God in an equal setting. Biblically, however, we see that God establishes prophets and teachers. If everyone has equal knowledge of God or is called to have such knowledge, there would be no need for these two callings. Instead, these two callings show that there are those that are called to have a higher knowledge of theology and philosophy.

Finally, what bothers me is I offered up quotes from someone in the EC that is good friends with McLaren, Jones, and others. In fact, they admit to drawing from his work. I showed how it is extremely heretical - yet you ignored it. Let me ask you an honest question: Are you really searching the EC issue, or do you already side with the EC and are just trying to figure out how you side with it?

IBWatching
Jul 29th 2008, 03:50 PM
...For instance:

A (Basic belief) --> B --> C---> D

By the time we get to D there has been quite a bit of human interaction with the belief, thus one should look at the belief and - in a sense - deconstruct it. However, it is not proper deconstruction, because one would be evaluating D on its closeness to A rather than just blindly tearing it down. In other words, it is best to label it epistemic renovation than deconstruction. Assuming that God is a basic belief (this is an assumption, not something I will go into proving right now), all views of God - whether they be Christian, Mormon, Muslim, Hindu, etc - would be the "D's" of the above example. Therefore, one must evaluate D and see if it properly compares with A (this is done through reasoning and, I believe, special revelation). One does not properly deconstruct D, but simply re-evaluates D to see if it follows from A...

When I first heard of the EC movement a couple years ago and read or heard some of their proponent's ideas, the first thing that popped into my mind was Francis Schaeffer. He properly defined and predicted post-modernism as a problem the Church would have to deal with, but he also went far enough down the path to realize that the methods that current EC proponents are espousing are also doomed to fail.

I have come to realize through some of your posts here that this problem also has philosophical roots that are more dangerous than a mere dumbing down of theology would be to the Church. While you posted that it began in the UK, some others have studied and said it comes from French philosophers. Where it originated really isn't the issue. Where it is going is, however, very important to the Church.

On your scale of A-B-C-D, EC proponents want to take the Church back to point B or C. A return to the medieval liturgical disciplines (apparently along with all it's superstitions) are what the Church needs. Yet according to your scale, this would have to be point A for the Church:


Acts 2:42 They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.Look where "Christendom" has been the past 60 years and you will see where the real problem is. The original disciplines are there and are very clear. But very few want to follow them.

Scubadude
Jul 29th 2008, 04:01 PM
I've been accused of being a deconstructionist more than once. However, I prefer to use the term epistemic renovation. Here is a little something I wrote on Deconstruction that sums up my view of it:

Just a minute there, Mr Slippery! It's ok the condemn souls to hell for heresy by using deconstruction in an attempt to understand God and His words from different (even unusual) points of view, but you get to let yourself off the hook by euphemizing? Romans 9:22-23 is a good example of Paul using deconstructional "What if?" questions to shed some different light on God's character, like you did earlier. You condemn a thing, then use the thing to prove why it is condemned.


For something to be deconstructed it must first be constructed. That is to say, before something can be torn down and rebuilt, it must be proven to be something that was built up to begin with and not inherent to the system.

Example:

We are walking along in the woods and come across a hill and a building on that hill. If we want, we can tear down the building and rebuild it - but we still have to use the same materials. The hill, however, cannot be torn down (for the sake of the analogy, ignore the idea of blasting powder or earth moving machines - although the analogy still works because the land still exists though the hill does not, thus it is not properly deconstructed). We cannot deconstruct the hill because it wasn't constructed to begin with - it is a natural portion of the world.

In epistemology, therefore, if it can be proven that there are certain beliefs that are a priori, or more importantly that are not constructed but basic beliefs, these beliefs are free from deconstruction. Furthermore, beliefs that rest directly upon the basic beliefs are likewise 'safe.' The further a belief is from its foundation, the more likely it is to be deconstructed.

Example:

It is akin to the 'phone game,' but modified. In the phone game one person whispers something into another person's ear. That person, then, whispers what he thought he heard into someone else's ear. Eventually, as things progress the original message is skewed. Proper basic beliefs, then, are similar. Though the basic belief is free from being deconstructed (since you can't deconstruct what was never constructed), it's predecessors do run the risk. For instance:

A (Basic belief) --> B --> C---> D

By the time we get to D there has been quite a bit of human interaction with the belief, thus one should look at the belief and - in a sense - deconstruct it. However, it is not proper deconstruction, because one would be evaluating D on its closeness to A rather than just blindly tearing it down. In other words, it is best to label it epistemic renovation than deconstruction. Assuming that God is a basic belief (this is an assumption, not something I will go into proving right now), all views of God - whether they be Christian, Mormon, Muslim, Hindu, etc - would be the "D's" of the above example. Therefore, one must evaluate D and see if it properly compares with A (this is done through reasoning and, I believe, special revelation). One does not properly deconstruct D, but simply re-evaluates D to see if it follows from A.

Though there are plenty of defensive arguments against deconstructionism (i.e. "Deconstruction merely looks at man's epistemic image and not the ontology of a belief"), this one is quite offensive. In order to validate deconstruction - that is, show how and why it is adequate and good in a certain situation - one first has to show that the knowledge being deconstructed was, in fact, constructed in the first place.


I think you have way over thought this. Not sure why you even brought up the house in your analogy. The hill did already exist, otherwise there would be nothing to consider using heavy equipment on. I see because you use the word "Land" instead of hill, you conclude that it does not exist. Are we back to euphemizing again? This analogy leaves me more confused than not.





I think one of the biggest misrepresentations of Jesus is that we actually believe the Pharisees were right in their evaluation of Him.

Nope, I'm saying that they were wrong in their love and understanding of Him. He does not exist in order to support anyones understanding of orthodoxy. He exists for His own sake, one which we cannot comprehend. He is completely "Other". You can't nail Him down to your finite understanding. saying you are inspired and educated, therefor you are in a position to instruct men and women on how to live out their faith is a very dangerous position. Not many men should claim to be teachers.

I feel much more comfortable with the EC making mistakes in thought than with someone saying he is the one to lead the masses. It is a question of character, not knowledge, and someone who isn't aware of that is doubly a dangerous man or woman.

apothanein kerdos
Jul 29th 2008, 06:19 PM
When I first heard of the EC movement a couple years ago and read or heard some of their proponent's ideas, the first thing that popped into my mind was Francis Schaeffer. He properly defined and predicted post-modernism as a problem the Church would have to deal with, but he also went far enough down the path to realize that the methods that current EC proponents are espousing are also doomed to fail.

I have come to realize through some of your posts here that this problem also has philosophical roots that are more dangerous than a mere dumbing down of theology would be to the Church. While you posted that it began in the UK, some others have studied and said it comes from French philosophers. Where it originated really isn't the issue. Where it is going is, however, very important to the Church.

On your scale of A-B-C-D, EC proponents want to take the Church back to point B or C. A return to the medieval liturgical disciplines (apparently along with all it's superstitions) are what the Church needs. Yet according to your scale, this would have to be point A for the Church:

Look where "Christendom" has been the past 60 years and you will see where the real problem is. The original disciplines are there and are very clear. But very few want to follow them.

:pp

You nailed it. I'm actually writing a paper (which will turn into a book) that compares the EC to Schaeffer's theology and practice. I think that of all the theologians that weren't Biblical authors, Schaeffer is the best response to the EC and the postmodern movement overall.


Just a minute there, Mr Slippery! It's ok the condemn souls to hell for heresy by using deconstruction in an attempt to understand God and His words from different (even unusual) points of view, but you get to let yourself off the hook by euphemizing? Romans 9:22-23 is a good example of Paul using deconstructional "What if?" questions to shed some different light on God's character, like you did earlier. You condemn a thing, then use the thing to prove why it is condemned.

What? Where in the world did I use deconstructionism?

Asking "why" is not deconstructing anything. Deconstructionism seeks to destroy modern concepts and take words and concepts and put them into our own culture. It teaches that all truth is socially constructed, thus we have to "deconstruct" that truth in order to find out if it works for the modern day or not.

What I'm advocating is taking cultural trends and comparing them to truth, not deconstructing them.


I think you have way over thought this. Not sure why you even brought up the house in your analogy. The hill did already exist, otherwise there would be nothing to consider using heavy equipment on. I see because you use the word "Land" instead of hill, you conclude that it does not exist. Are we back to euphemizing again? This analogy leaves me more confused than not.

It's not that confusing of an analogy and sums up Deconstructionism extremely well - this description comes from people who are advocates of Deconstructionism.

The point of the illustration is to show that if truth is like a building then it can never be properly deconstructed - there is always a base truth that cannot be destroyed or proven wrong. It's a defense of a priori warrant.

Essentially what I'm saying is that deconstructionism can't work because truth isn't constructed. Instead it is known a priori (at the most basic level) and is external to human reasoning. In essence, I'm saying that we can know things without deconstructing them. To quote Plantinga's Warrant and Proper Function:

to a first approximation, we may say that a belief B has warrant for S if and only if the relevant segments...are functioning properly in a cognitive environment sufficiently similar to that for which S's faculties are designed; and the modules of the design plan governing the production of B are (1) aimed at truth, and (2) such that there is a high objective probability that a belief formed in accordance with those modules...is true; and the more firmly S believes B the more warrant B has for S. (p. 19)

In short, deconstructionism doesn't allow for the above. It doesn't allow for a properly functioning mind being placed in the appropriate cognitive environment. It doesn't allow for a design plan that aims the mind toward truth with a high probability of achieving truth. In short, deconstructionism doesn't allow for knowledge - this means we cannot know anything.

I did not use deconstructionism. To say, "Oh, anytime you ask why you're deconstructing" is a gross oversimplification of deconstructionism.

Once again, I point out the blatant heresy that Peter Rollins has written and is endorsed by EC advocates and you don't even bat an eyelash at it? Methinks you're here to defend the EC (your own Crusade), not question or learn about it.


Nope, I'm saying that they were wrong in their love and understanding of Him. He does not exist in order to support anyones understanding of orthodoxy. He exists for His own sake, one which we cannot comprehend. He is completely "Other". You can't nail Him down to your finite understanding. saying you are inspired and educated, therefor you are in a position to instruct men and women on how to live out their faith is a very dangerous position. Not many men should claim to be teachers.

Then get rid of the Bible and please, be honest and call Paul wrong.



I feel much more comfortable with the EC making mistakes in thought than with someone saying he is the one to lead the masses. It is a question of character, not knowledge, and someone who isn't aware of that is doubly a dangerous man or woman.
__________________

So you're more comfortable with Marcion than with the Disciples?

SIG
Jul 30th 2008, 01:54 AM
Originally Posted by SIG
Hmmmmm...Somewhere along the line "traditional" has become a dirty word.

SD:Really? Where did you see this?

SIG: In one of your posts: "I think thinking for yourself should be encouraged, even if it means running the risk of pushing the edge of traditional Christian doctrine. " Perhaps I read too much into this...

Quote:
Originally Posted by SIG
I see it differently. For 2000 years countless Spirit-indwelt souls have been studying Scripture intensely. They have come to an understanding of God's intent in the Spirit. If some call this doctrine "tradition," so be it. It can be tradition and truth both.

SD:Hold on there, Tevia! No one has suggested that tradition is bad. I have only suggested that it is not enough. And, not all things we call "doctrine" are true "orthodoxy", but men's opinions preached as if it is gospel. And, because many people feel intimidated by the religious "professionals", these opinions go unquestioned for generations. apothanein kerdos suggests that it is he and other men who shall decide how the rest of Christendom shall believe. I say I would rather identify with the EC and risk being called deceived and a hieratic if this is my only option. The Lord is capable to instruct. I trust HIM explicitly. Because of that, I am free to think for myself.

SIG: I'm not talking about opinions, but a consensus of what a cloud of witnesses have seen God's Spirit to be. I'm not talking about professionals, either, but rather believers of all types who have known God's character as He has revealed it through Scripture.


Quote:
Originally Posted by SIG
I also study Scripture. I find God big enough and complex enough that I could spend many lifetimes trying to understand Him from His word without having to add any input from my Self.

SD: As long as I've known the Lord, I don't know what this statement means.

SIG: It means that to know Him, I must step out of the flesh and into the Spirit. When I do so, I find there is so much of Him to know, I don't have time or desire to think about me.


Quote:
Originally Posted by SIG
I sense that EC folks are not willing to put themselves aside in order to know God;

SD:You are saying they are selfish. What else does God have to work with?

SIG: With new creations born of His Spirit, of course.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SIG
perhaps they find that too limiting.

SD: Perhaps. Is that the only option?

SIG: I'm not sure what you mean. But I do know that Scripture often deals with dualities in the larger issues: flesh/Spirit, for me/ against me, light/ darkness, children of God/generation of vipers, etc...


Quote:
Originally Posted by SIG
They want to put themselves into the process--and thus fail to die to Self.

SD: Put themselves into the process? And fail to die to Self? The scriptures are written by spirit-indwelt people, as well. And each writer has his own writing style. I think God used many individuals to write the bible in order to show by example that He takes pleasure in interacting with His creation on an individual basis as well as a corporate one. I don't follow how this leads you to the conclusion of.....

SIG: He does leave our individual unique qualities intact. But I assure you that the writers all wrote in the Spirit, and not the flesh.


Quote:
Originally Posted by SIG
Therefore, for them, the Gospel is no longer the Gospel.

SIG: When we add our flesh to the Gospel, we step out of the Spirit to do so. And being out of the Spirit, we preach a different gospel.

Buzzword
Jul 30th 2008, 02:34 AM
I think many of the negative aspects of the EC are a backlash against the years of decline in the "traditional" church.

The whole movement is a backlash, but too many Christians, who themselves are spiritual descendants of many who at the time were demonized (Luther, Calvin, Martin Luther King, Jr., etc etc), have for too long automatically rejected anyone who promoted change in church policy or treatment of scripture or church traditions.


After my own studies of the writings of pastors who claim to be within the movement, I do agree on some parts of the movement:

-constantly going back and re-evaluating doctrines and church traditions
-extensive study of the contexts of scripture
-abolishing Biblical literalism, where appropriate
-abolishing the language of "absolute truth," mainly due to its use when televangelists want to play politics
-remaining constantly fluid in our treatment of our beliefs, never presuming that God is finished speaking to us


Other parts not so much:
-adding elements of mysticism to worship services (contemplative prayer, etc)
-deconstructionist treatment of language, the idea that there is no such thing as meaning if it is expressed in a way that anyone can understand.

SIG
Jul 30th 2008, 04:21 AM
"remaining constantly fluid in our treatment of our beliefs, never presuming that God is finished speaking to us"...

This part is fascinating to me.

I believe that--at least until Christ's return--God's revelation of Himself is complete. That is, there won't be any "new thing" revealed. I base this belief on the Scripture's declaration that what we have already been given is sufficient for all the growing in the Lord He has for us.

Does that mean the Lord does not speak to us individually all the time? Of course not. But what He shows us for our growth in Him is always consistent with what has already been given.

I don't quite understand a desire for something "new" or "fresh"--apart from continued growth in what has already been given. If we already understood entirely the revelation given through Scripture, I could see us wanting something new or more---but I've never met anyone who has reached that understanding.

If "remaining constantly fluid in our treatment of our beliefs" means, "But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit," I'm with you...

Buzzword
Jul 30th 2008, 12:22 PM
"remaining constantly fluid in our treatment of our beliefs, never presuming that God is finished speaking to us"...

This part is fascinating to me.

I believe that--at least until Christ's return--God's revelation of Himself is complete. That is, there won't be any "new thing" revealed. I base this belief on the Scripture's declaration that what we have already been given is sufficient for all the growing in the Lord He has for us.

Does that mean the Lord does not speak to us individually all the time? Of course not. But what He shows us for our growth in Him is always consistent with what has already been given.

I don't quite understand a desire for something "new" or "fresh"--apart from continued growth in what has already been given. If we already understood entirely the revelation given through Scripture, I could see us wanting something new or more---but I've never met anyone who has reached that understanding.

If "remaining constantly fluid in our treatment of our beliefs" means, "But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit," I'm with you...

I think remaining fluid means remaining constantly open to the Spirit's leading, and not locking ourselves down to doctrines which are more tradition-based than scripture- or even common sense-based.

Many within and without the EC feel that "Old Time Religion" is too simplistic, and doesn't address day-to-day struggles and spiritual dilemmas that Christians go through. They aren't satisfied with one-liners and hurrah spirituality.

The desire for something "new" or "fresh" seems to be more in reaction to percieved stagnation within the body of Christ, especially in terms of being relevant to young adults, than it is finding some secret truth that God has kept hidden all these centures...at least in my personal walk.

I know there are several within the EC movement (Brian McLaren among them) who take a semi-Gnostic approach to scripture, which I believe to be a backlash against the decades of quoting random lines of scripture and claiming that they support this or that political position.

apothanein kerdos
Jul 30th 2008, 02:51 PM
I think remaining fluid means remaining constantly open to the Spirit's leading, and not locking ourselves down to doctrines which are more tradition-based than scripture- or even common sense-based.

Many within and without the EC feel that "Old Time Religion" is too simplistic, and doesn't address day-to-day struggles and spiritual dilemmas that Christians go through. They aren't satisfied with one-liners and hurrah spirituality.

The desire for something "new" or "fresh" seems to be more in reaction to percieved stagnation within the body of Christ, especially in terms of being relevant to young adults, than it is finding some secret truth that God has kept hidden all these centures...at least in my personal walk.

I know there are several within the EC movement (Brian McLaren among them) who take a semi-Gnostic approach to scripture, which I believe to be a backlash against the decades of quoting random lines of scripture and claiming that they support this or that political position.

That's a good observation. I think there are some doctrines that we simply cannot move on while there are others that we should be open to move on.

Believing in God's foreknowledge, for example, is something I believe we cannot move on. Predestination (e.g. Calvinism vs. Arminianism) is something I believe we should be open to changing.

The problem is, the EC allows us to be fluid in all beliefs. For example, Jack Caputo's book "The Weakness of God" suggests that the 2004 Tsunami in the Indian Ocean wasn't foreseen by God and even if it were He could have done nothing to stop it (God can't interact with nature, only with humans). It is worth noting that Jack is a mentor to McLaren and very good friends with many of the EC authors.

Buzzword
Jul 30th 2008, 03:31 PM
That's a good observation. I think there are some doctrines that we simply cannot move on while there are others that we should be open to move on.

Believing in God's foreknowledge, for example, is something I believe we cannot move on. Predestination (e.g. Calvinism vs. Arminianism) is something I believe we should be open to changing.

The problem is, the EC allows us to be fluid in all beliefs. For example, Jack Caputo's book "The Weakness of God" suggests that the 2004 Tsunami in the Indian Ocean wasn't foreseen by God and even if it were He could have done nothing to stop it (God can't interact with nature, only with humans). It is worth noting that Jack is a mentor to McLaren and very good friends with many of the EC authors.

I think it's better to say that certain individuals in the EC push for total fluidity.
The movement as a whole is too diverse and in many cases vague to say that it's ALL doing or pushing one thing or another.

I agree with most of the one book by McLaren I've read (Adventures in Missing the Point co-authored with Tony Campolo), but he didn't say everything he believes in that one book.

I agreed with much of what I read in Rob Bell's Velvet Elvis, though that has put me in conflict with many here :D.
Bell ALSO didn't say everything he believes in that single book.

Which is why I shy away from just saying "I agree with McLaren!" or "I agree ith Bell!"......I don't COMPLETLEY agree with everything either says.

It doesn't keep me from recognizing that they both have several valid points, however.

IBWatching
Jul 30th 2008, 04:36 PM
:pp

You nailed it. I'm actually writing a paper (which will turn into a book) that compares the EC to Schaeffer's theology and practice. I think that of all the theologians that weren't Biblical authors, Schaeffer is the best response to the EC and the postmodern movement overall...

I agree. If you re-read Schaeffer's writings, you'll remember that he talked about a "line of despair" which he thought many evangelicals would be forced to cross if they couldn't successfully deal with post-modernism. McLaren, Bell and the others have crossed Schaeffer's "line of despair", opting to regress to some point in the past rather than back to the roots. Thus, they are actually still trapped in modernism.

Part of the reason so many find the EC movement so attractive is because the local state-incorporated version of "church" isn't doing what the Church is supposed to do...equipping them for God's work, making them feel useful for God, giving them a purpose for serving. And let's face it, Christianity is a Faith based on a personal relationship, and many churches aren't interested in their personal growth, or have convinced them that they will grow through "giving" and sacrificing for the state incorporated entity which they pass for "church". I can certainly understand their frustration and despair because I have felt some of this too.

The best way for local assemblies to counter the EC movement is to go back to that point "A" I posted about. Focus on the fundamentals, get sober about the maturing of all Believers in that assembly and have a plan in place that helps them grow in their personal relationship with God. Quit entertaining or amusing them in an attempt to just to keep the coffers full.

Pastors and leaders have a responsibility to do this, but so do individual Believers. I currently have several younger (by spiritual age) Believers who have come to count on me to explain things which they don't understand. The sad part is that they aren't getting this from anyone in the local assemblies they attend. Why?

Buzzword
Jul 30th 2008, 05:31 PM
I agree. If you re-read Schaeffer's writings, you'll remember that he talked about a "line of despair" which he thought many evangelicals would be forced to cross if they couldn't successfully deal with post-modernism. McLaren, Bell and the others have crossed Schaeffer's "line of despair", opting to regress to some point in the past rather than back to the roots. Thus, they are actually still trapped in modernism.

Part of the reason so many find the EC movement so attractive is because the local state-incorporated version of "church" isn't doing what the Church is supposed to do...equipping them for God's work, making them feel useful for God, giving them a purpose for serving. And let's face it, Christianity is a Faith based on a personal relationship, and many churches aren't interested in their personal growth, or have convinced them that they will grow through "giving" and sacrificing for the state incorporated entity which they pass for "church". I can certainly understand their frustration and despair because I have felt some of this too.

The best way for local assemblies to counter the EC movement is to go back to that point "A" I posted about. Focus on the fundamentals, get sober about the maturing of all Believers in that assembly and have a plan in place that helps them grow in their personal relationship with God. Quit entertaining or amusing them in an attempt to just to keep the coffers full.

Pastors and leaders have a responsibility to do this, but so do individual Believers. I currently have several younger (by spiritual age) Believers who have come to count on me to explain things which they don't understand. The sad part is that they aren't getting this from anyone in the local assemblies they attend. Why?

I don't think "counter" is the proper term here.

I think we should do what the RCC failed to do in Luther's time: publically acknowledge the EC's concerns, and instead of demonizing them, WORK WITH THEM to bring an end to the stagnation they are trying to fight against.


"When a grievance has gone too long ignored, those who seek to remedy it will often swing the pendulum too far in the opposite direction."
-Mark Twain

Hence some of the more outlandish beliefs of those among the EC.

IBWatching
Jul 30th 2008, 08:04 PM
I don't think "counter" is the proper term here...

That is your opinion. And you are welcome to it. I however, have seen first hand the slippery slope that some people close to me have slid down because of this thinking. And I still stand by my earlier contention that all churches should get back to the basics. :)

SIG
Jul 31st 2008, 04:27 AM
I think remaining fluid means remaining constantly open to the Spirit's leading, and not locking ourselves down to doctrines which are more tradition-based than scripture- or even common sense-based.

Many within and without the EC feel that "Old Time Religion" is too simplistic, and doesn't address day-to-day struggles and spiritual dilemmas that Christians go through. They aren't satisfied with one-liners and hurrah spirituality.

The desire for something "new" or "fresh" seems to be more in reaction to percieved stagnation within the body of Christ, especially in terms of being relevant to young adults, than it is finding some secret truth that God has kept hidden all these centures...at least in my personal walk.

I know there are several within the EC movement (Brian McLaren among them) who take a semi-Gnostic approach to scripture, which I believe to be a backlash against the decades of quoting random lines of scripture and claiming that they support this or that political position.

I do not ever advocate tradition-based, common sense-based...or man-based doctrines. But, as has been pointed out, essential doctrines are ALL in Scripture. Non-essential doctrines are just that, and in these we have liberty.

I have only a vague sense of what "Old Time Religion" means, and would enjoy hearing a definition. I do know that Scripture has answers to ALL "day-to-day struggles and spiritual dilemmas" for anyone of any age in any century. And no, none of us should be content with one-liners and/or hurrah spirituality. But there are non-EC congregations that do provide depth.

Perceived stagnation may also be just that--perceived. If one is in what they see to be a stagnant congregation, they can choose to find one that is alive, without seeking the EC.

Perhaps I have trouble relating because I attend a congregation that is alive. But if I couldn't find an alive church, I seriously doubt I would settle for an EC.

apothanein kerdos
Jul 31st 2008, 02:09 PM
I think it's better to say that certain individuals in the EC push for total fluidity.
The movement as a whole is too diverse and in many cases vague to say that it's ALL doing or pushing one thing or another.

When the main movers and shakers of the philosophical influence behind the movement push for total fluidity, it is only a matter of time before all the writers push for the same thing.

It is true that the EC is much like the Gnostic crisis in that there is no one solid definition that fits them. Just as with the Gnostics there were contradictory beliefs and different emphases on different topics, so it is with the EC. The one common bond, however, that ties them all together is 'incredulity toward meta-narratives' (as Lyotard stated). When they follow this belief to its ultimate end they will quickly discover that everything in their belief system has to be fluid.


I agree with most of the one book by McLaren I've read (Adventures in Missing the Point co-authored with Tony Campolo), but he didn't say everything he believes in that one book.

I agreed with much of what I read in Rob Bell's Velvet Elvis, though that has put me in conflict with many here .
Bell ALSO didn't say everything he believes in that single book.

Aside from the fact that both books are dangerous and mostly wrong...

McLaren didn't state everything he believes in that one book, but I've read multiple books by McLaren and I've read the philosophers that he admits have played a major influence on him. With that in mind, wouldn't it make sense that I'm in a position to offer an adequate critique on McLaren's writings?


It doesn't keep me from recognizing that they both have several valid points, however.

Well certainly they have valid points (Bell more than McLaren). At the same time, Osama bin Laden's critique of America also had some valid points. I don't say this to compare them to terrorists (well, maybe they are theological terrorists [said tongue in cheek]), but instead to point out that just because someone has valid points doesn't mean we shouldn't speak out against what the person is teaching.

All heresies, false doctrines, and misguided teachers will have valid points here and there - this doesn't mean we ignore the lies surrounding the truth. We use the truth in their statements to find common ground, but then show how the rest of their beliefs fail to support the truth in their statements. We 'lift the roof off' and show how their surrounding beliefs don't allow for the truth within their own system.

Take McLaren for example. He teaches in Adventures that we need to help the poor. This is a true statement. He also, however, teaches that instead of having a Bible teacher tell us what the Bible means that all of us, instead, sit around and discuss what it means to us. Notice how even Campolo, in his response to McLaren on that chapter, is uncomfortable with McLaren's statement. Why is this? Campolo is smart enough to realize that if we take McLaren seriously, then defending the poor and advocating others do it is useless. We can't use Scripture to say, "Well Jesus said..." because I can easily turn around and say, "But that's your community's interpretation; my community's interpretation is different. Why are you forcing your interpretation on me?"

Thus, this is merely one example of how McLaren's peripheral views fail to support his views that happen to be truthful.


I think we should do what the RCC failed to do in Luther's time: publically acknowledge the EC's concerns, and instead of demonizing them, WORK WITH THEM to bring an end to the stagnation they are trying to fight against.

The problem is they really don't want to be worked with, nor can we necessarily work with them. If you hold to orthodoxy on a number of positions, but still live an authentic life, they won't work with you (I've found this out first hand).

Look at how they treat Schaeffer. Here is a man who in the 40's spoke out against racism. He was harsh with the church on their treatment of non-white races. He advocated helping the poor. He advocated listening to the hippies and working to help them find something better. He was a man that had his heart in the right place.

Yet, they quickly turn their backs on him simply because he taught in propositional truth along with relational truth.

That is the mindset of the EC. Keep in mind that they are adopting postmodernism into Christianity. Note what Paul says in Colossians and then tell me if we should be working with people that violate a very important commandment. :)

IBWatching,

I agree. If you re-read Schaeffer's writings, you'll remember that he talked about a "line of despair" which he thought many evangelicals would be forced to cross if they couldn't successfully deal with post-modernism. McLaren, Bell and the others have crossed Schaeffer's "line of despair", opting to regress to some point in the past rather than back to the roots. Thus, they are actually still trapped in modernism.

Exactly and I think that is the biggest problem with the EC. They treat modernism like a boogeyman and anything they disagree with in Christianity they say, "That's because of the Enlightenment." Though they are sometimes accurate they fail to do two things:

1) Show why it is wrong (simply equivocating it to a time period of thinking doesn't suffice for showing how something is wrong)

2) Fail to show how it's from the Enlightenment

Moreover, their biggest problem is that they buy into the Enlightenment. I sometimes wonder if they have read Descartes, Rousseau, Kant, Locke, or even Hume (the most postmodern modern writer). All of them believe we are to doubt. All of them believe things such as faith, emotions, and non-scientific studies are to be placed within the realm of "experience" or "non-factual." They fail to look at philosophy pre-Descartes to realize that a lot of what apologists do now is what apologists have done long before Descartes and are therefore pre-modern in their approach.


Part of the reason so many find the EC movement so attractive is because the local state-incorporated version of "church" isn't doing what the Church is supposed to do...equipping them for God's work, making them feel useful for God, giving them a purpose for serving. And let's face it, Christianity is a Faith based on a personal relationship, and many churches aren't interested in their personal growth, or have convinced them that they will grow through "giving" and sacrificing for the state incorporated entity which they pass for "church". I can certainly understand their frustration and despair because I have felt some of this too.

The best way for local assemblies to counter the EC movement is to go back to that point "A" I posted about. Focus on the fundamentals, get sober about the maturing of all Believers in that assembly and have a plan in place that helps them grow in their personal relationship with God. Quit entertaining or amusing them in an attempt to just to keep the coffers full.

I honestly think this is the best solution. If you think about it, the Church is under attack from all directions. Though we should be willing to counter these arguments, the best thing we can do is offer something authentic. If we teach and live the truth then a lot of the critiques and attacks lose their venom.

IBWatching
Jul 31st 2008, 03:34 PM
...If you think about it, the Church is under attack from all directions. Though we should be willing to counter these arguments, the best thing we can do is offer something authentic. If we teach and live the truth then a lot of the critiques and attacks lose their venom.

I agree. And the responsibility falls on all of us, not just local assembly pastors and leaders. :)