Saturday, February 13, 2010

what is the emergent church

I found the following paragraph interesting. It was written by someone I perceive to be smart as well as growing in Christ ... and he considers himself "emerging".

[T]he modern church is slowly losing viability over the requirements it places on those walking in, while the “emergent church” (whatever you want that to mean) doesn’t object to being full of hypocrites, liars, adulterers, prostitutes, homosexuals and degenerates – yes, with people like me. It’s message before change, not change before message – embrace of all men, not conditional interaction.

Here is my reaction:

I acknowledged my sin and need for forgiveness and committed myself to Jesus' leadership nearly 31 years ago. Since then I've been involved in many "churches". I have never been in one that has formal requirements for those "walking in". On the other hand, I have never experienced any group that ultimately doesn't have some level of informal boundaries. It would be self-deception if someone from the emerging gang really believes they do not have a "code". Therefore, I'm not clear what my friend's statement is other than confusing and fueling the bias of some against the organized church.

I wonder who are the hypocrites, liars, etc.? If this refers to those walking in, see the point above. If this means that the church is full of those who are tempted by and give in to these things, then I'm not aware of a church that isn't. That's not unique to the EC. In fact, many in the EC are becoming more open and aggressive in their pointing out of sins in the "traditional" church. I become more and more unclear, if the church is full of these and the EC gang claims it ought to be, why do we need a new kind of Christianity in their mind? Or, if it means that the church is full of those that still are these by nature and not recreated and in the process of sanctification, then yes, we have a difference in understanding of the work of Christ. And yes, I would not consider those people the "church". I would go to those, love them, care for them, etc. but in the end they need the life of Christ that ultimately results in healing and setting us free from bondage to sin ... oh, and to a life of obedience.

"People like me." See the point above - I sin, but I'm not a slave to sin. And I do not help others see that they are ok to remain in their sin as many EC folks are proud to have done. Separately, I understand that these can be loved before they see there need to change. But I also know, that if I show up Christ-like, it will be the aroma of life to some and of death to others.

"It's the message before the change, not change before the message." So I'm missing what's emerging about that concept?

Net, all of this seems loving to the ear not trained by the Spirit. In fact it only opens the door to the liberal (not new) heresies of false teachers such as McLaren.

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mt si dad said...

I like this point you make:

"It would self-deception if someone from the emerging gang really believes they do not have a 'code'."

The key point is every group has boundaries of who is in and who is out - or it is not a group; it is simply another name for the whole. And there is no one that I know of who seriously thinks that everyone in the world is simply OK as they are, that actions and beliefs are just fine just the way they are.

To say my group doesn't have the same strict boundaries as your group is really silly. You have strict boundaries as well, but you like your boundaries and don't find them burdensome.

To draw a circle is to draw a boundary between inner and outer.

I'd be more accurate to say "I don't like the boundaries you use," or "I don't agree with the requirements you use for your boundaries."

Personally speaking, I've never - ever - been to a church that was "legalistic" in the sense of "we have these codes and we want to enforce them." Every church has claimed grace, and every church has been full of people who walked in legalism. But they didn't think it was that way -- to them, their legalisms were perfectly reasonable penumbrations of grace.

And a lot of times the request for grace is simply a request for a personal safety zone or exception for the things I want to continue to do while still claiming membership in a club that would otherwise not have me.

Well, my thoughts, anyway. YMMV

Brendt said...

To the writer you quoted: "Ray Bolger is on line 2."

mt si dad said...

Good line, Brendt. You accomplished two things:

* You made me think, and then
* You made me laugh