Friday, July 24, 2009

Buyer Beware of The "Emergent Church"


I just recently learned about the Emergent Church Movement (or lack thereof) here in the US, (thanks Man Of the West) but I am seeing it (Emergent Church stuff) crop up more and more now that I am aware...

So that you might be aware, here is a rough but informative piece on them.'

The Emergent Church Could Submerge Yours!
"If you ask nine out of ten Christians just what is this Emergent or Emerging Church, they will likely be clueless! Nonetheless, it is devouring entire denominations and churches that were once solid."

"You can't say you weren't warned".

And from "Understand The Times.org" we have...

"Exposing The Emergent Church"

Commentary by Roger Oakland exposing the Emerging Church:

The Inclusive Gospel
New Spiritual Disciplines From Ancient Roman Catholic Sources
Are Emerging Church Critics Too Critical?
Drumming Up "Jesus"
Home To Rome
The Emergence Of The Eucharist In The Emerging Church
Exposing The Emerging Church
What Ever Happened to The Bible?

How to Know When the Emerging Church Shows Signs of Emerging in Your Church
The Emerging Church And Bible Prophecy
Reemerging Of The Emerging Church
The Emerging Church: Another Road To Rome
The Emerging Church: Last Days Apostasy and a Return To Darkness

Other articles exposing the Emergent Church

Improving the Storytelling of the Gospel - 6/26/09
Church blesses fathers with beer - 6/20/09
Americans Tired of Typical Church, Report Shows - 6/8/09
Catholics Join Emerging Church Conversation - 3/13/09
Missional Church Movement - The Next Big Thing? - 3/13/09
Most Americans Pick and Choose Religious Beliefs - 1/12/09
Emergent's Divergence - Leaders hope decentralizing power will revitalize the movement - 12/18/08
Schullers' rift centers on 'Hour of Power' - 10/27/08
Beatles songs as likely to explain Christianity as the Bible, says bishop - 10/19/08
A Monastic Kind of LifeHow Catholic religious communities are trying to attract young people again - 10/14/08
Emerging Leader Urges Christians to Shape Culture from Within - 10/12/08
'Emerging church' seeks the justice Jesus sought - 6/5/08
Interview: Brian McLaren on Change and the Emerging Church - 5/15/08

Many more here.

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26 Comments:

Blogger Man of the West said...

Red, while I do think that there is much dangerous material within the Emergent Church movement, it must be noted that, considered as any kind of a "movement," it is rapidly losing coherency. More than a few people believe that, organizationally speaking, it is "done," though we still have to contend with the widespread dissemination of its thinking.

It must also be noted, in fairness, that there are elements of Emergent that are more conservative than Pagitt, McLaren, Jones, etc. More than once, I have characterized them as the "token conservatives" within the movement.

I reviewed four books bearing on the subject some time back--three of McLaren's and D.A. Carson's examination of the whole subject. I may get 'round to republishing them this weekend, since the subject seems to have sparked your interest.

7:13 PM  
Blogger Red S Tater said...

If not for you I probably would not have known about it at all... but now as I search names of pastors I have disagreed with in the past... or new ones that come up and include the word "emergent"... and holy cow whammo-bammo they have one thing in common.

I saw a post at another blog on Robert Wright taking on Christianity... and sure enough he likes to quote several of the emergent pastors.

8:50 AM  
Blogger Dave said...

Not to ask a stupid question, but what is so bad about these guys?

12:58 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

Speaking of Robert Wright I really want to read his book The Evolution of God.

1:00 PM  
Blogger Red S Tater said...

I thought you were done with me... my guess would be that if you have no concerns about the destruction and rebuilding of traditional Christian values into the vision and image of Woody Guthrie, moving the church to the left and making it an arm of the Democrat party, then there is probably not a thing wrong with the Emergent Church movement.

1:23 PM  
Blogger Red S Tater said...

"Evolution of God".... hmmm

I'm looking forward to reading his other works... "Birth of the aborted", "Inside the outside", "When Rocks Were Alive", "Hot means Cold" and "Other Misnomers".

1:35 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

Wow that was harsh. I just asked an honest question. Besides, i apologized to you and you apologized to me so I thought we were cool. I'm sorry. I wasn't trying to tick you off.

1:35 PM  
Blogger Red S Tater said...

Ohhh I forgot his best sellers... "The evolution of evolution" and "Plants are Intelligent Too".

1:39 PM  
Blogger Red S Tater said...

Did you bother reading any of the dozens of links I provided in the post about the emergent church first or just ask a question to get a response?

I also said I wouldn't comment over at your site anymore, you seemed to think that was a good idea, so I just left it at that.

Sorry if I sounded short and blunt there dave, but good grief... I posted about 2 dozen links to articles discussing "what's so bad" about the emergent church subversive movement and you ask...
"what's so bad about these guys".

All I can do is post it and put up links... you gotta do the reading part man.
-red

1:49 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

Actually I haven’t had a chance to read the links that you provided in your post. I was simply asking your and MOTW’s opinion on the matter. That was obviously a mistake.

I would like to offer one quick response to your snarky statements about Wright’s book by quoting from the About the Book section of the book’s official website and the Wikipedia article on the book –

From About the Book:
“In The Evolution of God, Robert Wright takes us on a sweeping journey through history, unveiling a discovery of crucial importance to the present moment: there is a pattern in the evolution of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and a “hidden code” in their scriptures. Reading these scriptures in light of the circumstances surrounding their creation, Wright reveals the forces that have repeatedly moved the Abrahamic faiths away from belligerence and intolerance to a higher moral plane. And he shows how these forces could today let these faiths reassert their deep proclivity toward harmony and reconciliation. What’s more, his analysis raises the prospect of a second kind of reconciliation: the reconciliation of science and religion.”

From Wikipedia:
“The book explores the history of the concept of God in the three Abrahamic religions through a variety of means, including archeology, history, theology, and evolutionary psychology. The patterns which link Judaism, Christianity, and Islam and the ways in which they have changed their concepts over time are explored as one of the central themes.”

Again Red, I’m sorry to have bothered you. I know when I’m not welcome and I’ll make sure to stay away. Be safe.

2:07 PM  
Blogger Red S Tater said...

Look... I meant it when I said you are more than welcome to comment here and in fact you are invited to comment here.

However, you're not going to decide what or how my response will look like... and I can't make you like it... and you're probably not going to change my style overall.

I'm sorry you don't like snarky or sarcasm... I don't like it when patronizing liberals pretend to be above the fray and above being judgmental... while getting into the fray and being judgmental... I don't like it when liberals act like they are smarter than everyone else by saying that of course they could be wrong haha.

I don't like gray areas and you live in the gray area... you don't see things as simple right and wrong and I do.

I actually thought you were being sarcastic when you asked what was wrong with that emergent bunch.

If you would like... we can reset.

I will honestly try real hard to respond to you without sarcasm and snarkyness and you try real hard to consider the possibility that you are more partisan and judgmental than you think you are.

Okay?

6:43 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

Fair enough.

7:26 PM  
Blogger Man of the West said...

...what is so bad about these guys?

Seems like a simple enough question, doesn't it, Dave? But it's actually very complex, and I don't think I'm going to be able to do more than touch the surface with a brief comment.

So: first, you have to understand that Emergent (also often referred to as "Emerging" or "the conversation") can be very hard to pin down. Not everyone labeling themselves as "emergent" is necessarily a flaming religious liberal. However...Okay, let me try this: Dave, when I use the word "Christian," it is not a contentless word devoid of objective meaning to you, right? That is, while I know you understand that Christians may differ on certain things, such as mode and timing of baptism, whether the church replaces Israel in prophecy or not, whether being "filled with the Spirit" necessarily results in speaking in tongues, etc., you also know that there are certain core things that all Christians believe, things that, if denied, render the religion something other than Christianity? For example, when it comes right down to it, it is very hard to call a man a Christian if, say, he doesn't believe that Christ rose bodily from the dead--regardless of what he thinks about Christ's moral and ethical teachings. You might say such a man is heavily influenced by Christ's teachings, you might even call him religious, but to call him a Christian is definitely to depart from the recognized meaning of the term.

The "problem" with Emergent, in the very smallest nutshell in which I can put it, I think, is that many, not all, Emergents question or deny either the objective reality of those core Christian doctrines, or the ability of man to know them, yet they will not go all the way and admit that what they are teaching is no longer Christianity, but something else.

It is as though someone were claiming to teach Buddhism without recognizing--what is it? The eight noble precepts or something? or the Eightfold Path? Or claiming to teach Islam whilst denying that Muhammad is Allah's prophet.

I'll try to edit those old book reviews and get them ready for publication. Reading them will be far more informative than this brief comment.

9:08 PM  
Blogger Man of the West said...

And, by the way, you two fight more than any other two people I've seen--at least, more than any other two people I've seen that weren't married. :)

9:10 PM  
Blogger Red S Tater said...

lol

9:21 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

MOTW –
Ah ha. That makes sense. These are folks who disagree with so of the core teachings, or at least what is seen as core teachings, of Christianity while still claiming to be Christians. Interesting. I wonder though, is this really that new of a thing? Didn’t the earliest Christians also have vast disagreements on doctrines, the Trinity, and Christ himself? They were all considered Christians at the time (until certain votes by councils turned them into heretics at least). But even so, if one looks at how the three major branches of Christianity view the Trinity, they don’t agree. So how are they all that different from the “Emerging” folks?

The concepts that you were looking for in Buddhism are the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path.

As far as the fighting between Red and I are concerned… We have been getting under each others skins for a few years now. Red started posting comments on my blog shortly I joined the Blog Oklahoma blog ring. At first it was really ugly. Then we came to an understanding over the war in Iraq and started being nicer to each other. Red has always used snark and I have always criticized him for it. That’s the short version at least.


Red –
So you really see me as a “patronizing liberal”? And you really think that I think that I am “smarter than everyone else”? If that is the case, then I really need to reevaluate how I present my arguments because that is not my intention at all. I’ll totally admit to being judgmental and biased at times, but we all are. I will also try harder to not be that way.

And yes I have a problem with snark, but it is not just you. You happen to be the person that I know the best who employs the, in my opinion, tasteless rhetorical technique. So because of that, you often get the brunt of my frustration in the matter. I’m really sorry about that. I will try harder to not take the things you say personally.

7:45 AM  
Blogger Red S Tater said...

And I will jump the snark... i mean dump the shark, you know what i mean.

Hey dave... getting the brunt of your frustration over my tasteless rhetorical technique... makes my day. Then I know I got under the skin of at least one liberal today.

Besides, if it works on you then I know it's a keeper. Like I said, you are a good thermometer.

I'm just kidding you man... joking around is still allowed, yes?

8:16 AM  
Blogger Dave said...

Joke are allowed…very much so. :o)

Let me ask a serious question though. Do you think that you would be able to bring more people over to your way of thinking without using snark?

8:21 AM  
Blogger Red S Tater said...

As far as you (or me or anyone) thinking you are smarter than everyone else... seriously, without being snarky... you don't think you are DUMBER than everyone else do you... or exactly the same, neither smarter nor dumber than everyone else?

Don't you think that you are on the right path to figuring things out, that more people should be like you and think like you?

Seriously, wouldn't the world be a better place if more people thought as you do?

Honestly.

8:23 AM  
Blogger Dave said...

This might show up twice…sorry about that.

That doesn’t sound dirty when you put it like that Red. Okay…guilty as charged.

8:36 AM  
Blogger Red S Tater said...

Do I think I could change more people's way of thinking without sarcasm or "snarkiness"?

hmmm no i doubt it. As I have said before, I think people have made up their minds and changing it is a very slow process... because that is the way the human mind works.

It takes someone in a position of authority or that someone respects greatly in the first place to effectively be able to impact opinion change.

People that don't agree with me here at Red Stater don't trust me enough to actually try what I'm cooking or believe what I'm saying as the case may be.

So, naw... i don't think it would help. But for you I am making an exception.

9:07 AM  
Blogger Dave said...

Interesting and thank you. :o) I'm going to do a post on snark sometime soon. It's one of many that are brewing in my head at the moment.

9:28 AM  
Blogger Red S Tater said...

BTW- Don't you think the President is pretty snarky?

Anytime he gets a tough question or one with a premise with which he disagrees... his response is to get snarky set up a strawman argument and sarcastically knock it down.
Honestly, don't you think he's the leader of snarkiness right now?

9:37 AM  
Blogger Dave said...

Oh he’s a snarky butt and that’s one of the laundry list of things that disappoints me about him.

9:51 AM  
Blogger Red S Tater said...

lol... snarky butt, too funny. I do know what you mean about snarky comments kinda being the easy way out.

9:57 AM  
Blogger Man of the West said...

Didn’t the earliest Christians also have vast disagreements on doctrines, the Trinity, and Christ himself? They were all considered Christians at the time (until certain votes by councils turned them into heretics at least). But even so, if one looks at how the three major branches of Christianity view the Trinity, they don’t agree. So how are they all that different from the “Emerging” folks?

Saying that that's a fairly "loaded" series of questions/statements just might qualify as the understatement of the week, Dave. :) For now, suffice to say that over the years I'll paint a different portrait of the development of doctrine, trinitarianism, and canonicity than what you may be familiar with, probably by means of doing the occasional book review.

I don't know how people ever run out of stuff to blog about. My chief problem is finding time to write it all. But I digress.

Not all Emergents agree on certain things, Dave; they've reminded me of this so many times that I've come to refer to it as the "Standard Emergent Defense": "Not all Emergents are like that, MOTW!" But enough are like that--calling into question, or outright denying core doctrines, or denying their knowability--that I think the generalization is justified.

It was no accident that I picked the resurrection of Christ as an example. Though I'm sure most Emergents would, in fact, affirm that Christ rose from the dead, I have seen them argue that someone like Marcus Borg, who argues that Christ did not actually rise from the dead, that he only "spiritually" (that may not be his exact term, but you get the idea) rose from the dead, is a Christian.

Say what you like about a lot of things, but when a man denies the central event of Christianity, I have a hard time calling him a Christian--and a hard time accepting those who would as legitimate and knowledgeable teachers.

That is only one example. As I said, I will edit some of those old book reviews and republish them, and you can see more of what I'm talking about. May take me a few days.

1:50 PM  

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