Monday, October 24, 2005

Emergent or Divergent?

Christianity Today has a review of D. A. Carson's book on the Emerging Church. This weekend, I spent some time digging around and fear they are on shaky ground theologically. I think parts of the movement are asking important questions (I really enjoyed Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller), but the core seems to be the same folks who brought out the labyrinths 5 years ago--I think they may focus so much on new spiritual experience that experience is placed above revealed truth. Pete used Colossians 2:18 to address a similar issue this Sunday. I can't fully defend that yet, but I'll work on it.

I got halfway through Nehemiah today. It contains the account of an entire nation re-forming itself out of the ruins of the past. As they progressed, they made decisions based on what they assumed to be true. As the priests began to study the Law, they were sometimes shocked to learn the truth found therein and they had to radically alter their decisions. God doesn't always flow out of the kind and well-intentioned logic of those who think they understand him. We don't learn him simply from the traditions or assumptions of the past. First, we take him at his Word, then we seek the past to help us understand it. Sometimes, that's divisive, but it can't be the other way around. Faith seeking understanding.

2 comments:

Hankinstien said...

This is a great point. As much as the "new movement" or post-moderns or whatever talk about experience being the key--its very dangerous to base your values, or your view of God, on experience. Its important, but I've seen many a friend go down a horrible path because of some supposedly "spiritual experience" they had. Unless it can be backed up scripturally, we should be wary of basing decisions on emotion or experience. In that regard I feel torn between the post-modern and the old school-cause I think like a post modernist, but I have so much value on the intellectual, scriptural, non-experience side of things. What does that make me?

With that in mind, I'm really curious to see what you think of this link:
http://www.valyermo.com/ld-art.html
I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Jonathan said...

Cool stuff - I heard Miller speak last month and was super-impressed with him. Beyond Miller & Kimball, there's not too much about Emergent that I dig.