Thursday, April 05, 2007

Response to "Five Streams of the Emergent Church"

Lindsey linked to this article by Scot McKnight on the emerging church as food for thought and mentioned this concept in particular:

"A notable emphasis of the emerging movement is orthopraxy, that is, right living. The contention is that how a person lives is more important than what he or she believes. Many will immediately claim that we need both or that orthopraxy flows from orthodoxy. Most in the emerging movement agree we need both, but they contest the second claim: Experience does not prove that those who believe the right things live the right way...Here is an emerging, provocative way of saying it: "By their fruits [not their theology] you will know them."

There are at least a few things in this description of the emerging church that are huge red flags to me. This quote is the first one. While it is true that many who have or claim to have the right theology have not lived in a way that reflects their belief, I don't think that it is reasonable to think that you will live the right way if you don't believe the right way. When you grasp a right view of God it should radically change the way that you live. Isaiah caught a glimpse of God and saw what he really was. If you don't believe the right things, then how are you supposed to live the right way? how would you know what the right way was? God gave us His word so that we could know the right way to live. We are commanded to search the Scriptures, study to show ourselves approved unto God, and rightly divide the word of truth. This really sounds like the old faith versus works argument that the Bible already addresses. Without faith it is impossible to please Him, but faith without works is dead, it's not genuine. The same thing could be said of your orthodoxy.

Obviously the "in versus out" debate is a big problem, but even the author of this article addressed that.

The political demographics of this movement leave me appalled. Yes, there are too many Christians who believe that the Republicans are saviors. There is only one Savior. He is the only one who can change peoples hearts and make any lasting changes in their lives. That's something this emerging movement needs to remember as well. Social reform comes from the inside out. The church, not the government, should be responsible for reaching out to those in need and has often failed miserably. While we should seek to have the government address serious social problems (Wilberforce and his fight to end slavery being a very visible example) I cannot conceive of believers supporting the Democratic party as a whole. How can you align yourselves with a party that blatantly opposes nearly anything moral? This seems so narrowly focused. Do you think that there were Christians in Nazi Germany who supported the Nazi party because they thought that it would help their people recover from the financial and economical disaster of the First World War? What do we think of them? Do we wonder how they could have stood by and watched an entire race of people be exterminated? Someone please tell me how the Democratic party's supposed "historic commitment to the poor and to centralizing government for social justice" is worth the blood price of millions of tiny babies. If these innocents can't be protected, then why pretend that your protecting or helping anyone?!Not to mention how they'd like to reform my entire way of life from the pennies in my pocket to the way I educate my children and conform it to their master social plan. No thanks! Maybe I'm crazy, but this constitutes a massive lack of discernment to me.

So that's my take on this article for anyone that cares. If the emerging church wants to use incense or sit in a circle - good for them, but we have been called by a holy God to go into all the world and preach the gospel. Any movement that forgets that the gospel is the only thing that will every change the world has completely missed the point.

1 comment:

Leslie said...

Excellent post!!