Wednesday, April 19, 2006

NY Times on the Emergent Church and “Evangelicalism”

In a recent article in the NY Times there is a discussion on “Evangelicals debating the meaning of ‘Evangelical.’” (Click here to read it.)

Lower down in the article is a quote I couldn’t help but notice. I have been following what is known as the “Emergent Church” for some time now…and this sentence really caught my attention.

“[regarding the Emerging Church] It emphasizes reading the Bible as a narrative, perfect in its purposes but not necessarily inerrant; de-emphasizing individual salvation in favor of a more holistic mission in serving the world; even making evangelicals less absolutist on whether people from other religions might find their way to heaven.”

I’m not sure what the Emerging Church has to say about this, but article says further down
“But Brian D. McLaren, founding pastor of Cedar Ridge Community Church outside of Baltimore and a chief apostle of the emerging church, argues that he is not promoting relativism; rather, he believes the evangelical movement has been hijacked theologically, as well as politically, by its more fundamentalist elements, something he is trying to correct. ‘In many, many areas, I'm looking at polarization,’ he said, ‘and I'm looking at a third way.'"

Al Mohler says this, “A third way between what? It is intellectually dishonest to suggest that those who stand in continuity with the founders of evangelicalism have hijacked the evangelical movement.”

Check out Al Mohler’s blog on this here
Wow…interesting stuff.

If the emerging church really denies the inerrancy of Scripture…then outright that is antithetical to what the E-free statement of faith teaches...what we believe (check out the first point of the statement of faith here).

The first point of our statement of faith is:
(1) The Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments, to be the inspired Word of God, without error in the original writings, the complete revelation of His will for the salvation of men and the Divine and final authority for Christian faith and life.

When approaching the theology of the Emergent/Emerging Church be very discerning and very careful. There is a wide array of what different churches practice that call themselves Emerging/Emergent Churches, but Brian McLaren and others who are identified as the leaders of this movement embrace a theology that is different than much of orthodox Christianity. They use words that are very vague to describe their it's confusing to figure out what they actually do be very careful. There are some healthy orthodox Christian churches who use the title Emergent who have a more orthodox approach to theology, but they are selling themselves short using the title Emergent. The Emerging church is surrounded by questions as to what they believe. Those churches that are healthy in their theology are just confusing the matter more. In the end this movement may turn out to have good theology attached to it's name, but right now it's way up in the air!

Also, here is a quote from an article that the Emergent Church cites from their own webpage. Here's what an article in Christianity Today says (the Emergent website links to this article):
Then it stopped working." The Bells [leaders of an Emergent church]started questioning their assumptions about the Bible itself—"discovering the Bible as a human product," as Rob puts it, rather than the product of divine fiat."

There is definitely more to say... but specifically if you have heard of the Emerging/Emergent Church be very careful when reading or approaching their material.

If you're interested here's a good book you can read on it...D.A. Carson's Being Conversant with Emergent.

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