Saturday, May 13, 2006

Concerns Regarding the Emerging Church Movement? Part 1.1

The Church

To quote Mark Dever from The Deliberate Church (Pp. 26),
"Fundamentally, God intends the local church to be a corporate display of His glory and wisdom, both to unbelievers and to unseen spiritual powers (John 13:34-35; Ephesians 3:10-11). More specifically, we are a corporate dwelling place fo God's spirit (Ephesians 2:19-22; 1 Corinthians 3:16-17), the organic body of Christ in which He magnifies His glory (Acts 9:4; 1 Corinthians 12). The Greek word is ekklēsia (ἐκκλησία), a gathering or congregating of people. The church is God's vehicle for displaying His glory to His creation."

Later he says how we should build it (Pp. 27-28),
"...let us be clear on the relationship between the Gospel of Christ and the method of its ministers.

(1) Theology drives method.
Whether we realize it or not, our thinking on the Gospel will shape the way we share it. Our theology of the Good News will be brought to bear on how we build the church. [Note: Remember though that Jesus is ultimately the one who is building His Church Matthew 16:18.]
(2) God's methods determine ours.
The methods we use to plant and water in God's vineyard must be subservient to and in complete harmony with the working of God's growth method - the Gospel, as faithfully preached by His servants. Working contrary to God's processes often means working contrary to His purposes.
(3) The Gospel both enables and informs our participation in God's purposes.
We are not even able to enter the Kingdom of God, much less minister in it, unless His Gospel first does its work in us; not do we know how to minister in His kingdom unless His Gospel first provides the parameters for doing so. As such, the Gospel alone must both shape and evaluate any ministry method we use.
(4) Faithfulness to the Gospel must be our measure of success, not results.
The power of God for spiritual life and genuine holiness is in the Gospel. So fidelity is paramount, not innovation, and not immediately observable results. Simon the Magician drew a crowd - he even had them calling him the Power of God; but his power, motive, and message were fraudulent (Acts 8:9-11). Our call is to fidelity as messengers. Only God causes real growth (1 Corinthians 3:6-7), and He does so by the Gospel (Romans 10:14-17; Galatians 2:1-5)."

We aren't perfect, so every method we attempt to do will not be perfect. But we must strive for God's way of building His church, or "doing church". If theology drives everything we must have a clear understanding of what the actual theology is.

I think that those under the banner of the Emergent Church may agree with this. Many churches under the banner of Evangelicalism aren't genuinely pursuing truth in teaching and living, so many Emergent Church Movement leaders are trying to pioneer (in their eyes) "living/doing theology." This is good only if the theology is good.

More to come!

In Christ

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