Listening to the Beliefs of Emerging Churches – part one

“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”  Hebrews 4:12

I finished the book Listening to the Beliefs of Emerging Churches.  I was pleasantly surprised at how much I agreed with (Driscoll and Burke); and am finding myself more open to aspects of this movement than I anticipated…  That said, the extreme end of things (Pagitt) is very disconcerting, and my thoughts at this time are to address the issue of truth…

Making a point in an EC conversation would be almost moot, if we do not agree on the supremacy of the Word in our theology.   Some Pagitt quotes:

“I understand the ‘Read the Bible get and get the meaning’ apporach is part of Mark’s own personal history of faith, but that does not give it crediblity as a theological system”  pg 44

“I hold that a reading of history ought to instruct us to create ways of thought that are useful but temporary.  Complex understandings meant for all people, in all places, for all times, are simply not possible.  Language, situation, specific issues, and people’s own preferences and insecurity all are involved in any belief system.  There is no way to make a statement of substantive belief with these kinds of issues being at play.  So one must make adjustments, even if they are slight, in order to remain faithful.”  pg 137

“If we hold that people are either right or wrong in their beliefs, and leave no place for faithfulness being understood as one being as right as one could be in their day, then we find ourselves standing above and not alongside those who have come before us (or are of a differing opinion near or far from us).  We would have to declare that there are simply those who are right, in full alignment with the “truth” and all others are to be condemned.” pg 138

“Without a temporary view of theology and belief, we are left having to condemn the different beliefs of those who have gone before us.” pg 137

I can not say to a man who does not trust in the inerrancy of God’s Word: “Well, God says this”, because God may or may not have meant that.  He may have meant it, but only to the people He was talk to.  He may have meant it, but only in that time or place.  I may not understand the context yet. 

Is God’s Word this complicated?  Why are the only ones who want questions, questions, questions, also the only ones who are adamant that we can not come up with solid answers? 

I want to say what God says about His own Word, and its signifigance, but I ( so very not sarcastically) want to know if that is sufficient….  Oh!  Let us not dare to trample His Word underfoot!  Let us not readily look for “a more contextual understanding of what the Spirit is saying to us in our day in order to live into it” (pg 125) at the cost of missing the beauty, relevance and need for what He said milleniums ago.  The word truth occurs 224 times in the NIV Bible:

“and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” Ephesians 6:17  Our only offensive piece of armor is the truth! 

“Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.”  1 Corinthians 13:6  Interesting that the “opposite” of delighting of evil in delighting in Truth.

“Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.”  1 John 3:18  Oh – how much there is to gleam here!

“God is spirit, and those who worship him must (dei – it is necessary, there is need of, it behooves, is right and proper) worship in spirit and truth.”  John 4:24   Amen. 

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5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. moveintothehood
    Oct 27, 2007 @ 21:56:13

    I almost bought the book yesterday. I believe the Emerging Church has much to say to the Church, especially when it comes to “how we do church” There are definately some concerning elements to the movement, but thats why we need to listen to what they have to say and lovingly join in the conversation.

    Aaron G.

    Reply

  2. Verity
    Oct 28, 2007 @ 07:28:59

    I am thinking, more and more, that perhaps the emerging church has the best understanding of the problem…. I just struggle with alot of their solutions.

    Reply

  3. moveintothehood
    Oct 28, 2007 @ 17:52:28

    I am starting to really believe that we are on the verge of a new reformation whose solutions will be as troubling as say Martin Luther’s solutions were to the Pope, or say Jesus’ solution was to the Jews.

    Reply

  4. Verity
    Oct 29, 2007 @ 07:52:02

    Those were both good-troubling solutions, what do you think is happening in the church today?

    Oh – and your link doesn’t work…..

    Reply

  5. moveintothehood
    Oct 29, 2007 @ 19:44:10

    I’m not sure what to make of whats going on. I know many Christians who are completly oblivious to the fact that anything is going on. I do feel we are on the verge of transition. The next time you go to a major Christian book store check out the Church resource section.

    Thanks for the heads up on the link, I’ll have to check my settings

    Reply

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