Friday, December 28, 2007

Depart from Scripture... You Depart from God and a Reverence for Him
...a few certain thoughts about the ECM


“For My hand made all these things,
Thus all these things came into being,”
declares the LORD.
“But to this one I will look,
To him who is humble and contrite of spirit,
and who trembles at My word."
-Isaiah 66:2


Legalism and the ECM
The ECM in their search for significance within a postmodern culture has left behind the "old paths" rather than maintaining them. In their striving to figure out how to do church in our day, I think that they are creating their own legalism--a postmodern arrogant cultural relevance legalism that says the gospel will have meager effect if not contextualized and the church will have little growth or impact if it doesn't adapt to culture.

Temporal vs Eternal
Emergent Christianity guts the faith to appeal to culture; and their myopic view of the kingdom of God predisposes them to be more concerned with the temporal, than the eternal.

The ECM has two Fundamental Flaws:
  • 1.) a lack of reverence for God and His Word; and
  • 2.) the unquenchable need to contextualize the Christian faith in adapting it to culture.
This is gangrenous to authentic Christianity. Erosion of the truth always begins with the subtle wandering away off the path of the essentials of the faith.


You don't go liberal by reading your Bibles;
you go liberal by not reading them.


Culture or Scripture - the Determining Authority?
In the hallowed ecumenical halls of Emergent theology (and yes they have one) postmodernity becomes the hermeneutic by which they interpret Scripture, rather than Scripture being the hermeneutic that correctly interprets postmodernity.

McLaren, Pagitt, and Bell (the uncertain trinity of Emergent Christianity) all depart from the soundness of biblical Christianity into various errant and nefarious doctrines at precisely this point.

FROM THE COMBOX:

IMHO: the EC's theology is methodological by nature, not biblical, rooted in culture. THEN, they take their cultural paradigm's and convert them into their ecclesiology, Christology, missiology, and theology.

What is derived is not Scriptural, but certainly marketable. Again, it is the seeker sensitive movement with an attitude.

Lastly, it results in liberal socialism by making planetary concerns primary concerns. I.e. redemption is just not thought of in terms of saving souls, but in saving the environment. Everything from the fictitious Global Warming, to abortion, gay rights, war, stem cell research, euthanasia, etc. (all valid concerns) trump the eternal concerns of the gospel. In fact, their gospel is now defined chiefly by the cultural moorings of society rather then by Scripture.

Ergo, the social gospel has found new friends in the ECM; and by design it cannot help but be ecumenical as it reinvents the meta of language, religion, missions, church, and solutions to human rights issues. And you must fit into their worldview of these things or be considered out of the conversation and outside the purview of Emergent Christianity. That breeds legalism.

This is their worldview. Don't drink the Kool-aid.

Campi
2 Tim. 2:15

12 comments:

Terry Rayburn said...

.
.
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[the EC says] "...the church will have little growth or impact if it doesn't adapt to culture..."

...their myopic view of the kingdom of God predisposes them to be more concerned with the temporal, than the eternal."


Steve,

Really good points.

The EC folks are amazingly like the old "Liberal" theology guys in their emphasis on social justice (a good thing in itself, of course), helping the poor (also a good thing in itself), etc.

The problem is that they emphasize those things, in a legalistic way ("Why aren't YOU doing what I'M doing? All you care about is getting people saved."), while de-emphasizing the Gospel, which is "the power of God for salvation for those who believe".

Sanctification, contrary to its common definition as "becoming more sinless", is really "understanding eternal truths more and more, and living accordingly". Thus ECers are stunting their own growth by their emphasis on the temporal.

(Of course, that's speaking of the born-again ECers. The unregenerate ones are, of course, even more legalistic, since they don't understand Grace at all.)

Timotheos said...

But, wait a moment. What is we aren't reaching the unchurched? Shouldn't we reconsider what we've been doing?
Note: attempt at playing devil's advocate.

SJ Camp said...

timotheos
Devil's advocate played, noted, and appreciated.

Terry
Good thoughts here brother. The EC's theology is methodological by nature, not biblical, rooted in culture. THEN, they take their cultural paradigm's and convert them into their ecclesiology, Christology, missiology, and theology.

What is derived is not Scriptural, but certainly marketable. Again, it is the seeker sensitive movement with an attitude.

Lastly, it results in liberal socialism by making planetary concerns primary concerns. I.e. redemption is just not thought of in terms of saving souls, but in saving the environment. Everything from the fictitious Global Warming, to abortion, gay rights, war, stem cell research, euthanasia, etc. trump the eternal concerns of the gospel. In fact, their gospel is now defined chiefly by the environmental concerns of society rather then by Scripture.

Ergo, the social gospel has found new friends in the ECM; and by design it cannot help but be ecumenical as it reinvents the meta of language, religion, missions, church, and solutions to human rights issues. And you must fit into their worldview of these things or be considered out of the conversation: legalism.

This is their worldview. Don't drink the Kool-aid y'all.

Campi
2 Tim. 2:15

Debbie said...

Perhaps it is simply because I've been reading and learning so much about the ECM lately, I seem to have had more than my share of recent encounters with those who have embraced its many and varied representations. One in particular, with a family member, was shocking and disheartening. Her conversation was riddled with all the verbiage (or in an unkind moment I might be tempted to call it verbage) of the ECM and a nearly desperate desire not to be thought of as abrasive in any way when sharing her faith. But what I found so startling (and which you have pointed out so well) is how there seemed to be no similar regard for my views, and to which she spoke in such a pejorative manner, especially when noting my obvious misunderstanding of the Scripture verse which began our whole discussion (John 14:6). Do I have a thorough understanding and grasp of the original language like her Dr. Pastor does? If not, how could I presume to know better? All the while, The Message was laying on the table next us ... a clear departure from her past study habits and reading diet. The irony of her comment with regard to "original language" and her new Bible choice did not escape me.

She is dear to me. I'm so thankful for all I'm learning and for the many future opportunities I hope to be given to shine a light.

Deb

littlegal_66 said...

"And you must fit into their worldview of these things or be considered out of the conversation and outside the purview of Emergent Christianity. That breeds legalism."

"In their striving to figure out how to do church in our day, I think that they are creating their own legalism........."


I agree.

Just another trick pony in the vicious cycle of the legalistic "carousel." That's what seems so ironic. In the struggle to flee the immediate "turn-off" that any appearance of legalism or self-righteous religiosity might incur, the very situation attempted to be avoided has been re-created, if not exacerbated. In the quest for cultural/social relevance and presence, and the quest for non-invasive, non-intrusive evangelism, the movement seems to have reached an unstable, sterile position, teetering dangerously on the brink of elitism.

The supposition: "We must assimilate to communicate," makes a nice internal rhyme, but its eternal merit is questionable at best. Mark's account of the Gospel didn't indicate Christ's imploring us to go into all the world and.........assimilate. (Mark 16:15).

And tragically, those who refuse to tinker, tamper, adjust or otherwise "fine tune" the already flawless Gospel are perceived as bigoted, intolerant, and judgmental, and their refusal to compromise the truth is met with religious arrogance and covert attempts at ostracism. And the merry-go-round of legalism comes full circle.

(That's just my take, FWIW).

The Seeking Disciple said...

Great post. It is time for the Church to stand up for truth and declare that the emergent movement is not biblical Christianity nor does it represent the evangelical church.

Joseph said...

Interesting conversation. I agree that the ECM has some warped theology, but I think it comes from a sincere desire to avoid doing "church as usual" meaning the "Americanized" version of it. I think that can be a healthy thing. Their desire seems to be to rediscover the One True God underneath all the propaganda and personal agendas we've tried to paste to His image.

I think one of their primary problems is that they are attempting to marry a postmodern mentality with Christian theology instead of allowing their mentality to be transformed by God and His Word. I have been researching this movement for the last year and I like some of what I see, I just fear that they may find themselves neck deep in error before they realize where they are. If they aren't there already.

On another unrelated note: I have enjoyed your music since I was 13 and am thrilled to find you are doing this blog. I even saw you in concert in 1991 at Oklahoma Baptist University. My friend and I sang with you on every song (from the adudience of course). So if you remember two guys that were incredibly annoying that day by singing with you at the top of their lungs, it was us!

I can honestly say that when I became a follower of Christ, the Lord used your music as one of His methods for discipling me in my faith. Thanks!

Christinewjc said...

Hi Steve,

I wasn't quite sure how to use the "create a link" option, so here is a link to a post I did at Talk Wisdom called The Truth War.

I hope you will consider reading it!

Neil said...

Good points. There is plenty to criticize about contemporary evangelicalism. The question is whether the emergents focus on the correct problems and have good solutions. As best as I can tell they don't.

The emergents tend to wallow in ignorance and seem to be proud of it. Yet scripture tells us that God wants us to know him (though we can't know everything about him). I was just noticing that theme in Colossians, as well as verse 2:18 which warns against those who delight in false humility (the emergents come to mind!).

john said...

To Timotheos point:

There was a time when most people in America were "churched" to some degree. They either went as kids or learned Christian morals and teachings through the culture - schools or TV or movies or whatever.

This is no longer the case. America is post-Christian. The vast majority of twenty-somethings and below are un-churched. They don't know our stories and are often live their whole lives without darkening the door of a church building.

This is one of the main reason I left my old paradigm and became involved in the "emerging conversation". THE OLD WAY OF DOING CHURCH DOESN'T WORK ANYMORE. By focusing on creating a Christian counter-culture, we've lost the battle for the culture at large.

So now we are missionaries in our own land. How does a missionary work? You learn the culture of those you're reaching. You meet them where they are - not just with doctrine - but with practical ways to improve life. Missionaries dig wells and plant crops at least as often as they preach sermons.

For everyone's insistence on lumping us all together, I have no direct connection to McLaren or Padgitt or anyone else - except that we all realize that the old way of doing business needs to change. You see many believers with different approaches trying to reach a lost culture - and the response of the traditional, evangelical establishment? Dig in and throw rocks at the missionaries.

Pretty sad.

Christinewjc said...

John,

I think you are missing the point. It's not about church. It's about the Savior, Jesus Christ and the genuine gospel message.

I don't care how great an emergent church may be at "bringing people in," if they fail at presenting the most important message on this earth - that being - to encourage people to come to repentance at the foot of the cross of Jesus.

In comparison, all other "efforts" on the part of any church is, as stated in Isaiah - "all of their righteousnesses are as filthy rags."

Pews of unsaved people are just as separated from God as those who have never set foot into a church.

Jesus himself told us:

Mat 16:26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

Mar 8:36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?

Luk 9:25 For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?

Grosey's Messages said...

I came across this post about the book Exiles by an ECM poster-boy. thought you might find it interesting.
http://bunswbaptistpastorsforum.blogspot.com/2008/01/exiles-holiday-read.html