The Emergent Church

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The Emergent Church

Postby RevSears on Sat Jun 12, 2010 6:34 am

I'll admit i feel a little in the dark about this popular topic. Are these guys just very liberal Christians? or outright heretics? I was doing a little reading here at work and thought i would pop in and ask you guys if any of you had a good book to recommend on the topic, or had your own opinion on the matter.

They seem dangerously liberal to me and certainly not my cup of tea. But I don't feel i know enough about them, and I've heard attacks against them that seem far to mean spirited to lob at well, anyone.
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Re: The Emergent Church

Postby Matthew on Mon Jun 14, 2010 7:55 am

I'm in the dark too, I've never heard of them :D.
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Re: The Emergent Church

Postby RevSears on Thu Mar 28, 2013 9:52 am

wait how did this get moved to the Joe forum? or did I post this here originally on mistake? could we move it to the GD?
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Re: The Emergent Church

Postby Matthew on Tue Apr 02, 2013 10:01 am

Not sure. Just moved it.
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Re: The Emergent Church

Postby Wowboy on Wed Apr 03, 2013 10:56 pm

So what are your thoughts, Rev?
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Re: The Emergent Church

Postby chad_ghost on Mon Apr 15, 2013 9:45 am

Any information you could link us to?
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Re: The Emergent Church

Postby Wowboy on Mon Apr 15, 2013 12:59 pm

I just read a few articles that a search engine pointed me at. I must confess that I was ignorant of this term, but after reading a bit about it, I know what they are referring to as I see this sort of thing popping up all over.

From what I understand, the emergent church refers to a group of people who call themselves Christian but reject organized religion. They often meet up together in homes or coffee shops and discuss their views.

"Deconstructionist" is the key word to describe them. I've written about general deconstructionism in some of my other posts. In this case, the emergent church is deconstructing religion.

This is something that has happened before. In the first and second centuries, there were many strains of Christianity, with pretty much constant debate over whose truth was "true." In the end, sects like the Gnostics and Arians were shown to be heretical. Of course later the Eastern church split, then years later we have the Protestant reformation. There have been, of course, smaller debates among splinter sects along the way.

I think that's what this... the emergent church only exists as a critique of the organized church and will question and examine church doctrine. There are a great many false doctrines that have crept into mainstream churches over the past two centuries, with the only criticism being from an atheistic perspective (which Christians are mostly deaf to... and rightly so as they are more destructive than deconstructive) and not so much from a Christian perspective.

One famous example... throughout history Christians have embraced alcohol consumption while condemning drunkedness. However, the temperance movement of the late 19th century (itself a condemnation of the saloon culture and it's negative impact on the family) and church leaders were pressured to alter doctrine, claiming that the wine consumed by Jesus was unfermented. Many protestant and evangelical churches did so, and you can even hear this doctrine seeping out in some of the more fiercely conservative churches today.

Anyways, I'm sure there are many more examples of things that need to be more heavily scrutinized. Some will pass the test and remain, and others should fall by the wayside.
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Re: The Emergent Church

Postby chad_ghost on Thu Apr 18, 2013 9:21 am

I think, based on your description, that this can be a good thing. If churches are not doctrinally sound, then there should be concern.

Unfortunately, without proper guidance, these smaller groups could fall into the same types of traps that larger congregations do.
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Re: The Emergent Church

Postby RevSears on Sat Apr 20, 2013 1:08 pm

from what i've read it goes beyond what Wowboy is stating and flirts with works based, or any way to God is good, and sees the primary focus of evangelism as good works, not spreading the gospel by word. It is said here is a huge embracing of secular culture within the emergent church beyond just questioning doctrines on alcohol, but use of profanity, secular music, books movies etc and not in a small way, but in a major way. I have a couple of books on the emergent church in my amazon wish list, but i stay so backed with my reading list, it will likely be awhile before i got the. I'm betting Wowboy that you read info from the emergents themselves, it's important to get all sides and I still feel i need more info .
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Re: The Emergent Church

Postby Wowboy on Wed Apr 24, 2013 12:02 pm

RevSears wrote:from what i've read it goes beyond what Wowboy is stating and flirts with works based, or any way to God is good, and sees the primary focus of evangelism as good works, not spreading the gospel by word. It is said here is a huge embracing of secular culture within the emergent church beyond just questioning doctrines on alcohol, but use of profanity, secular music, books movies etc and not in a small way, but in a major way. I have a couple of books on the emergent church in my amazon wish list, but i stay so backed with my reading list, it will likely be awhile before i got the. I'm betting Wowboy that you read info from the emergents themselves, it's important to get all sides and I still feel i need more info .


I must confess that I haven't read anything in depth from anyone identifying themself as an "emergent." However, the simple fact that the primary reason that they exist is as an alternative to organized religion would seem to point to there being no statement of doctrine. The only thing that ties them all together is that they exist to completely and totally deconstruct the church. This very concept is heretical, and it is not surprising at all that they gravitate towards the very worldly concepts that you have described.

I did actually know a guy YEARS ago who spoke of this phenomenon often. He was one of those types who only wore shoes when he had to, and even then only wore sandals. He only bought clothes at secondhand stores and wore them until they wouldn't stay in one piece any longer. He never shaved. He considered himself a prophet and led small groups in bible studies 2-3 times per week.

He taught on the same topics you mentioned above (and many more.) My absolute favorite discussion was the one on the idea that "Jesus should be spread by action, not by word."

This very sentence contradicts itself and makes no sense.

Here's a great example - I think we can all agree that one thing the church is called to do is to try and provide for those who can't provide for themselves (I believe scripture even specifies that we care for widows) within the community. I am a member of First Baptist Church in Moore, OK. While we have a lot of different programs to assist those in need in the community, there is one example that stands head and shoulders above the rest...

I don't know if everyone remembers about 12-13 years ago, a category 5 tornado swept through the Southern OKC area. A category 5 tornado has winds that can exceed 200 mph and is several miles in width. This tornado pretty much wiped out every structure along I-35 and I-40 from Moore to Tinker AFB (look at a map to see just how large of an area that is.) The church building, a massive structure just off the highway in Moore, was built to withstand a storm like this, and the city had asked if it could be an official storm shelter. When this particular storm came, there was enough of a warning for people to evacuate to the church and wait for the tornado to pass. Damage to church was negligible, and no one who made it there was hurt at all. Upon returning home, people found their homes had been completely flattened. Had people simply stayed at home and waited it out in the tub or bathroom (as is the standard) a lot of people would have died. Additionally, many of those people who lost their homes were invited to stay at the church until they could get back on their feet. Beds and food were provided free of charge for several weeks, and several people began attending services and met the Lord.

Think about this scenario... what would have happened had emergents like my old acquaintance had their way and kept the church unorganized and decentralized in Moore, OK? A lot of people would be dead and would not have come to Christ. This is why they are fundamentally wrong. For all the talk about "Doing good works" rather than actively spreading the gospel, their very lack of true fellowship within the context of a traditional church negates their very ability to do any of those good works! Humans figured this out millenia ago when stone age tribesmen realized they could get more meat if they worked together.
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Re: The Emergent Church

Postby chad_ghost on Sun Apr 28, 2013 4:44 pm

I thought of a quote, which I found was misquoted:
http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2012/07/11/factchecker-misquoting-francis-of-assisi/ wrote:Christians use lots of quotes. Pastors use them in their sermons constantly. Writers illustrate their points with them. Nothing wrong with that. They are quite helpful and encouraging in making a point.

Save when the quote has no basis in fact.

We as evangelicals who claim we are committed to truth are certainly good at spreading falsehood, even if unintentionally. We can do better.

One very clever and popular quote we often knock around among ourselves is . . .

Preach the Gospel at all times. Use words if necessary.

It is always attributed to St. Francis of Assisi---founder of the Franciscan Order---and is intended to say that proclaiming the Gospel by example is more virtuous than actually proclaiming with voice. It is a quote that has often rankled me because it seems to create a useless dichotomy between speech and action. Besides, the spirit behind it can be a little arrogant, intimating that those who "practice the Gospel" are more faithful to the faith than those who preach it.

But here's the fact: Our good Francis never said such a thing.

None of his disciples, early or later biographers have these words coming from his mouth. It doesn't show up in any of his writings. Not even close really. The closest comes from his Rule of 1221, Chapter XII on how the Franciscans should practice their preaching:

No brother should preach contrary to the form and regulations of the holy Church nor unless he has been permitted by his minister . . . All the Friars . . . should preach by their deeds.

Essentially, make sure your deeds match your words. While there's a nice and good sentiment in the statement---be sure you live out the grace and truth of the Gospel---the notion as it is typically presented is neither practical, nor faithful to the Gospel of Christ. It does not align with St. Francis' own practice.

Interesting. I can easily see how this misquote, as I have used it before, could lead an emergent to that belief.
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Re: The Emergent Church

Postby Wowboy on Tue Apr 30, 2013 5:12 pm

A very interesting quote... I especially like the summary of "Make your deeds match your words" which is what we really need to key on.

Like I said earlier, the emergents are deconstructing traditional religion. One of the biggest critiques of traditional religions, especially those of the evangelical sect, is that time and again we see people shouting up and down about Jesus saving them and the spirit has changed them... and then they don't change. We've all known people like this, and those of us inside the church understand what is happening. However, people on the outside do not. To them it is proof that people who claim salvation are deluded.

So, enter the emergents. They shun evangelism and claim to live "right." "Right" of course being subject to their own interpretation of what is and isn't Godly... and rarely lines up with the Bible's definition of it. I'm sorry, but this isn't winning anyone to the Lord. If their movement is growing, it is only because they are attracting Christians who use hypocrisy as an excuse to shun evangelism and live more worldly.

IMO, the answer is of course to have our deeds match our actions. If we get this right, I fully believe that a difference could truly be made.
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Re: The Emergent Church

Postby chad_ghost on Thu May 09, 2013 10:20 pm

Wowboy wrote:A very interesting quote... I especially like the summary of "Make your deeds match your words" which is what we really need to key on.

Like I said earlier, the emergents are deconstructing traditional religion. One of the biggest critiques of traditional religions, especially those of the evangelical sect, is that time and again we see people shouting up and down about Jesus saving them and the spirit has changed them... and then they don't change. We've all known people like this, and those of us inside the church understand what is happening. However, people on the outside do not. To them it is proof that people who claim salvation are deluded.

So, enter the emergents. They shun evangelism and claim to live "right." "Right" of course being subject to their own interpretation of what is and isn't Godly... and rarely lines up with the Bible's definition of it. I'm sorry, but this isn't winning anyone to the Lord. If their movement is growing, it is only because they are attracting Christians who use hypocrisy as an excuse to shun evangelism and live more worldly.

IMO, the answer is of course to have our deeds match our actions. If we get this right, I fully believe that a difference could truly be made.

But don't we know that NONE of us will ever live right :)

Reminds me, at least what you said here, of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
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Re: The Emergent Church

Postby Wowboy on Wed May 22, 2013 11:19 am

Wowboy wrote:I don't know if everyone remembers about 12-13 years ago, a category 5 tornado swept through the Southern OKC area. A category 5 tornado has winds that can exceed 200 mph and is several miles in width. This tornado pretty much wiped out every structure along I-35 and I-40 from Moore to Tinker AFB (look at a map to see just how large of an area that is.)


Is this a knock on wood situation?
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Re: The Emergent Church

Postby Matthew on Tue May 28, 2013 8:54 am

Seems like it 8O
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