Tuesday, August 02, 2005

It's the End of the (Emergent Movement) As We Know It...

...and I feeeel fineeeee.....

Seriously, the lifespan of "fads" is getting shorter by the minute. Up until two years ago, I had never heard of the "Emergent Church". Then it was all over the Web. ModernReformation just devoted a whole issue to it. But now, it seems, the party's over. One of the community bloggers at Challies.com has begun a series proclaiming the death knell of the Emergent Movement.

Actually, don't get your hopes up. It turns out that it is (at least, so far) a rehash of the same TR line of argument - an attack on the "leaders" of the Emergent "movement" for their "waffling" on the subject of Scripture and its interpretation.

I'll quote the last paragraph as a sample of where he's headed...

Crouch's assessment is almost as ludicrous: "The more I talk with the Bells, the more aware I am that they are telling me a conversion narrative-not a story of salvation in the strict sense, but of having been delivered from a small life into a big life."

Okay, this statement is disturbing. Not as sharply Christocentric or Gospelcentric as it ought to be. Point taken. But then Ron goes on to comment...

I know that's in the Bible somewhere, but it's probably my problem that I can't find it because I'm reading the authoritative black and white version.

Which version is that? And whose interpretation? Yes, the Bible is "black and white" on many things. But when people go around using language like this, it starts to raise red flags in my mind. Especially in light of a prior paragraph...

Whatever happened, the Bells did the unthinkable: They "started questioning their assumptions about the Bible itself." Uh-oh. This is like playing the Sesame Street game of "What Happens Next?" The Bells began looking at "the Bible as a human product…rather than the product of divine fiat." Surprise! Surprise! Rob explains, "The Bible is still the center for us, but it's a different kind of center." No further explanation? That's it? A different kind of center is like a square circle. It's in the center, but it isn't. Cute. Cutting edge. It's the sound of one hand clapping-in the center that's the center except it isn't the center. Got it? Continuing Rob says, "We want to embrace mystery, rather than conquer it." I'm guessing that he means the mystery of the Trinity or predestination. Yeah, right.

I can just sense the empathy and charity oozing from his commentary, can't you? Classic ad hominem attack style. But is he listening to what she's saying?

And of course, who's to blame for this disaster? Karl Barth, by way of Brian McLaren. Ron promises to give a review of McLaren's A New Kind of Christian in his next post. I've read it myself, and am interested to see what he does with it. Nothing good, I expect. Now, I'm not in 100% agreement with everything McLaren says in the book, but he raises some very salient issues in it, and the critics too often focus on what he gets wrong as an excuse to ignore what he gets right. But, we shall see...

Meanwhile, for a more reasoned discussion of the question of inerrancy and narrative-vs-propositional hermeneutics, check out the IMonk articles below.

A simple statement about the purpose and inspiration of the Bible
We thought he was such a nice boy...and then we found out he didn't believe in....Inerrancy!!
Magic Books, Grocery Lists and Silent Messiahs: How rightly approaching the Bible shapes the entire Christian Life
A Conversation in God's Kitchen


Blogger The Christian Library said...

I have a message for you from the devil: "You're discernment is complete. When we defeat God you will have a high place in my triumphant Kingdom. Continue on, noble rebel, and we shall speak further after Jesus has been destroyed and I sit on the throne of the universe."

4:44 PM  
Blogger burttd said...

When you see Old Scratch, give him my coldest regards. :-P

7:35 AM  

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