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Cow Poke
02-16-2014, 04:10 PM
I heard this term a whole lot over the past 10-15 years, but not so much lately. Was this a fad? Anybody here been a part of the "Emergent Church"?

What exactly is it, and does it mean anything to Christianity?

Thoughtful Monk
02-16-2014, 05:48 PM
I heard this term a whole lot over the past 10-15 years, but not so much lately. Was this a fad? Anybody here been a part of the "Emergent Church"?

What exactly is it, and does it mean anything to Christianity?

I've not been a part of one of them. From what I've read, it seems to be an effort to make Christianity relevent to society. Given the scope and number of churches and leaders, I'm not sure how well it could be summarized. One of the few common points that seem to be there is a deemphasis on doctrine.

My personal vote: I'll go with a fad.

siam
02-16-2014, 08:12 PM
I've not been a part of one of them. From what I've read, it seems to be an effort to make Christianity relevent to society. Given the scope and number of churches and leaders, I'm not sure how well it could be summarized. One of the few common points that seem to be there is a deemphasis on doctrine.

My personal vote: I'll go with a fad.


Perhaps one could also say a balancing of doctrine with "right living"?
(right living. = how a person lives is more important than what he or she believes. orthopraxy that flows from orthodoxy)

fad or not, it would be great if more people paid attention to creating a better world.......

Thoughtful Monk
02-17-2014, 09:01 AM
Perhaps one could also say a balancing of doctrine with "right living"?
(right living. = how a person lives is more important than what he or she believes. orthopraxy that flows from orthodoxy)

fad or not, it would be great if more people paid attention to creating a better world.......

I was trying to avoid this but deemphasizing doctrine can mean changing it. Rob Bell is I belive considered one of the "founders" of the Emergent church group.

By fad, I think I mean the Emergent group will make the same discovery that Willow Creek did a few years ago. They'll find they have a great way to get people in the door and are lousy at building mature Christians.

I agree it would be great if people would work to make a better world. I'm not holding my breath that its going to be happening.

RBerman
02-17-2014, 09:56 AM
I heard this term a whole lot over the past 10-15 years, but not so much lately. Was this a fad? Anybody here been a part of the "Emergent Church"? What exactly is it, and does it mean anything to Christianity?

It's a new, postmodern generation of liberals, carving a distinct identity out of the evangelical church which they are in the process of rejecting. If you're looking for some reading material, start here:

http://www.amazon.com/Becoming-Conversant-Emerging-Church-Understanding/dp/0310259479

Cow Poke
02-17-2014, 10:03 AM
Thanks, RB

Pentecost
02-17-2014, 10:32 AM
A small note to the mods, siam is Muslim.

Siam, the guideline for this section indicates this is for Christians only to post in.

RBerman
02-17-2014, 11:30 AM
A small note to the mods, siam is Muslim.

Siam, the guideline for this section indicates this is for Christians only to post in.

Good point. It's going to be a lot harder to police that issue with the new forum format.

mossrose
02-17-2014, 12:16 PM
We are working at getting faith designations back in place.

This involves nagging Chrs.

Irate Canadian
02-17-2014, 02:56 PM
We are working at getting faith designations back in place.

This involves nagging Chrs.
We have them. Chrs just needs to work on getting them display on the profiles.

Zymologist
02-17-2014, 03:56 PM
I heard this term a whole lot over the past 10-15 years, but not so much lately. Was this a fad? Anybody here been a part of the "Emergent Church"?

What exactly is it, and does it mean anything to Christianity?

My experience with it is limited, so take what I'm about to say with a grain of salt.

AFAICT, it's a fad. An emergent Christian is one who asks difficult questions (sometimes very good questions), ignores the answers given by more mainstream brethren, and then abandons the orthodox doctrine wholesale purely in light of the question, which they never found an answer to anyway. (A good example of this would be the doctrine of hell (or annihilationism, since that seems within the realm of orthodoxy): they ask, "but how could a loving God send people to hell?" and then dismiss the doctrine completely, ignoring the fact that mainstream Christianity has, in fact, answered this question already.) They seem to largely eschew doctrinal statements, and it's consequently somewhat difficult to find out what they actually believe on any given point of doctrine.

That was a little bit hyperbolic, but there's my opinion. I agree with Thoughtful Monk and RBerman. I haven't been impressed with what I've seen.

mossrose
02-17-2014, 04:16 PM
We have them. Chrs just needs to work on getting them display on the profiles.

:stunned:

Thanks, IC!

KingsGambit
02-17-2014, 06:16 PM
This may or may not be a fair observation, but I've seemed to notice an environment among people with an "emergent" bent where asking questions is encouraged (which is all well and good), but where firm answers are discouraged.

I think the term "progressive Christianity" is being used more nowadays to mean about the same thing. I do think there are some good ideas that come from this movement. The push to apply OT principles on treatment of immigrants to modern day America's situation is one. As a whole, though, it's not a movement I would want to identify with.

Pinoy
02-17-2014, 06:41 PM
I believe "emergent Church" main concern is societal change rather than salvation.

KingsGambit
02-17-2014, 06:55 PM
I believe "emergent Church" main concern is societal change rather than salvation.

This came from a legitimate observation that the church at large, at least in the US, often doesn't take it seriously enough (it would be difficult to argue Jesus did not call for some level of societal change from his disciples) but the pendulum seems to swing way back too far the other way in de-emphasizing salvation/the gospel.

Thoughtful Monk
02-23-2014, 01:58 PM
This came from a legitimate observation that the church at large, at least in the US, often doesn't take it seriously enough (it would be difficult to argue Jesus did not call for some level of societal change from his disciples) but the pendulum seems to swing way back too far the other way in de-emphasizing salvation/the gospel.

I agree. I seem to recall in my reading on the emergent church that I could agree with the issues they raised. I just couldn't agree with the solutions they proposed.

Cow Poke
02-23-2014, 02:01 PM
Thanks everybody, so far! :thumb:

OingoBoingo
02-23-2014, 10:02 PM
This came from a legitimate observation that the church at large, at least in the US, often doesn't take it seriously enough (it would be difficult to argue Jesus did not call for some level of societal change from his disciples) but the pendulum seems to swing way back too far the other way in de-emphasizing salvation/the gospel.

I think there are a couple of Christian movements that do deal with societal concerns while holding to traditional theology.

One that caught my eye is called Open Evangelicalism (not to be confused with Open Theism) which is mostly a UK/Anglican thing I guess. The theologian, NT Wright is an advocate of it, and Wikipedia offers this description: Open evangelicals describe their position as combining a traditional evangelical emphasis on the nature of scriptural authority, the teaching of the ecumenical creeds and other traditional doctrinal teachings, with an approach towards culture and other theological points of view which tends to be more inclusive than that taken by other evangelicals. Some open evangelicals aim to take a middle position between conservative and charismatic evangelicals, while others would combine conservative theological emphases with more liberal social positions.

Here's a link to a blog that goes into that movement a bit more. http://bishopofwillesden.blogspot.com/2011/11/open-evangelicalism.html

The other is called Postconservative Evangelicalism. Reformed and Always Reforming by Roger Olson is a significant work on the subject. I have it, but haven't read it yet, so I don't really know what this movement fully entails. Here's a blog post that talks about it: http://michaeldefazio.wordpress.com/2011/04/04/1007/ I'm not really sure about this one. Some people have lumped it together with the Emergent Church movement, but I don't know if it really goes that far. Maybe someone with more knowledge on both can come along and talk more about them.

hedrick
02-28-2014, 05:39 PM
My concern with the responses so far is that they are all mostly unsympathetic presentations. The one book reference was to a critique. That is not the best way to get to know someone. If you want to understand what is really going on, you're probably best to read (or watch videos by) Phyllis Tickle.

I'm by no means an expert. I've follow McLaren and to a certain extent Bell. My impression is that they are basically recreating mainline Christianity from within the evangelical movement. At the beginning McLaren didn't even seem to realize that his theology was basically the same as the mainline. By now he does.

Although it didn't start this way, I would say that at this point it is basically an attempt to build Christianity from the life and teaching of Jesus as we see him in modern historical Jesus scholarship, and not so much in Catholic or Protestant tradition. Those who are committed to Tradition of either flavor won't find it of much interest. I don't think it's an attempt to be popular, but is an expression of a group of people who find that kind of Jesus-centered church more convincing than theological tradition. It's not quite like the older Restoration movement, because it attempts to use as much liturgy, prayer discipline, etc, as possible from both Catholic and Protestant tradition, but supported by a somewhat different theology.

Of course the historical Jesus movement is itself fairly wide. McLaren seems moderately close to N T Wright, who he often uses. Bell seems a bit further out to me, and not as good a theologian.

RBerman
02-28-2014, 07:03 PM
I've followed McLaren and to a certain extent Bell. My impression is that they are basically recreating mainline Christianity from within the evangelical movement. At the beginning McLaren didn't even seem to realize that his theology was basically the same as the mainline. By now he does.

This is exactly right, except that I think McLaren always knew what his theology was, but for whatever reasons chose not to say so.

hedrick
03-01-2014, 02:04 PM
The other is called Postconservative Evangelicalism. Reformed and Always Reforming by Roger Olson is a significant work on the subject. I have it, but haven't read it yet, so I don't really know what this movement fully entails. Here's a blog post that talks about it: http://michaeldefazio.wordpress.com/2011/04/04/1007/ I'm not really sure about this one. Some people have lumped it together with the Emergent Church movement, but I don't know if it really goes that far. Maybe someone with more knowledge on both can come along and talk more about them.

In my opinion Olson's book is a reasonable description of what he calls post-conservative evangelicalism, something that seems pretty close to emergent Christianity. He sees McLaren as a key figure, which links the two.

However I see some oddities with the book It is primarily about methodology. The only area in which he looks at actual doctrine is the doctrine of God. He is sympathetic with open theism, or with ideas approaching it. He doesn't look at similar reworks of Christology or the atonement. I suspect this is partly because he says he is committed to conservative accounts of those areas, which seems a bit odd in the context of the book. McLaren wouldn't share that commitment.

However his writing has the same issue I see with McLaren. It writes off "liberal" theology, and ignores mainline Christianity. I think there is a widespread ignorance of the history of liberal Christianity. Part of this is due to Barth. In reaction to events in Germany, he dismisses all of liberal Christianity. Many have followed him. But his dismissal also includes a mischaracterization, that liberal theology was a capitulation to culture. In fact what I would call liberal theology has at least three major streams. I view the early roots in the 19th Cent as a reaction against scholarship influenced by Enlightenment critical thought, though I think we need to be careful in understanding just how Christianity responded to the Enlightenment. Most Christian thinkers, even liberal ones, did not embrace all aspects of the Enlighenment.

At the risk over oversimplifying, in the 19th Cent I think you can find two reactions to the Enlightenment. Schliermacher, it seems to me, felt that critical scholarship had sufficiently undermined Scriptural authority that one could not build theology on it in detail. While his theology was certainly inspired by Jesus as we meet him in Scripture, it tended to use very general principles such as love and piety. However there was another strand of liberal thought, which I would trace loosely to Ritschl, and in the US to Walter Rauschenbusch (a wonderful writer, whose work is not sufficiently appreciated today, partly because of misunderstanding of what the Social Gospel actually meant). It attempted to build Christianity on Scripture, as understood with the aid of critical scholarship. You can see both approaches in the liberal churches in the US, continuing through to today. However things have changed since Schliermacher's time. While the quest of the historical Jesus has hardly produced perfect results, it also has not produced quite the failure that I think Schliermacher saw. Even those on the left of today's liberal theology, such as Borg, have more detailed dependence upon the Scriptural picture of Jesus than Schliermacher did. And typical liberal churches today are, I think, closer to the Ritschl strand of liberalism, represented today perhaps by N T Wright and others doing detailed NT scholarship.

The third major strand of liberal theology is, of course, Barth himself.

In my view, Olson's post conservative evangelicalism / emergent theology, is basically part of the Ritschlian side of liberal theology. While the whole range of liberal theology is present in today's mainline, I think the majority view is similar.

phat8594
03-07-2014, 09:08 AM
I've not been a part of one of them. From what I've read, it seems to be an effort to make Christianity relevent to society. Given the scope and number of churches and leaders, I'm not sure how well it could be summarized. One of the few common points that seem to be there is a deemphasis on doctrine.

My personal vote: I'll go with a fad.

I think you are mixing up the 'emerging church' with the 'emergent church'.

RB had a good description of what the 'emergent church' is. A church can be 'emerging' (trying to be relevant within society) without being 'emergent' (holding to postmodern, unorthodox views of Christianity).


Basically 'emerging' has to do with engaging a culture with Christ, while 'emergent' has to do with doctrinal viewpoints of the church.

The terms are confusing, I know... :teeth: ...many people confuse the two, or conflate the terms.

OingoBoingo
03-07-2014, 09:28 AM
In my opinion Olson's book is a reasonable description of what he calls post-conservative evangelicalism, something that seems pretty close to emergent Christianity. He sees McLaren as a key figure, which links the two.

However I see some oddities with the book It is primarily about methodology. The only area in which he looks at actual doctrine is the doctrine of God. He is sympathetic with open theism, or with ideas approaching it. He doesn't look at similar reworks of Christology or the atonement. I suspect this is partly because he says he is committed to conservative accounts of those areas, which seems a bit odd in the context of the book. McLaren wouldn't share that commitment.

However his writing has the same issue I see with McLaren. It writes off "liberal" theology, and ignores mainline Christianity. I think there is a widespread ignorance of the history of liberal Christianity. Part of this is due to Barth. In reaction to events in Germany, he dismisses all of liberal Christianity. Many have followed him. But his dismissal also includes a mischaracterization, that liberal theology was a capitulation to culture. In fact what I would call liberal theology has at least three major streams. I view the early roots in the 19th Cent as a reaction against scholarship influenced by Enlightenment critical thought, though I think we need to be careful in understanding just how Christianity responded to the Enlightenment. Most Christian thinkers, even liberal ones, did not embrace all aspects of the Enlighenment.

At the risk over oversimplifying, in the 19th Cent I think you can find two reactions to the Enlightenment. Schliermacher, it seems to me, felt that critical scholarship had sufficiently undermined Scriptural authority that one could not build theology on it in detail. While his theology was certainly inspired by Jesus as we meet him in Scripture, it tended to use very general principles such as love and piety. However there was another strand of liberal thought, which I would trace loosely to Ritschl, and in the US to Walter Rauschenbusch (a wonderful writer, whose work is not sufficiently appreciated today, partly because of misunderstanding of what the Social Gospel actually meant). It attempted to build Christianity on Scripture, as understood with the aid of critical scholarship. You can see both approaches in the liberal churches in the US, continuing through to today. However things have changed since Schliermacher's time. While the quest of the historical Jesus has hardly produced perfect results, it also has not produced quite the failure that I think Schliermacher saw. Even those on the left of today's liberal theology, such as Borg, have more detailed dependence upon the Scriptural picture of Jesus than Schliermacher did. And typical liberal churches today are, I think, closer to the Ritschl strand of liberalism, represented today perhaps by N T Wright and others doing detailed NT scholarship.

The third major strand of liberal theology is, of course, Barth himself.

In my view, Olson's post conservative evangelicalism / emergent theology, is basically part of the Ritschlian side of liberal theology. While the whole range of liberal theology is present in today's mainline, I think the majority view is similar.

Thank you for your reply hedrick. Very informative. Would you mind clarifying your thoughts on NT Wright? Do you consider him a liberal Christian?

hedrick
03-07-2014, 03:12 PM
Thank you for your reply hedrick. Very informative. Would you mind clarifying your thoughts on NT Wright? Do you consider him a liberal Christian?

He's difficult to tag. Outside the US he is considered conservative. He believe in a literal resurrection, the Virgin Birth, the Tirnity, etc.

However he's also a modern NT scholar, so he doesn't believe in inerrancy, and he prefers Nt ways of speaking of Jesus to Chalcedon. I'd compromise and say mainline, since liberal to me means something more to the left than he is.

Interestingly, a wide range of American Christians like him, including some moderately conservative. Still, I place him at the conservative end of the "historical Jesus" movement, with people like Borg and Crosssan being more liberal.

OingoBoingo
03-07-2014, 03:54 PM
He's difficult to tag. Outside the US he is considered conservative. He believe in a literal resurrection, the Virgin Birth, the Tirnity, etc.

However he's also a modern NT scholar, so he doesn't believe in inerrancy, and he prefers Nt ways of speaking of Jesus to Chalcedon. I'd compromise and say mainline, since liberal to me means something more to the left than he is.

Interestingly, a wide range of American Christians like him, including some moderately conservative. Still, I place him at the conservative end of the "historical Jesus" movement, with people like Borg and Crosssan being more liberal.

Ok, thanks. I don't know too much about Borg outside his affiliation with the Jesus Seminar and some of his work there. I know Crossan considers himself a Catholic, but I don't think he believes in the divinity of Christ, the virgin birth, or a literal resurrection. He believes in a metaphorical resurrection. I remember reading an interview with him where he admitted that he doesn't go to mass because he's concerned they wouldn't allow him to receive communion (I think his concern is justified).

I always considered Wright to be relatively conservative in his scholarship. I mean, he's right in the mainstream, but compared to Crossan, or even EP Sanders, he's probably more right than left. Where Wright seems liberal (compared to many American Christians) is his social and environmental concerns. But, honestly, I never dug too deep into his theological views.

When I think of liberal Christianity, I think people like Spong, Crossan, Shori, and Gene Robinson. People who advocate for homosexual unions and leadership, who have an extremely inclusive view of salvation, disbelief in hell or a belief in universalism, often a denial of the divinity of Christ, the sovereignty of God, and some who are even agnostic or atheist about belief in God. Does the emergent church tend to lean in these directions at times? McLaren and Pagitt seem to bend in this direction, others identified with the emergent church like Mark Driscoll do not. So I think that adds to the confusion about what is and isn't the emergent church. Would someone like Jay Bakker be considered a part of the emergent church?

Paprika
03-07-2014, 09:18 PM
Thank you for your reply hedrick. Very informative. Would you mind clarifying your thoughts on NT Wright? Do you consider him a liberal Christian?
Wright eschews and abhors the one-dimensional conservative-liberal spectrum, whether it be political or theological.

OingoBoingo
03-07-2014, 11:12 PM
Wright eschews and abhors the one-dimensional conservative-liberal spectrum, whether it be political or theological.

I did not know that. Would you mind expanding on this? I don't find this surprising, but it'd be nice to hear it from the horses mouth.

Paprika
03-07-2014, 11:21 PM
Here's one good source (http://biologos.org/resources/multimedia/n.t-wright-and-pete-enns-does-the-slippery-slope-always-go-left):

That is very interesting because, of course, in America, the spectrum of liberal conservative theology tends often to sit rather closely with the spectrum of left and right in politics. In England and in many other parts of the world, that simply isn't the case.
In England, you will find that people who are very conservative theologically by what we normally mean conservative in other words, believing in Jesus, believing in his death and resurrection, believing in the trinity are often the ones who are in the forefront of passionate and compassionate social concern of a sort which if were you to transport it to America would say, oh, that's a bit left wing.
I think what I want to do is to uncouple some of the connections which people have routinely made, particularly in America, and to say actually the whole idea of a spectrum, whether it's theological or political, is probably very misleading because there are all sorts of insights that we need. We need to get them from bits of the Bible we don't normally expect and perhaps from people in bits of the church we don't normally expect.
That is something that a robust faith that is firmly rooted in God, in the trinity, in Jesus, in the holy spirit ought to be able to take on board. Otherwise, what we are doing is substituting our framework and then judging people, according to where they are in our framework, rather than something which is actually the given at the heart of our faith.
I'll hunt for others.

Paprika
03-07-2014, 11:29 PM
The shallow social and political alternatives bequeathed to contemporary western society by the Enlightenment and its aftermath, in which every issue stands either to left or to the right on some hypothetical spectrum, and every political question can be answered in terms of ‘for’ or ‘against’ – this trivialized world of thought cannot cope with the complexities of real life either in the first or the twenty-first century. (PFG, 314.)


In other cases it has something to do with the fact that America is currently polarized along one particular left/right axis (please note, the rest of the world does not sign up to this particular axis and feels free to embrace some things from your left and other things from your right) and where people who for other reasons vote on the right suppose that the NP is a left-wing movement they feel obliged to reject it, which seems to me a poor substitute for “searching the Scriptures diligently to see whether those things are so.” http://criswell.files.wordpress.com/2006/03/2,2%20InterviewwithN.T.Wright(Streett).PDF


There is a striking, radical polarization between [American] Left and Right that I have to say is really disturbing because it distorts so many issues. This Left-Right polarization forces people to say: We are all on this side now! We must check off every box on this slate! We must keep in line!

http://www.readthespirit.com/explore/nt-wright-interview-why-left-right-lewis-get-it-wrong/


As I shall suggest in a minute, part of our problem is that just as the left/right politics of a former generation doesn’t fit today’s confused society, and just as the ‘let’s go and bomb them’ geopolitics doesn’t fit today’s dangerous world, so the ‘let’s get rid of God’ philosophy of Dawkins, and the much cooler suggestion of Stephen Hawking that the final ‘gap’ for God may have disappeared, simply don’t fit the question. As many people have pointed out, Stephen Hawking was still assuming an eighteenth-century god-of-the-gaps theology which no serious Christian or Jew would propose. But the public discussion of such issues shows, I think, that as a society we still lapse back to conceiving of problems in their eighteenth-century guise, whether it be left-right politics or god-of-the-gaps science-versus-religion standoff or gunship diplomacy. All the philosophy of the last two centuries and we still can’t break out of the public mindset that preceded them.
http://www.heavenlyascents.com/2010/10/28/full-text-of-n-t-wrights-recent-st-andrews-lecture/#sthash.w4ehH9DM.dpuf



Just as, in the sixteenth century, western Christians came to the text with certain questions shaped by their culture–and we can now see how much that has caused people to misread him–so now western Christians come to the New Testament with the questions of modern western democracy in our minds, and within that the questions of the “culture wars” of late 20th Century America. Was Paul a Republican or a Democrat? Was he right-wing or left-wing? One of the things we must urgently learn is that our rather shallow polarizations do not at all correspond to the ways in which ancient Jews or Greeks or Romans saw public and civic life.

We too easily grasp Paul saying “obey the government” and assume he was an unthinking right-winger in our terms. Or we latch on to the fact that he says “Jesus is Lord” and assume he will line up with every neo-Marxist movement, eager to overthrow the present authorities. This is naïve.

Paul has a great deal to say about power, government and so on–not so much about “political parties” because that’s a fairly modern idea, one particular localized way of “doing democracy”–but we only understand it all when we really dig deep into his cultural, philosophical and political roots. That’s what I’ve tried to do in this book. My hope is that the book will open people’s eyes to the powerfully subversive early Christian vision of Jesus as Lord, and to the shallow and often self-serving ways in which the western world “does politics”, whether to the right or to the left. One thing is sure: follow Paul, and any idea that “theology” or “spirituality” has nothing to do with public life will be gone for ever.

One of the peculiar things about transatlantic theological debates is that in America people who are right-wing theologically are often right-wing politically, whereas in England theological conservatives are often left-wing politically–though again the “right” and “left” mean different things at different times and places.
http://staidanskc.org/n-t-wrights-paul-and-the-faithfulness-of-god/

Wright does use "liberal" and "conservative" but contextualised to a specific society at a specific time. I get the feeling he'd rather use a better shorthand if possible but there isn't one.

OingoBoingo
03-07-2014, 11:35 PM
Here's one good source (http://biologos.org/resources/multimedia/n.t-wright-and-pete-enns-does-the-slippery-slope-always-go-left):

I'll hunt for others.

Yeah, that sort of sounds like his views in books like Surprised by Hope. I don't know if I really buy the (non)distinction between conservative and liberal that he's trying to sell. As far as I know, he believes in the virgin birth, a historical resurrection, the sovereignty of God, the sanctity of marriage, etc. His liberal views seem to be mainstream European views on things like concern for the environment, social programs for the poor, abolition of the death penalty, stuff like that. Unless I'm missing something, all in all, he appears to be a conservative Christian with views that might set him apart from the religious right in America, but that doesn't really seem like such a big deal.

Paprika
03-07-2014, 11:39 PM
Yeah, that sort of sounds like his views in books like Surprised by Hope. I don't know if I really buy the (non)distinction between conservative and liberal that he's trying to sell.
I think he makes it quite clear that there is a difference, but his point is that reality is much more complicated than a one-dimensional conservative/liberal or left/right spectrum, not least because such distinctions are always relative and dependent on time and culture.

He would argue, for example, that concern for the poor was a major concern of Christians in the first century. So does that make his position on that "conservative"?

RBerman
03-08-2014, 06:39 AM
I did not know that. Would you mind expanding on this? I don't find this surprising, but it'd be nice to hear it from the horses mouth.

The American conservative/liberal splits of the late 20th century do not apply well to other times and places. Here is a book (http://www.amazon.com/Republocrat-Confessions-Conservative-Carl-Trueman/dp/1596381833) about it by a theologically conservative British evangelical observing the American political divide.

OingoBoingo
03-08-2014, 10:41 AM
I think he makes it quite clear that there is a difference, but his point is that reality is much more complicated than a one-dimensional conservative/liberal or left/right spectrum, not least because such distinctions are always relative and dependent on time and culture.

He would argue, for example, that concern for the poor was a major concern of Christians in the first century. So does that make his position on that "conservative"?

Hmm, okay. I guess I see the point.

OingoBoingo
03-08-2014, 10:41 AM
The American conservative/liberal splits of the late 20th century do not apply well to other times and places. Here is a book (http://www.amazon.com/Republocrat-Confessions-Conservative-Carl-Trueman/dp/1596381833) about it by a theologically conservative British evangelical observing the American political divide.

Thanks for the book recommend. Checking it out now.

hedrick
03-08-2014, 02:34 PM
Ok, thanks. I don't know too much about Borg outside his affiliation with the Jesus Seminar and some of his work there. I know Crossan considers himself a Catholic, but I don't think he believes in the divinity of Christ, the virgin birth, or a literal resurrection. He believes in a metaphorical resurrection. I remember reading an interview with him where he admitted that he doesn't go to mass because he's concerned they wouldn't allow him to receive communion (I think his concern is justified).

I always considered Wright to be relatively conservative in his scholarship. I mean, he's right in the mainstream, but compared to Crossan, or even EP Sanders, he's probably more right than left. Where Wright seems liberal (compared to many American Christians) is his social and environmental concerns. But, honestly, I never dug too deep into his theological views.

I agree. Wright believes in a literal resurrection and virgin birth. Borg, Crossan, etc., do not. That’s why people think of Wright as conservative. However in an American context, conservatives believe in inerrancy, and typically support the Nicene Creed and Chalcedon. Wright does not believe in inerrancy. He doesn’t talk much about the classical creeds. He normally uses NT concepts. But he recognize that these are different, and has at least said that Chalcedon isn’t a very accurate reflection of the NT view of Jesus. He does believe in the Trinity and the Incarnation. However he speaks of it in 1st Cent Jewish terms rather than 4th Cent Greek terms. Many conservatives don’t seem to mind that, even though similar ideas from others are often characterized as Nestorian, etc.



When I think of liberal Christianity, I think people like Spong, Crossan, Shori, and Gene Robinson. People who advocate for homosexual unions and leadership, who have an extremely inclusive view of salvation, disbelief in hell or a belief in universalism, often a denial of the divinity of Christ, the sovereignty of God, and some who are even agnostic or atheist about belief in God. Does the emergent church tend to lean in these directions at times? McLaren and Pagitt seem to bend in this direction, others identified with the emergent church like Mark Driscoll do not. So I think that adds to the confusion about what is and isn't the emergent church. Would someone like Jay Bakker be considered a part of the emergent church?

Yes, but in the US, “liberal” tends to be used (at least by conservative), for anyone who rejects inerrancy. That includes everything from Wright to Crossan. And remember that a majority of younger Christians (including Catholics and evangelicals) accept homosexuality, so that really can’t be used as a criterion for extreme liberalism. That doesn’t mean that the people you mention are mainstream, but I wouldn’t judge them on that basis alone.

McLaren quotes Wright a lot. I think just about everything he says can be justified by the scholarship of Wright or someone similar. He is an inclusivist, but that’s common outside the most conservative Protestantism (and even within it if you talk to people). His book on judgement seems to be similar to Wright’s view that the real purpose of judgement is putting things right, but that it’s possible that some people might reject that and end up, not so much being tortured as becoming a former human.I doubt that he differs from Wright on the divinity of Christ.

Wright tends to focus on the NT. He has plenty to say about the consequences, but in some sense he leaves the impression of being more conservative than he actually is. McLaren is playing out the implications of Wright’s scholarship in ways that look more liberal, but I think in the end they agree.

McLaren tries to present a balanced version of Christianity. Some emergents seem to me to push God’s acceptance to the point where everything else disappears. We started using some of Rob Bell’s videos with our teens, but I ultimately concluded that they left something out. I don’t get the same impression from McLaren.

Paprika
03-08-2014, 09:33 PM
Wright's next book (http://www.harpercollins.ca/books/Surprised-Scripture-N-T-Wright/?isbn=9780062230539?AA=books_SearchBooks_10969) is likely to challenge the 'conservative' conception of him :wink:


Wright provide a series of case studies which explore how the Bible can be applied to some of the most pressing contemporary issues facing us, including:

Why it is possible to love the Bible and affirm evolution
Why women should be allowed to be ordained
Where Christians today have lost focus, and why it is important for them to engage in politics—and why that involvement benefits everyone
Why the Christian belief in heaven means we should be at the forefront of the environmental movement
And much more

OingoBoingo
03-09-2014, 08:28 AM
Wright's next book (http://www.harpercollins.ca/books/Surprised-Scripture-N-T-Wright/?isbn=9780062230539?AA=books_SearchBooks_10969) is likely to challenge the 'conservative' conception of him :wink:

None of these sound particularly non-conservative to me. Maybe the evolution one, but plenty of conservative pastors and teachers believe in forms of theistic evolution. Plenty of conservatives are okay with women in leadership roles (especially post-Joyce Meyer), and what do environmental concerns really have to do with conservatism? I don't know, maybe I have a different idea about what's conservative and what's not. I think my conception of Wright would change if he came out and said that he didn't believe in a literal resurrection, or the sovereignty of God, and came out for gay church leadership.

hedrick
03-09-2014, 08:42 AM
None of these sound particularly non-conservative to me. Maybe the evolution one, but plenty of conservative pastors and teachers believe in forms of theistic evolution. Plenty of conservatives are okay with women in leadership roles (especially post-Joyce Meyer), and what do environmental concerns really have to do with conservatism? I don't know, maybe I have a different idea about what's conservative and what's not. I think my conception of Wright would change if he came out and said that he didn't believe in a literal resurrection, or the sovereignty of God, and came out for gay church leadership.

Right. The positions listed are all things he is already known to favor, or we could reasonably guess that he would favor. He's made the case for women leaders in a number of places. Only people who believe in inerrancy oppose evolution, and he doesn't. He's known the be liberal politically.

Paprika
03-09-2014, 08:50 AM
None of these sound particularly non-conservative to me.
Fair enough. In the culture I'm in, these would be pretty upsetting.

Christian3
09-28-2017, 05:34 AM
My church is studying one of Brian McLaren's books: "The Great Spiritual Migration."

Both Pastors and all the facilitators of the Bible Study programs loved the book. They loved it so much that more Bible Study sessions were opened, some on Saturday for people who could not attend during the week.

In Chapter 1, McLaren uses Jesus' cleansing of the Temple to say that Jesus did not believe in animal sacrifices.

McLaren said: “It turns out that Jesus wasn’t the first to dare to question the architecture of appeasement.” McLaren mentions Hosea 6:6 and Isaiah 1 and 2 and Psalm 51, verse 17 as proof.

I would appreciate any comments.

Thanks.

One Bad Pig
09-28-2017, 06:58 AM
My church is studying one of Brian McLaren's books: "The Great Spiritual Migration."

Both Pastors and all the facilitators of the Bible Study programs loved the book. They loved it so much that more Bible Study sessions were opened, some on Saturday for people who could not attend during the week.

In Chapter 1, McLaren uses Jesus' cleansing of the Temple to say that Jesus did not believe in animal sacrifices.

McLaren said: “It turns out that Jesus wasn’t the first to dare to question the architecture of appeasement.” McLaren mentions Hosea 6:6 and Isaiah 1 and 2 and Psalm 51, verse 17 as proof.

I would appreciate any comments.

Thanks.
Looks like a textbook case of eisegesis.

Christian3
09-28-2017, 07:59 AM
Looks like a textbook case of eisegesis.

Yes, it does, but Brian McLaren is a Pastor or former Pastor. Surely he would know how what the cited Scriptures meant?

“The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD, but the prayer of the upright is acceptable to him.” Proverbs 15:8

“The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination; how much more when he brings it with evil intent.” Proverbs 21:27

Leaving verse 19 out of Psalm 51 did it for me.

I can't for the life of me understand why so many people in my church liked this book.

It appears McLaren does not believe in blood atonement. I wonder what he thinks the Gospel is?

One Bad Pig
09-28-2017, 08:09 AM
Yes, it does, but Brian McLaren is a Pastor or former Pastor. Surely he would know how what the cited Scriptures meant?

“The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD, but the prayer of the upright is acceptable to him.” Proverbs 15:8

“The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination; how much more when he brings it with evil intent.” Proverbs 21:27

Leaving verse 19 out of Psalm 51 did it for me.

I can't for the life of me understand why so many people in my church liked this book.

It appears McLaren does not believe in blood atonement. I wonder what he thinks the Gospel is?
Pastors are, unfortunately, hardly immune to reading into Scripture what they want it to say. It could be that many people like the book because they like what it has to say.

Christian3
09-28-2017, 09:32 AM
Pastors are, unfortunately, hardly immune to reading into Scripture what they want it to say. It could be that many people like the book because they like what it has to say.

What do you think Jesus meant when He said:

Matthew 9: 13 Go and learn what this means: I desire mercy and not sacrifice.

Thanks.

One Bad Pig
09-28-2017, 10:35 AM
What do you think Jesus meant when He said:

Matthew 9: 13 Go and learn what this means: I desire mercy and not sacrifice.

Thanks.
Here, I think Jesus is referring to the Pharisaic and lawyerly penchant for making "hedge laws" and punishing infraction of those as if one were breaking a Mosaic law (which would require sacrifice for atonement). Instead of legally requiring atonement for every possible infraction, God looks at intent. If the intent was not to break the law, then we should apply mercy instead of requiring sacrifice.

Christian3
09-28-2017, 02:55 PM
Here, I think Jesus is referring to the Pharisaic and lawyerly penchant for making "hedge laws" and punishing infraction of those as if one were breaking a Mosaic law (which would require sacrifice for atonement). Instead of legally requiring atonement for every possible infraction, God looks at intent. If the intent was not to break the law, then we should apply mercy instead of requiring sacrifice.

Excellent.

And Jesus tied Matthew 9:13 with Hosea 6:6.

hedrick
09-28-2017, 03:13 PM
McLaren said: “It turns out that Jesus wasn’t the first to dare to question the architecture of appeasement.” McLaren mentions Hosea 6:6 and Isaiah 1 and 2 and Psalm 51, verse 17 as proof.

I would appreciate any comments.

Thanks.
Yup. People have accused him of eisegesis, but I'm not sure on what basis. The passages do say what he says.

I think the reason people hesitate to read them in the obvious way is that the OT in other places sets up the sacrifices that the prophets says aren't necessary. So if God didn't require sacrifice, why did Lev describe all of those sacrifices? My suggestion is that sacrifice wasn't needed for forgiveness, but was rather a kind of sacrament: it made visible and reinforced the person's commitment to repentance.

The underlying issue is the atonement. If you don't think sacrifice is necessary for forgiveness, you'll tend to prefer older models of the atonement. The big argument for penal substitution is that sacrifice is needed for forgiveness. If that isn't true, some of the alternative understandings of the atonement may be better.

Thoughtful Monk
09-28-2017, 04:58 PM
My church is studying one of Brian McLaren's books: "The Great Spiritual Migration."

Both Pastors and all the facilitators of the Bible Study programs loved the book. They loved it so much that more Bible Study sessions were opened, some on Saturday for people who could not attend during the week.

In Chapter 1, McLaren uses Jesus' cleansing of the Temple to say that Jesus did not believe in animal sacrifices.

McLaren said: “It turns out that Jesus wasn’t the first to dare to question the architecture of appeasement.” McLaren mentions Hosea 6:6 and Isaiah 1 and 2 and Psalm 51, verse 17 as proof.

I would appreciate any comments.

Thanks.

That's a new interpretation on me. I guess given that He overturned the tables of those selling the animals, you could make a weak argument for it. However, since He said, "My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers" as a commentary on His actions, I'll stick with the more traditional interpretation of He was attacking "spiritual" leaders that exploited people.

A substitutionary atonist would argue that since Jesus was the sacrifice for our sins, how could he not approve of the system that prefigured His sacrifice?

With such a poor start, I'm now suspicious of the whole. Given the popularity of the book and teaching, I personally, might start looking for a new church.

Terraceth
09-28-2017, 06:48 PM
I suppose someone could say that Jesus was, in his cleansing, rejecting the idea that animal sacrifice was necessary anymore, even if it was important in the Old Testament.

That said, I haven't read the book and haven't seen his full argument in context, so I'm basically responding to a synopsis of the argument rather than the argument itself.

hedrick
09-28-2017, 07:31 PM
The OT citations show that sacrifice wasn't necessary for forgiveness. But that doesn't mean that the sacrifices in the temple were actually wrong. The cleansing of the Temple shows that he was opposed to trade in the temple. I think it's hard to conclude from that passage taken on its own that the sacrifices were wrong. But without reading McLaren I can't tell precisely what he said. He talks about the "architecture of appeasement."

Let me suggest an understanding of the passage that I think is consistent with the evidence. We know from Mat 9:13 and 12:7 that Jesus didn't think that sacrifice was necessary. Indeed a reasonable person could conclude that God didn't want them at all. We also know that Jesus was opposed to the religious establishment. Did he simply see the buying and selling as an incidental aspect of the Temple that was wrong? Or was the whole system of which that was a part wrong, and a way for the priestly class to take advantage of ordinary citizens? A lot of people think what he did in the temple was one reason for his crucifixion. If one could show that the priests understood it not just as an attack on commercial activity but on the whole system, that would provide some support for the idea. Without reading McLaren's book, this looks speculative but possible. But it's not a standard exegesis that you're likely to find in critical commentaries.

It's interesting that Jesus isn't portrayed as participating in the traditional sacrificial worship. He taught in the temple and was there on a couple of occasions, but as far as I can recall neither Jesus nor those around him sacrificed. Jesus is also portrayed as being opposed by the priests. So sacrifice didn't play much of a role in his concept of religion. But was he actually opposed?

Mat 9:13 and 12:7 echo the prophets. A straightforward reading of those two passages implies that sacrifice isn't needed. Does that mean it's wrong? I think a reasonable person could conclude that, but I also don't think it's absolutely certain. But at the very least I don't think he believed that sacrifice was necessary for forgiveness.

Christian3
09-29-2017, 06:26 AM
Here, I think Jesus is referring to the Pharisaic and lawyerly penchant for making "hedge laws" and punishing infraction of those as if one were breaking a Mosaic law (which would require sacrifice for atonement). Instead of legally requiring atonement for every possible infraction, God looks at intent. If the intent was not to break the law, then we should apply mercy instead of requiring sacrifice.

I have to admit that I had never heard of "hedge laws" before you brought it up. Since then I have read an article of two about it, but I would rather hear what you think.

Could you explain what they are and how Jews would use them?

Thanks.

Thoughtful Monk
09-29-2017, 05:07 PM
Yes, it does, but Brian McLaren is a Pastor or former Pastor. Surely he would know how what the cited Scriptures meant?
It appears McLaren does not believe in blood atonement. I wonder what he thinks the Gospel is?

I admit that while I knew the name, I had to go look up who Brian McLaren is. After reading his website, he seems to be wanting to reinvent Christianity in his image. At this point, its no wonder he is finding new meanings in Scripture. He has to since he pretty much discarded the 2000 years of teaching. The result is as OBP says: "Looks like a textbook case of eisegesis".

One Bad Pig
09-29-2017, 07:46 PM
I have to admit that I had never heard of "hedge laws" before you brought it up. Since then I have read an article of two about it, but I would rather hear what you think.

Could you explain what they are and how Jews would use them?

Thanks.
The Jews use them as a way to ensure that they don't actually break a Mosaic commandment. The law commanded that no work be done on the Sabbath - so people would split hairs about what constituted work. For example, Jesus was accused of breaking the sabbath because he made clay by spitting in the dirt - that constituted work.

hedrick
09-30-2017, 08:08 AM
I just looked at McLaren's actual argument. First, let me say that I often find him helpful, but he's not a great exegete. His specific comments on the passage don't hold water. But he also looks at the broader question, and there I think he's right. At least in the version in John, Jesus really is attacking the whole Temple system, not just trying to correct an abuse. John is organized into a series of episodes, each of which shows Jesus replacing key aspects of Judaism. In this episode, when challenged on his authority, Jesus say that the Temple will be destroyed and rebuilt in 3 days. He is really saying that his death and resurrection replace the system of sacrifices in the Temple.

Your assessment of this will depend upon whether you think the role of the Temple was controversial, with the prophets, and particularly John, providing an approach that's opposed to it. In that case you'll be more likely to accept the idea that Jesus' offer of forgiveness was ultimately an attack on the system of forgiveness associated with the Temple.

Whether McLaren is right on the broader implications depends upon your understanding of the atonement. I think he's right on that, but showing that requires exegesis of a bunch of texts, which probably doesn't make sense here.

demi-conservative
09-30-2017, 08:12 AM
The "Emergent Church" -- What exactly is it?

Emerging neo-old heresy, also unScriptural crap.

Christian3
10-01-2017, 05:07 AM
The Jews use them as a way to ensure that they don't actually break a Mosaic commandment. The law commanded that no work be done on the Sabbath - so people would split hairs about what constituted work. For example, Jesus was accused of breaking the sabbath because he made clay by spitting in the dirt - that constituted work.

Thank You.

Cerebrum123
10-01-2017, 06:36 AM
Yup. People have accused him of eisegesis, but I'm not sure on what basis. The passages do say what he says.

I think the reason people hesitate to read them in the obvious way is that the OT in other places sets up the sacrifices that the prophets says aren't necessary. So if God didn't require sacrifice, why did Lev describe all of those sacrifices? My suggestion is that sacrifice wasn't needed for forgiveness, but was rather a kind of sacrament: it made visible and reinforced the person's commitment to repentance.

The underlying issue is the atonement. If you don't think sacrifice is necessary for forgiveness, you'll tend to prefer older models of the atonement. The big argument for penal substitution is that sacrifice is needed for forgiveness. If that isn't true, some of the alternative understandings of the atonement may be better.

Hebrews is pretty clear that blood sacrifice is necessary, but that Jesus fulfilled that function in a far better way than animal sacrifice ever did.

Hebrews 9:21-23New International Version (NIV)

21 In the same way, he sprinkled with the blood both the tabernacle and everything used in its ceremonies. 22 In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.

23 It was necessary, then, for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.