Can We Cut The Emerging Church Just A Little Bit of Slack? Or Demanding Strict Uniformity

My parents are in town visiting this week. Their arrival marks the first time they’ve met their sole grandchild. As such, I’m not able to do as much ’round here (I’m not able to take any days off work so I’m doing my regular 58 hour week in addition to being with them) and therefore I’ll be posting very short little guys.

Well, for wanting to keep it short, you’d think I’d have chosen a lighter topic.

As I’ve mentioned in previous post and will continue to reference until the end of time my religious story began in a quasi-fundamentalist non-denomination church. We’re talking hymns only, long pews, suit and tie preacher fighting the culture war from the pulpit each week, and blatantly endorsing Republican candidates during election time.

The news they preached there wasn’t very good – I guess it was good news if you were one of the in people God had saved from a fiery hell and a sinking ship of a planet – however the way it was presented always left me vastly insecure I was good enough, that I was one of the people for whom it was good news.

By middle school I was pretty over the whole church thing. I was no expert in religion, but I could already tell the whole thing was pretty bogus. By the time high school came around I manipulated my parents and my work schedule to get me out of going altogether.

The emerging church movement arose as a response to the oppressive fundamentalist indoctrination so many people had encountered. It wanted to look at a different way to do things than that one, as obviously for them it was not working at all, and judging by the change in the larger culture (toward post-modernism) it was not working so hot for the very people the fundamentalists desired to convert.

I don’t identify with the emerging church movement. As I state in the FAQ, I appreciate some of the people in the movement, but since its not really much of anything more than a conversation its fairly transient and I’d rather put my eggs in a another basket. I do appreciate some of what they are doing, but that of course doesn’t mean I agree with the everything going on in it.

Now, many conservative people hate the emergents. We’re talking witch hunt. They write books trying to punch holes in everything they say. There are plenty of emergent watchdogs out there waiting to pin whoever they can to the heresy wall. It’s pretty brutal.

I know why they’re doing this, but I’d like to call for some understanding. See, it took me a long time to come back to the Christian thing. My only experience with it had been that ultra conservative church, and because of that I mistakenly believe that was the whole of Christianity. I thought that was it, there was nothing else. And since it burned me I backed off.

So why I’m calling for just a little bit of slack, maybe even just a little bit of brotherhood, is because at least the emergents didn’t make that leap of giving it up altogether. At least they are trying to reform it and work with it in some way. At least they didn’t bounce to the other end of the spectrum and become devout atheist working against Christianity. At least they are still working within Christianity.

So that’s all. I could write far more, but let’s leave it like that. All I’m asking for is some perspective and understanding.

Regardless of how much you may despise the emergents, can you at least acknowledge that they are trying to stay with Jesus? Can you accept them as a brother or sister through Jesus? Do you understand why they are doing what the are?


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6 Responses to Can We Cut The Emerging Church Just A Little Bit of Slack? Or Demanding Strict Uniformity

  1. David says:

    What is “staying with Jesus?” (Sorry, I am sure you are tired Charlie and don’t want to get into a tiff. 🙂 ) Is it having saving faith and doing whatever the hell you please? Is the Emergent church an effort to cover up a liberal agendas with the name of Christ? Is is never having a conflict with scripture? Twisting the scripture to fit a culture?

    I am asking because I don’t think we can judge any of this by conservative or liberal standards. It is really is an issue of sin, or not sin. And more so it is about the fruit of the spirit, not a few twisted scriptures. So here is a brief list of the mistakes of previous emerging churches – you know the ones with good ideas and programs to fit the local culture.

    Here is what the Lord said through the Apostle John:
    Rev 2:4 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. (The Pharisees were guilty of just this kind of thing, putting religious and biblical precision ahead of the heart.)

    Rev 2:11 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death. (Blessed and holy is he that has part in the first resurrection: on such the second death has no power.)

    Rev 2:14 Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: You have people there who hold to the teaching of Balaam (Balaam was a pagan prophet in the Old Testament), who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin by eating food sacrificed to idols and by committing sexual immorality. 15 Likewise you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans (Nicolaos of Antioch – food scarificed to idols and fornicaton).

    Rev 2:20 Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel (an evil woman who killed many prophets of God), who calls herself a prophetess. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols.

    Rev 3:1 I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead.

    Rev 3:15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! (moral and religious tepidity in the church)

    In the final analysis, when a church group of any size or denomination allows for sin, it is on dangerous ground. We are to love all sinners – ALL! However; we must preach sin and repentance too. We can’t have “preferred sins” or “not so bad sin.”

    I wrote about this here.

    http://fireandgrace.blogspot.com/2009/01/not-sin-not-god-is-it-ok-to-golf.html

    Thanks for asking tough questions, Charlie!

  2. Angela says:

    Yeah, I do think the emerging church is that bad…I think I may have thought it was the devil in the past, but they have their problems like any organized religious moment does.

  3. Angela says:

    I “don’t” think it’s that bad….typing error!

  4. oh man big change Ang – glad you corrected! I was stunned at first!

    @David – oh yeah the emerging church is definitely not without sin. What church isn’t really? Inevitably in trying to correct the wrongs you commit some new ones. Life is tricky that way. Unfortunately the nature of sin is that we aren’t able to see it going on for a long while. I think its helpful to realize sin doesn’t happen in a vacuum – there are reasons behind them, albeit illogical.

  5. Pingback: Oxymorons, or Building a Christian Nation | Charlie's Church of Christ

  6. Pingback: Christianity Still Sitting In The Dark Ages, Or The Tale Of The Self-Inflicted Foot Wound | Charlie's Church of Christ

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