"Clearly, what conservative Christians have been reading about the Emerging Church has not been accurate." (>>)
Aaron Shafovaloff @ Thursday, June 02, 2005 12:57:00 PM:
Given the diversity of the movement, "penetrating criticisms that apply to one part of it are sometimes inappropriate to some other part."http://www.theopedia.com/Emergent_church
Ian @ Thursday, June 02, 2005 1:04:00 PM:
Sure, to a point. But the overwhelming majority of criticism is aimed at less than 20% of the movement. It's a straw man.
Aaron Shafovaloff @ Thursday, June 02, 2005 1:19:00 PM:
I think this has been blown out of proportion and has turned into a strawman of a purported strawman.The only points that might conceivably be used as straw men were open theism and the denial of absolute truth. All the rest (especially apophatic theology) were shown to be accurate in the developing conversation. Regarding open theism, I qualified how the EC is overwhelmingly disposed to it. You'd be hard-pressed to find folks who flat out say all of EC is distinguished by open theism. In other words, it's a straw man to say that conservatives mark all EC folks as open theists. It's a straw man with a purported straw man.Regarding the denial of absolute truth, this of course needed qualification. The EC is *postmodern*. And that shouldn't be contested, they loudly profess it. Postmodernism by its very definition rejects the attitude that people can KNOW stuff with certainty. EC folks might believe in a few absolutes with certainty, but the characterization of the EC as postmodern and anti-absolute-truth is very accurate. I know this from experience in one-on-one conversation with EC youth group leaders. Heck, just read some of McLaren's literature.Regarding the "irrelevance of expositional preaching", of COURSE EC folks won't agree with that; it just sounds bad. Mormons won't agree with the criticism that they are polytheistic ethier. But is the criticism accurate? Tell me, how many key EC folks you know like expository preaching? And do you really see EC literature as interacting with much scripture?So if you want to do something more than a drive-by criticism of a purported straw man, you'll have to be specific about what points are strawmen and what points aren't.Grace and peace in Christ,Aaron
Ian @ Thursday, June 02, 2005 2:16:00 PM:
Maybe I just haven't read enough, but I've never heard people in the EC talk about Open Theism (by name or not) outside of that post, in which it was only brought up by Theopedia. I'm sure some do, but I don't think it's really an issue (which would seem to be backed up by Andrew's similar response).I don't think it's accurate to say that the Emerging Church is postmodern. From what I've seen it's more that they recognize that the world has shifted/is shifting into postmodernism and believe that should be taken into consideration when talking about ecclesiology, evangelism, worship, etc.I'm also not convinced that postmoderning itself rejects truth in the way you claim it does."What you describe as postmodernism – a claim that "there is no such thing as truth," a rejection of all moral values, or their reduction to mere preferences – may have been purported by a few crazed graduate students for a few minutes at a late-night drinking party. But to paint the whole movement with that brush is inaccurate." (>>)But even if it does, that doesn't mean that people in the EC accept that. I can't remember reading any EC literature that denies truth in the way you think it does, and I do remember reading several things that have been frustrated at the accusation of such. This one is the only one I can remember the link for, unfortunately.McLaren does not define the EC. He's one voice among many, and while he's gotten significant attention in the media, I don't get the impression that he holds a comparable influence within the EC. (Which isn't to say that he has no influence, just that it is not on the level one would assume by noticing the attention he gets in the media). I think many see him as taking certain things too far.I don't have enough knowledge of the EC to know how often narrative vs exposition teaching is used, and I'm sure there's more of a focus toward narrative. Although, I'm not sure that's anything to worry about, given how much of the Bible is narrative. So I'd say (like Andrew did) that saying the EC uses narrative teaching is accurate. I'm not sure saying they never or rarely use expositional preaching is accurate. Do you know of specific examples?I'd also say I haven't read enough to get a good impression of apophatic theology's role in the EC, although I don't really see the harm in it if there is one.I don't think the comments backed up your conclusions at all. There was one (maybe two) people who agreed with Open Theism, but most did not. There was one or two who agreed with apophatic theology, but most didn't even know what it was or were neutral towards it. PhilJohnson gave a good description of it, but that doesn't mean that the EC can be described by it. I don't see how you drew that conclusion. Most of the comments leaned towards saying postmodernism is good to a point, but only to a point. That's not far off from what Carson said. Absolute truth wasn't really discussed. The comments on inclusivism and the narrative/expositional thing pretty much lined up w/ Andrews ideas.I guess I'm just more inclined to believe what people in the EC say they believe rather than what their critics say they believe, and I think that poll confirmed my suspicions that there's a large disconnect between the two.
Aaron Shafovaloff @ Thursday, June 02, 2005 3:39:00 PM:
Thanks for the thoughtful rejoinder. I apologize for the above post's attitude... I was in "battle-mode", went to lunch, and then thought, "I really should have let it sit for a little while before I responded." Grace and peace,Aaron
Ian @ Thursday, June 02, 2005 4:12:00 PM:
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