Thursday, November 19, 2009

Emergent Church Confusion

My response to the Baptist Standard which ran an article in favor of Emergent theology:

Although we have to regard our theological formulations with humility and some degree of skepticism, it seems like the Emergent Church has made skepticism into a doctrine. Reflecting this fact, Loyd Allen wrote,

“Postmoderns have abandoned big-picture reality. Either it does not exist, or it cannot be proven by a logical system of propositions—known as a ‘meta-narrative.’ Postmoderns’ reality is more like a set of children’s building blocks than a jigsaw puzzle. The blocks have meaning according to their context in a particular construct. Truth is established through local relationship more than rational, universal application.”

However, the meaning of any one “building block” (or even word) is somewhat determined by its relationship to the whole jigsaw puzzle. If I want a fuller sense of how Jesus used language so that I can interpret a particular passage, I want to see the “big-picture” range of His usages. If I want to know what He meant by “unless you drink my blood and eat my body, you have no life within you (John 6),” I have to look at what He taught about “salvation” and “life” in general.

Jesus even mandates that we look at the “big-picture reality.” He ridiculed a synagogue leader for criticizing Him for healing on the Sabbath. While He never disputed the charge that He had done work on the Sabbath, Jesus did find fault with this leader because He his interpretation was too narrow. Although the leader had gotten the one building block right – don’t work on the Sabbath – his interpretation and charge against Jesus culpably failed to take reality and the rest of revelation into the picture (Luke 13; John 7:23-24).

When our vision narrows to the immediate context, failing to appreciate the broader context of revelation (the “big-picture reality,” the “meta-narrative”), we become myopic, and this will bring many problems upon our heads.

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