Thursday, July 20, 2006

redding emergent cohort

i haven't hit this page for a while because we have been running all across the nation and doing a family wedding, more about that on the other blog. here is the deal. i'm not sure how many read this, but if you are in the redding, ca area or know someone who is and are interested in starting an emergent cohort with me, please contact me.
for information about emergent, hit the link to the right
for information about cohorts go here
i know many of my friends, family or associates are a little wary if not distrustful of emergent, and i encourage anyone to be careful, but for me and others i have met it has been an bright spot spiritually and theologically. so, i'm jumping in, more or less and i invite you to join me.


Eric said...

Interesting idea! I went to the link you had on the blog entry and did some reading. I came across something though, that didn't make sense to me...

4) If you decide this is going to be a loaf for a delicate palette add a good collection of emergent books like "Generous Orthodoxy" to start off the feast. If this loaf is for those with advance and/or adventurous tastes, then throw in a cocktail of your own spices and ingredients (write your own theology, start a revolution!).

This "write your own theology..." is confusing because Jude 1:3 exhorts the faithful to, "contend earnestly for the faith which WAS ONCE FOR ALL handed down to the saints." (emphasis mine) Jude, writing under the inspiration of the holy spirit, demands that believers preserve the teachings of the faith that were ALREADY handed down to the church by the apostles (the implication is that it was complete as well) rather than "rewriting" Christian theology.

Now, this may not have included much in the theological areas of eschatology etc. (because the church did not pay much attention some areas of theology for some time), but it seems to me that if a small group of christians are going to sit around and write their OWN theology and start a revolution with it - then, unless Christendom has wholeheartedly departed from sound theology, they are in danger of functioning like the false teachers that Jude (and the other apostles) were warning people about. That doesn't seem good.

The normal impetus for theological reform is usually to correct error and "get back" to the purer theology and practice of the early church and the apostles teachings. My limited experience with those who seek to "rewrite" theology is that they usually end up arrogantly diving into error and excess.

But surely I must be misunderstanding the intention of the author here???

By the way, I would have to strongly argue against the idea that Christendom has wholesale departed from genuine biblical theology. There are pockets that have. I WOULD agree that much of Christendom has departed from sound biblical "practice" in being disciples of Jesus Christ perhaps - but not in the theological framework as a whole (w/ some notable exceptions of course - you always seem to have a lunatic fringe! :o()

SO, if the author is intending for a cohort to "get back to the bible" and seek to purify their beliefs w/ Biblical teaching and theology - cool - excellent idea. But chucking 2,000 years of careful biblical study seems arrogant and immature. The Church in America IS in desperate need of PERSONAL revival, REAL biblical evangelism (instead of gimmicks and hired gun thinking), and grace based community thinking and behavior, but I am very nervous about rewriting theology. Frankly, in the last 100 years, nothing too good has ever come of it.

But am I seriously missing the point? If so, "never mind!"

brett said...

for myself the implication of rewriting theology has to do with popular theology. i have yet to hear, in the emergent conversations i have had, of anyone who is disregarding, disrespecting or dislocating doctrine and theology that is sound. i know, that there are fringe elements, quoted by such as carson, who sound like they are questioning things like the divinity of christ.
some popular theology that, i think, needs to be rewritten is the manifest destiny attitude of some chrisitanity, where they teach that because we are christian we are entitled to prosperity over and, in some cases, on the backs of those who are not believers. the theology that posits that the poor are poor by choice and are left to their own bootstraps. as well as some others. i know that this is not widespread, but i do think that it has a loud enough voice to infiltrate the comfortable masses.
i would whole-heartedly agree with you that this was a flippant use of words to encourage people to think radically about the real gospel. i think you would agree that in the time of luther, calvin, zwingli and others that there was an incredible need to rethink much of what the church was selling as doctrine and theology. i happen to think that now is possibly another time of rethinking. i know some of your distrust of the post-modern philosophy within emergent, but for myself it has been a refreshing reawakening and has caused me to read and want to live the gospel more fully. i don't expect you to agree with it all, by any means, but I AM grateful that you have decided to come along and raise questions.
thank you eric!