Monday, April 18, 2005

Becoming Converant With Emergents Critics

I was refraining from much actual commentary regarding the "emerging church conflict." I will leave much of the debate to others.. For me, I know whom I have chosen to journey with through ministry and who I have not chosen. I know who has been there for me and who has not. I know who has embraced me and allowed me to question life, ministry, theology and methodology and who has attempted to control me, my family, my church and my purse-strings.

Therefore, let them say what they will about Emergent, Brian McLaren, Doug Pagitt and whomever else they choose to call "a threat," "dangerous," "heretical" or "unorthodox." I choose to camp with these friends. They are generous. They are strongly orthodox in practice of their Christian faith and they believe strongly in the gospel of Jesus Christ. They care more deeply about the Bible than many fundamentalists I know. They care enough to desire to know what it actually says and means. They allow the Bible to read them. They allow the Bible to be a rorsharch test which colors their perceptions of the outside world. It colors their worldviews (what ever that means). It colors their politics, unlike many of their critics which allow politics and worldview to color their reading of Scripture.

It is ironic that these men defending the faith, spend little time in dialogue with the leaders of Emergent. They spend little time attempting to practice Biblical principles in their attempt to judge. They only desire to keep control over evangelicalism (to define it themselves). They, seemingly, desire to control the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They believe the only reformation worth anything happened in 1517. It is over. It is perfect. They are not reformers. They are defenders of an ancient happening. They are not interested in the continual reformation of the church and this saddens me.

I find it funny that D. A. Carson calls his book Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church yet he stands to the side, not personally connected to the movement. He refuses to speak to the leaders. He refuses to answer their concerns. He refuses to even allow them to explain themselves. His "conversation" bears much in common with the "conversations" of Ann Coulter and the Right-Wing hate machine. If you remember, her latest book is entitled How to Talk to a Liberal, If you must. In other words, speak at them. Don't converse. Don't befriend. Just judge. They are less than human. They have no worth. They are not worth the effort. They are just pests to be taken care of. That is how Carson makes me feel.

Anyway, I have gone on too long. Some people have some very good things to say about this subject. Sadly, I am not one. I grew tired of the non-conversational criticism long ago. I have not need for non-relational judgment from these quarters. They can attack me (well, I am too small a pest for that). They can attack my friends. They can get most things wrong. They can think Brian speaks for all of us. They can misread his statements. They can show no interest in the truth (ironic isn't it). They can defend a narrow version of God. They can defend the gospel (I guess their gospel, Bible and God are so small that they need protection and defense. How sad to believe in such a small God). However, if anyone of them wants to talk to a guy with no published books and very few speaking engagements that has been part of the thing since '98, they can call me. I will talk and listen. Oh well.

Here is some good stuff. It is more coherent than my ranting when I should be sitting in my leather chair watching some baseball with my wife.

Jordon points you to Scott McKnight's review of D.A. Carson's new book.

Brian McLaren setting the record straight after being called a threat to the Gospel and disinvited by Kentucky Baptists who do not have the ability to read things in context and have rudimentary understanding of interpretation (scary for that some of them lead denominational schools for future theologians).

The best of the bunch is Andrew Jones' compassionate plea to D.A. Carson to attempt true understanding of Emergent and not hastily rush to judgment without dialogue. This is why I have loved Andrew for a long time (along with his wonderful taste in beer). If you read anything, read this. It is how I, and many of us feel.

More on the Carson Chronicles from Andrew.

A young SBC Pastor (the same denomination as Andrew, myself and Al Mohler) gives his 2 cents. It is kindly compassionate. link

So, if you care, here is plenty to read. Have fun.


g13 said...

you're right, you should have been watching baseball with your wife:) the cubs/reds game was fairly intriguing and the braves/astros game was nothing short of sublime.

fortunately, though you failed to keep "first things first," the labor of your hands was not without value. thank you for the post and the helpful links.

Ryan Lee Sharp said...

I think you're cool.

Anonymous said...

thanks for a link

about the beer - i am brewing it myself these days (preperation for running a monastery) and my wife hates it - flat and unlively. but thanks for your comment.