The Emerging Church - Part 2
by Gary Gilley
May 2006 - Volume 12, Issue 5)
Our worldview will determine how we process information and in turn what we believe. In theory, at least, Christians should possess a biblical worldview shaped by the study of Scripture. In actuality, too often our philosophy of living (worldview) is formed by other forces around us including our culture. This is an accusation often cast at the evangelical church by the emerging church leaders. They say that evangelicalism has been shaped by modernity – that what we believe is not drawn so much from Scripture as it is from the Enlightenment. This indictment should not be cast aside too quickly; there is some truth to it. We must ever be careful that we trace our beliefs to Scripture and not take detours constructed by men. But having read the specific allegations coming from the emerging camp, I find that most do not hold water and are thrown out more to put us on the defensive and justify their beliefs than to accurately portray the teachings of the conservative church. When the smoke has cleared we discover that our fundamental doctrines find their basis in Scripture after all. But the same cannot be said for emergent teachings. Their doctrines have been more than tainted; they have been fashioned by postmodernity. Let’s take a look through the lens of emergent philosophy at some of the major doctrines.
Al Mohler, theologian and president of Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, provides this scathing comment:
The worldview of postmodernism – complete with an epistemology that denies the possibility of or need for propositional truth – affords the movement an opportunity to hop, skip and jump throughout the Bible and the history of Christian thought in order to take whatever pieces they want from one theology and attach them, like doctrinal post-it notes, to whatever picture they would want to draw.
Most emergent church leaders claim fidelity to the Scriptures as well as the historic doctrines and even creeds of the church. Sounds good on the surface – but then they force these things through the filter of postmodern deconstruction and what comes out are distorted and unrecognizable understandings of theology. Dan Kimball says that the church must “deconstruct, reconstruct, and redefine biblical terms.” Brian McLaren would agree, saying that our old theological systems are flawed and something new is needed.
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