The current installment of the COEC began meeting in 2007.

We are currently on a "break," for no particular reason, and many little reasons - mostly pertaining to life circumstances. If anyone is interested in calling a meeting, feel free to post on the blog, join the google group (see link below) and send an email, or contact either Nancy (nancykj10@yahoo.com) or Jesse (schroeder.jesse@gmail.com) for more information.

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Mark Driscoll and Emergent Church Criticisms

Hey all -

You may be familiar with Mark Driscoll, this has been my first introduction. The Emergent Village posted a weblog regarding Mark's talk at a Southeastern University Conference. It certainly sparked some thoughts for me. I could only get the actual podcast from iTunes, and it is rather lengthy. However, I think it could be fuel for some interesting discussion, if anyone is interested. Specifically, I would raise questions regarding:

- The value and dangers of theological "conversation" (which Driscoll basically labels as demonic, ala Gen. 3)

- The roles of such emergent leaders as Doug Pagitt, Tony Jones, Rob Bell and of course, Brian McLaren

- The concept of a "timeless" truth but a "timely" message. This seemed to really be the heart of Driscoll's message: We should not (cannot) change the Gospel, but we can change how we communicate it to our immediate culture. However, I can't help but wonder how much our understanding of the Gospel (meaning God, sin, salvation, etc.) has changed over the centuries. If we are in an age when information is disseminated more broadly and rapidly than before, should we be surprised or concerned that theologians are presenting new ways to think of, conceive and understand "orthodox" Christian theology? It seemed to me that Driscoll is primarily trying to preserve orthodox evangelicalism, and he criticizes the emergent church (or revisionists as he says) for changing the terms, opening up to new ideas, and re-envisioning the "old old story." But isn't orthodox evangelicalism something that was a revision to begin with? Even Driscoll refers to the Reformation in his talk. So why should we be surprised that we are continuing to reform our theology?

Those are some of my thoughts. As always, everyone is welcome to chime in.

- Jesse


Anonymous said...

The church has always had a problem supplementing biblical truth with extra-biblical junk. Reformation is an ongoing process where the truth of scripture continues to discipline the natural human tendency to add to it (legalism) or subtract from it (liberalism). The emergent church "conversation" is so dangerous, IMHO, because it is not merely liberal but radical. It isn't simply trying to subtract from biblical truth but instead is trying to undermine the entire effort of discovering truth by defining it as unattainable.

Anonymous said...

Hmm in what ways do you feel that the emergent church "coversation" is subtracting from biblical truth? I have always felt that most emergent movement authors have tried to really go back to biblical truth and rediscover what it originally meant so as to subtract the legalistic things that Evangelicals have added to it. I think perhaps the emerging church's relationship to post-modernity and the idea of absolute truth being unatainable being a very post-modern idea has incorrectly caused some to think that the emerging church thinks discovering truth is unattainable.

Jesse said...

I'm glad to see some people are responding to the post! Please feel free to continue to add your thoughts (and also sign your name to make conversation easier).

In response to the first "anonymous" comment, it is interesting that you associate legalism with "adding" to Scripture, and liberalism with "subtracting" from it. I think that these descriptions could also easily be switched. But, that's not a big deal.

What is a big deal to me, is the idea that we can read and understand Scripture in a vacuum. Even our concept of Scripture (whether it be Reformed, Catholic or otherwise) is defined by our experience and understandings of orthodox theology. In my opinion, what the Emergent Church seems to be doing is stepping back and looking at the lens through which we read our Bibles so closely. This call to examine our "worldview" as so many pop-Christian authors have been writing and speaking about the past 15 years, is finally taking place. What they didn't expect those is for Christians to examine their own "orthodox" lenses. The essential question (again, as I see it) appears to be, "Is the way we read and understand Scripture really the best way? Or could we approach it from a completely different direction and find ourselves coming out in a completely different place?"

I agree with the second anonymous comment in that the emergent authors are trying to rediscover what Biblical truth really means. As a result, they are willing to rethink what has previously been defined as "absolute truth." It is a misunderstanding to say that truth is unattainable, however the truth we "have" now may not be the best (or most full) truth.

Just some of my thoughts - again, everyone is welcome to join in :)

Anonymous said...

Hey, What is the name of this podcast on iTunes? I would very much like to listen to it.