The Premise: Help improve this letter being written by an elder at my home church to our pastor.
It seems to me that the intellectual battleground of Christian thought today is not in the arena of salvation by works nor even in the arena of the inerrancy of scripture. These are virtually moot points to today's younger generation of Christians. Rather, the rising tide surrounding us all, and capturing the younger church, is mysticism. Since the Reformation the Protestant church has emphasized a scientific and rationalistic approach to understanding truth manifested in lower criticism, higher criticism, language studies, and exegetical rigor. The problem is that this emphasis has displaced an awareness or even acknowledgment of the mystical, the holy, or “numinous” if you like. The Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches thrive because they hold onto this sense, even along side their works righteousness. The rise of charismatic expressions and ever more emotive based church gatherings in our generation are manifestations of the yearning for awe, emotion, and an awareness of "God’s presence.”
A corollary drive for more communal, less doctrinally rigorous, expressions of the church fuel the emergent church phenomenon. The challenge of Biblical teaching today is not to deny and suppress these aspects of our knowledge and experience of God, but to properly exegete scripture to expound and manifest what is true and real about God including these dimensions. We seem afraid to go there lest we open a Pandora's box of horrors.
The Scriptures often make the emphasis upon God as transcendent, holy, unfathomable, awesome, etc. The point here, using David Brooks recent article The Neural Buddhists as an example, is that our teaching of the Word should not have “militant materialism” or “scientific rigor” as its essential methodology. Rather...
OK - so now we need you to pick up your blog pen and help finish the paragraph. What goes after the "Rather....???"
Alternately, are the original assumptions about the emergent conversation correct, or do they need reformed as well?
Songs of Lament and Hope
1 day ago