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12/7/10 12:41 PM
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VC Viking
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Edited: 12/07/10 12:42 PM
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Interesting article on the dangers of the Emerging Church.<br /><br />THE EMERGING CHURCH: A MAGNET FOR REBELS<br /><br /><br />The emerging church is a magnet for those who have rejected the “old-fashioned” New Testament faith and who despise traditional Bible-believing churches, dogmatic biblical preaching, and biblical “judgmentalism” in regard to lifestyle choices.<br /><br />Many of the books I have read by emerging leaders make this admission. <br /><br />For example, in Blue Like Jazz Donald Miller tells how that he refused to be restricted by the teaching of traditional-type churches. He wanted to drink beer and watch raunchy movies and talk trashy and run around with atheists and other rebels. In discussing his involvement in church in his youth he says, “I wished I could have subscribed to aspects of Christianity but not the whole thing” (p. 30). He complains, “In order to believe Christianity, you either had to reduce enormous theological absurdities [i.e., Garden of Eden, universal flood] into children’s stories or ignore them” (p. 31). He wanted to believe the gospel “free from the clasp of fairy tale” (p. 35). In other words, he wanted to pick and choose what parts of the Bible he would believe. He despised dogmatic Bible preaching and hated it when preachers “said we had to follow Jesus” because “sometimes they would make Him sound angry” (p. 34). <br /><br />In fact, Jesus was angry sometimes even in His incarnation (“he looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts,” Mark 3:5), and He will be very angry in the future when the wrath of the Lamb is poured out upon mankind as described in the book of Revelation and many other places in Scripture! <br /><br />When Miller decided to attend a raunchy secular college in Portland, Oregon, where most of the students are atheists and agnostics and they use drugs and openly fornicate and sometimes run around naked, a Christian friend sat him down and warned him that God did not want him to attend there. That was good biblical advice (e.g., 2 Corinthians 6:14-17; Ephesians 5:11; 2 Timothy 3:5; James 4:4; 1 John 2:15-17), but Miller ignored the warning and felt that the wicked atmosphere was a liberating experience. He writes: “The first day of school was exhilarating. It was better than high school. Reed had ashtrays, and everybody said cusswords” (p. 38). After spending time with drug-using, atheistic hippies who lived in the woods he said, “I had discovered life outside the church, and I liked it. As I said, I preferred it” (p. 210). <br /><br />At a book signing event, one enthusiastic reader of Miller’s Blue Like Jazz said: “I love Blue Like Jazz because it’s, like, a Christian book, but it doesn’t make you feel bad about yourself” (“A Better Storyteller,” Christianity Today, June 2007). Another said: “I’ve already bought Blue Like Jazz 13 times. But I gotta have all these to give to people. I’m a Jesus girl, but I also like to go out and do tequila shots with my friends. This is a book I can give to those friends.”<br /><br />Some members of Spirit Garage meet in an Irish bar in downtown Minneapolis on Wednesday for a weekly Theology Pub, a mix of biblical discussion and beer. Lindsey Gice, a member of Spirit Garage, says that when the subject of Christianity comes up, “I always feel like I have to qualify it, like, ‘I’m not that kind of Christian, I go to a cool church’” (“Hip New Churches Pray to a Different Drummer,” New York Times, Feb. 18, 2004). Gice said that she left church after high school because her former churches were “way too judgmental.”<br /><br />Brian McLaren’s book A New Kind of Christian is the story of a pastor who rejects the Bible in a “crisis of faith” and follows the guidance of a modernist. The book recounts the man’s journey from a fairly solid faith in the Bible as the absolute standard for truth, in which doctrine is either right or wrong, scriptural or unscriptural, to a pliable, philosophical position in which “faith is more about a way of life than a system of belief, where being authentically good is more important than being doctrinally right” (from the back cover of A New Kind of Christian). <br /><br />In A Renegade’s Guide to God, David Foster mocks “Bible thumpers” and calls for a “renegade” type of Christianity that “resists being named, revolts at being shamed, and rebels against being tamed” (p. 8). He says, “We won’t be ‘told’ what to do or ‘commanded’ how to behave’” (p. 10). <br /><br />Nanette Sawyer, in her chapter in An Emergent Manifesto of Hope, begins by describing her “explicit rejection of Christianity” (p. 43). She rejected the division of people into categories of saved and unsaved. She rejected the restriction on women church leaders. She renounced the doctrine that man is “inherently bad” and the necessity of judging oneself a sinner. She complains, “This didn’t leave any room for questions, doubts, or growth in faith.” <br /><br />The testimony of Anna Dodridge of Bournemouth, England, is featured in the book Emerging Churches by Eddie Gibbs and Ryan Bolger. She describes how that she grew up in a Christian home but fell in love with the world and got deeply involved in the club culture, which involves all night dance and drug parties. Her interests were “in drinking and kissing boys” (p. 262). She got fed up with the churches because they “refused to support me” and “couldn’t see how I could possibly want to go into nightclubs, and they thought it was disgraceful that we were encouraging the culture.” As a result, she “went off to Ibiza, Spain (a magnet for clubbers from all over Europe) for a couple of weeks.” She and others that support the emerging church philosophy are “fed up with traditional church, heavy-handed guidance” (p. 264). <br /><br />The membership of the emerging church congregation called Revive in Leeds, England, is “mainly made up of people who didn’t fit into ‘regular’ church. They were too cynical, too rebellious, too radical” (Emerging Church, p. 273).<br /><br />Jonny Baker of Grace in London, England, says: “We once did a service called ‘we’re right, follow us’ that explored the discomfort we all feel with that old-school, arrogant approach to evangelism” (Emerging Church, p. 123). <br /><br />Donald McCullough complains about those who make “cocksure pronouncements about God” and engage in “doctrinal warfare” and are “eager to condemn others to hell” (If Grace Is So Amazing, Why Don’t We Like It, p. 25). He is opposed to preachers who “crack the whip of the imperative (‘Do this!’) [rather] than announce the news of the indicative (‘God has done this!’)” (p. 78). He doesn’t like the type of preaching that says, “... don’t do that, curb your appetites, reign in desire, discipline and sacrifice yourself” (p. 104). He claims that grace means “we may relax in our humanity” (p. 141). <br /><br />These people are rebels against the plain teaching of the Bible, and as a magnet for rebellion the emerging church holds a wide attraction in these last days as prophesied in Scripture:<br /><br />“For the time will come when they will no
12/7/10 2:04 PM
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Joe Ray
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paragraphs dude, paragraphs....
12/7/10 10:56 PM
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reverend john
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the emerging church is a magnet for rebels its also a place where people that see the traditional church as a den of pharisees, and are interested in social justice, relationship, and community.

I am becoming a bit disillusioned with the emerging church, but I would say they are much more in tune than the evangelical church which is non historical, and non biblical.

rev
12/8/10 12:31 AM
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Ridgeback
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 You can't emerge forever.
12/8/10 12:53 AM
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reverend john
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many of the original emerging church people have gone back to Catholic traditions, the entire idea behind the emerging church was that we must emerge from a modernist, enlightenment fueled faith, that was neither historical nor biblical. That we must learn how a post modern world views knowledge if we are to understand how to preach in their language.

What it seems to be becoming is either liberalism, or just "cool church" neither of which I am interested in.

rev
12/9/10 11:23 AM
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CJJScout
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reverend john - the emerging church is a magnet for rebels its also a place where people that see the traditional church as a den of pharisees, and are interested in social justice, relationship, and community.

I am becoming a bit disillusioned with the emerging church, but I would say they are much more in tune than the evangelical church which is non historical, and non biblical.

rev


I go to a traditional PCA chruch that is huge on social justice, relationship, and community. I'd say that my denomination as a whole is concerned with this stuff. These broad stroke accusations are too much.

Tim Keller's latest study is just one example of the denominations concern with all these issues.
12/10/10 12:25 AM
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reverend john
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so your broad brush is ok and mine is not?

rev
12/13/10 10:35 AM
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CJJScout
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I guess it depends on how you define traditional church.

My statement is intended to be a more singular focus, picking out one denomination from what I consider the traditional church and disproving your broad brush.

Not defending every church or even every church in the denomination, but I know there is a huge intention within the denomination to be aware of these issues. How well the individual presbytery and churches with the presbytery are performing on that intention is completely debatable.
12/16/10 4:02 PM
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reverend john
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no offense but I think you tend to look at what I write with an antagonistic view. In other words I think you want to argue with me rather than hear what I have to say. Which isn't necessarily wrong, just makes it hard for me not to be combative as well.

Please reread what I said. I said that the emerging church is full of people that see the traditional church as a den of pharisees. Now, this is true. Not that the traditional church is a den a pharisees but that most emerging church believe they are, this is why they disassociate with the traditional church. Then I write, "and are interested in social justice, relationship and community".

If you are not going to be part of the traditional church because you see so much Pharisaical behavior yet you believe in social justice, relationship and community where do you go? The emerging church is a group of people that cannot stomach the hypocrisy and bullshit in the traditional church, yet still want to follow Jesus, in community. I never said traditional churches don't believe in social justice, nor community or relationship, though I disagree with some of the methods they use, I think many of them do care about these things.

rev
12/16/10 4:58 PM
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CJJScout
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10-4, I apologize for my misunderstanding. Not trying to argue or be combative, but that is not how I read it. I can admit if I read something incorrectly, no problemo.

I also think there are major points of departure theologically with the emergent church. I know that is beyond the scope of this discussion, but it is important.
12/16/10 5:36 PM
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reverend john
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The emerging church never defined itself theologically so it is hard to argue for or against. However it appears that they are going in a more liberal direction. I have no problem correcting the evangelical pendulum swing, but I think things might be going where I cannot go with. Much of what I see is this weird all paths, mysticism, throw the baby out with the bathwater stuff that I don't like. But many emerging church people don't believe that at all, and are actually theologically conservative, they just believe that the church has stopped being missional, or contextual.

I have grown more and more towards a theology and practice of liberation. Within the liberation theology you have both the liberal and conservative as well, and I side with the more conservative. I find I have more in common with the new monastics and red letter Christians than with what the emerging church has become.

But the point of this post is that the emerging church attracts rebels, my point is rebelling against bad practice, and theology is a good thing, Jesus was killed for being rebelious and I follow Him

rev
12/19/10 12:19 PM
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zealot66
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 It reminds me of alternative music. At first its against the grain, mainstream, etc. Then it becomes a commercialized manufactured segment like the one it chides against.

You have to look at trajectories and arcs of history to know that any social movement deemed rebellious eventually assumes the same structures as the body they rejected. 
12/19/10 4:21 PM
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reverend john
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not always, just usually

rev
12/19/10 5:06 PM
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Ridgeback
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zealot66 -  It reminds me of alternative music. At first its against the grain, mainstream, etc. Then it becomes a commercialized manufactured segment like the one it chides against.

You have to look at trajectories and arcs of history to know that any social movement deemed rebellious eventually assumes the same structures as the body they rejected. 

 There is no American borne religious movement that is rebellious.  Americans have too little awareness of history to pull something like that off, just like we could never pull off an American mythology like Tolkien created.  The pieces just aren't there.  
12/20/10 1:41 AM
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Ridgeback
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 I should amend my statement to mean that there will not be any true rebellious movements after the turn of the century (19th to 20th).  Some of the pacifist and abolitionist churches of the 19th century were pretty rebellious.  But American religion has largely succumbed to consumerism at this point.  Even Mormonism is soaked with prosperity gospel nonsense.  They are trying to change their image to appear more mainstream for what reason?  Money.  
12/20/10 8:11 AM
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CJJScout
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reverend john -  Much of what I see is this weird all paths, mysticism, throw the baby out with the bathwater stuff that I don't like.


Question: isn't this sorta like universalism?

Not trying to pick a fight, just trying to understand the difference.
12/20/10 1:21 PM
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reverend john
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Universalism is not all path. It says very strongly that only through Jesus is salvation found

Rev
12/20/10 3:33 PM
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CJJScout
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Point me in the direction of some reading on that, please.
12/20/10 7:22 PM
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reverend john
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I would suggest the bible :)

one of the things that frustrates those of us that believe in universal salvation is the constant accusations that 1. we don't believe in hell 2. we don't believe that christ is the only way to God and 3. that we don't believe in evangelism.

No matter how many times we say otherwise people seem to ignore us. None of our theology makes sense otherwise.

I have read something by Jaques Ellul and cant find it. You can also read the river of fire which is an orthodox teaching. Also the writings of George MacDonald, and other stuff from Google search.

But the idea is that as in Adam all inherited death, so in Christ all will receive life. In the end of all time, every knee shall bow to Christ. That hell is not non redemptive. That God invites us into his kingdom now, and we should begin to walk in "heaven" that will be fulfilled in the future

rev
12/21/10 5:20 AM
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Ridgeback
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reverend john - I would suggest the bible :)

one of the things that frustrates those of us that believe in universal salvation is the constant accusations that 1. we don't believe in hell 2. we don't believe that christ is the only way to God and 3. that we don't believe in evangelism.

No matter how many times we say otherwise people seem to ignore us. None of our theology makes sense otherwise.

I have read something by Jaques Ellul and cant find it. You can also read the river of fire which is an orthodox teaching. Also the writings of George MacDonald, and other stuff from Google search.

But the idea is that as in Adam all inherited death, so in Christ all will receive life. In the end of all time, every knee shall bow to Christ. That hell is not non redemptive. That God invites us into his kingdom now, and we should begin to walk in "heaven" that will be fulfilled in the future

rev

 All good recommendations only the "River of Fire" is explicitly not Universalist.  It posits the notion that paradise and Gehenna are the same reality of God experienced as light and joy or darkness and fire depending on the condition of each person's heart, but it explicitly states this is a permanent state.  Some Orthodox believe that this is not a permanent state but is rather the process of purification those who die in a state of rebellion against God will pass through until everything is put under Christ's feet and then God becomes "all in all."  

I think if Universalism is not true the concept explored in the River of Fire makes more sense for a loving God than hell as a created reality where God punishes people for rejecting him and insulting his honor forever and ever.  

This Thomas Talbott does a fairly good job of making the Biblical case for Universalism.  Even if you reject what he believes, it is worth the time to understand that this is not simply wishful thinking on the part of some people and that there is certainly a biblical basis for it. 

http://www.willamette.edu/~ttalbott/other-writings.html
12/21/10 9:29 AM
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reverend john
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Baxter Krueger had a simlar belief to River of Fire and everyone I know that hears it calls it universal salvation as well. That all are saved through Christs work, but there are those that do not recognize it. And to them it is torment.

rev
12/21/10 3:04 PM
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CJJScout
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reverend john - Baxter Krueger had a simlar belief to River of Fire and everyone I know that hears it calls it universal salvation as well. That all are saved through Christs work, but there are those that do not recognize it. And to them it is torment.

rev

Going to appear argumentative, but isn't intended that way:

How can there be torment in heaven?
12/21/10 7:39 PM
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reverend john - Baxter Krueger had a simlar belief to River of Fire and everyone I know that hears it calls it universal salvation as well. That all are saved through Christs work, but there are those that do not recognize it. And to them it is torment.

rev

 I see what you mean by that and I agree that would certainly be a form of universalism from that perspective.  In the River of Fire the main point of the writer is that those people are incapable of repenting so they will be tormented "forever and ever."  Other Universalists believe that whatever form the torment takes, it is temporary and remedial/corrective.  
12/21/10 7:42 PM
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Ridgeback
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CJJScout - 
reverend john - Baxter Krueger had a simlar belief to River of Fire and everyone I know that hears it calls it universal salvation as well. That all are saved through Christs work, but there are those that do not recognize it. And to them it is torment.

rev

Going to appear argumentative, but isn't intended that way:

How can there be torment in heaven?

It would be more helpful if you read or listened to a couple things on this subject so the idea would be more clear in your mind and you would see the biblical basis for it.  I have a few articles I can link and can even think of a couple podcasts that would also explain the concept.  Even if you ultimately reject it, it offers a fresh perspective for many Westerners.
12/21/10 10:10 PM
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reverend john
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well the way I saw it was that some people may never realize, not that they were eternally prevented from doing so

rev

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