Friday, June 02, 2006

Emerging Church Critique

Charles Colson and his cowriter give some cogent thoughts on the emerging church from Christianity Today:


Clint said...

In his book, Escape from Reason, Francis Schaeffer elucidates a critical problem with the methodology of our communication. He states:
“Every generation of Christians has this problem of learning how to speak meaningfully to its own age. It cannot be solved without an understanding of the changing existential situation which it faces. If we are to communicate the Christian faith effectively, therefore, we must know and understand the thought-forms of our own generation.”

Schaeffer understood the need to effectively communicate to changing generations. I agree with Colson that truth does need to be defended, known and taught as objectively true, yet there still exists a tension in our church today of how we communicate the Gospel message in a postmodern context. I am not submitting that we shift to a postmodern paradigm, but I feel that it might be healthy for us to sometimes be flexible in our modus operandi in order to be relevant. It seems that Paul effectively did this when speaking of the “unknown god.”

It is for this reason that I value Colson’s article. It seems he properly understands and engages the Emergent church movement. On the other hand, there seem to be many, as with any movement, that are throwing a negative blanket statement over the movement with harsh criticisms and uninformed arguments. As we engage our Christian brothers and sisters let us remember the latter half of 1 Peter 3:15 “…But do this with gentleness and respect.”

Craig Fletcher said...

I have found myself, at times, trying too hard to fit in with secular thought and people so that I can then articulate the gospel in a way that might be better recieved. On one hand, it's effective because it opens doors that might otherwise be closed. On the other hand, too much compromise and you will find yourself slipping into "their ways", laughing at jokes that grieve the Spirit, standing by idle and not standing up for Christian ethics when your friends starting talking lewdly about "that chic over there".

But here again, we look at Christ if we need some direction. He was able to hang with anybody, and yet he did not succumb to their ways, always speaking the truth in love, and yet able to fit in. Of course there were those in the dark who couldn't stand the light and so they sought His persecution, which also happens to us. But we ought not hang out only with fellow believers. We need to meet people where THEY are, not where WE are - and hence the emerging church, right?

If the lost are congregating in a bar, then talk to them in a bar, or even go to the bar with them and shine light on them. That doesn't mean you have to get drunk with them or talk like them! (I think I am talking to myself now) :-)