Saturday, July 23, 2005

book review rewrite

I took my boo review down. Of the 12 people who read this blog, 2 thought I was a jerk. Lesson learned, don't post the rough draft, even if only 12 people will read it. After vacation, I will write a more thorough review. I will have to spread it out over a few posts like Scot Mcknight did at Jesus Creed when he reviewed Carson's Emergent book. I apologize Allen, for the ad hominem. Please forgive me.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Summer Vacation

It's time for our family road trip. We leave tomorrow night for an all night drive to Ottawa, Ohio for a wedding this weekend. Then to Dearborn, Michigan for a day at Greenfield Village. Then we will spend a few days in Toronto, Ontario, which has a great deal called the city pass which gets us into all the tourist stuff we want to do. We hope to do a day trip down to Niagara Falls. We will spend a couple nights with friends in Montreal, Quebec. Finally, we will visit a friend in Richfield Springs, New York.
All this is my excuse for not blogging until August.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Letting Go of God

Julia Sweeney who was hilarious as Pat on Saturday Night Live years ago just wrapped up her one woman play, Leting Go of God. You need to listen to it on This American Life. It's the 2nd half of the show. I think it is fascinating outsider exegesis. And it is criticisms of Bible stories thrown out rapid fire that accumulate into the reason for her atheism. Some things are addressed by saying, "the humans in this story are responsible for their own actions," but some involve a little more time. This play was so successful the book and DVD are forthcoming. Expect her criticisms to be parroted by those not interested in Christianity. At least she read the book. Her priest wasn't too helpful though. He assured her that the stories are fictional narratives. I'm not sure how there is comfort in philosophical naturalism, other than the pride that she can face the "facts" and not flinch. Do read, do listen, do prepare.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

'A Generous Orthodoxy'—Is It Orthodox? Al Mohler

Al Mohler's review came out in June but I just found it tonight.

A Place Called Vertigo Book Review:: A Generous Orthodoxy?

Here you go. A Place Called Vertigo :: A Generous Orthodoxy? I'm also working on a book review of a lesser know book. Hopefully i will get it done before I leave on vacation. The blog is offline, but the archive of this post is here.

Book review on McLaren.

While I agree that we often fight the symptoms of the disease and not the disease itself, I find McLaren's diagnosis of the disease incorrect. It is not the system; the system is another symptom. The disease is ourselves! In the previous chapter, McLaren dismissed the doctrine of "total depravity" as "depressing" (page 177). Yet Scripture is clear that the disease is our own sinfulness/depravity—e.g., Genesis 6:5; 1 Kings 8:46; Psalm 14:1-3; Ecclesiastes 7:20; Jeremiah 17:9; Mark 7:20-23; Romans 3:9-23, 7:7-25, 8:5-8; Ephesians 2:1-3; 1 John 1:8-10. Regardless of how "depressing" McLaren finds the doctrine of total depravity, the important thing is whether or not this doctrine is true! If we are, as David said, "sinful at birth" (Psalm 51:5) and if it is true that, as David and the Apostle Paul said, "there is no one who does good" (Psalm 53:3 and Romans 3:12), then the "system sick with consumerism, greed, fear, violence, and misplaced faith" is just another symptom of the diseased humans who, as Paul tells us in Romans 1:29-31 (NIV, emphasis added), have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. . . . envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. . . . [and] are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful. . . . [and] invent ways of doing evil. . . [and] are senseless, faithless, heartless, [and] ruthless."

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Dallas Willard on truth despite post modernism

Dallas Willard summarizes the issues of the Postmodern view of truth. He writes towards the end of this article, "The second main argument against "Real truth" rests upon the widespread assumption that consciousness (language, history, culture) transforms its objects in "touching" them, so that they are never "in themselves" what we take them to be in becoming aware of them or knowing them or introducing them into language. It is useful to call this the "Midas Touch" epistemology, because of the similarity, on this account, of consciousness/language to the mythological King Midas, who turned everything he touched to gold."
Scot Mcknight isn't alone in the EC to embrace this. He writes "theology is always context-shaped because we can't avoid it." He concludes this blog entry with, "if the Fall impacts our mind, then we are bound by our conviction that our theology should be more humble and and conversational. Put differently, our theology ought to be a generous orthodoxy."
This might be one of the forks in the road for the emergent church leader. If you believe you have revealed truth how do you display humility to the culture who fears truth claimers and simultaneously claim truth? It seems from my limited perspective that some of these leaders would rather preserve their humble public faces and willingly reconsider essential historic doctrines rather than risk losing an audience by proclaiming truth. An alternative approach is to be witnessing communities or incarnational communities, where you talk about your experience with Jesus or do what Jesus does and hope that seekers will join in and start to embrace a biblical worldview. Without truth claims in these contexts you get the experience-driven church which may have a difficult time ever staying on any course without the rudder of truth. The rejected method used only a few years ago is to say "This is true, and this is why." You know, the "ready to defend," AKA apologetic, method.

Perhaps ECers have tired of orthodoxy without love, but the answer isn't love without orthdoxy. Is orthodoxy an attainable goal for a postmodern ECer? Even non-ECers recognize with James that "faith without works is dead," but do ECers see works without faith are also dead? You need to know who you have your faith in. Otherwise why not be LDS or JW.

BTW, see the A-Team' s entry on the contrast of the LDS Jesus and the Biblical Jesus.

Now, no one likes to have the slippery slope argument thrown at them. But history is not kind to those churches who aren't so sure about boundaries of the kingdom of God.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Do-It-Yourself Impressive Theological Constructs

Do-It-Yourself Impressive Theological Constructs "Compose 10,000 impressive sentences. Select a phrase from each column to form statements which sound profound."
Thanks for the pointer Joe...

D.A. Carson Interview on the EC

See Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly . INTERVIEW . D.A. Carson . July 8, 2005 | PBS where many of the concerns I have Carson has, but he is far more charitable than I make any space for here.
some highlights are
"What I want to see in the movement is less focus on emerging as a category and more focus on the Gospel, because otherwise, if the Gospel is merely the assumed thing rather than the thing about which we are passionate, in another half-generation, another generation, the Gospel itself becomes diluted, even denied. The successors and heirs of the current leaders to the movement will be passionate about the things they are passionate about, and they are being stamped now, it seems to me, by whether they are or are not sufficiently emerging, rather than being stamped by whether they are or are not sufficiently faithful to the historic Gospel."

he says what i said in my last post
"I think that the movement itself is likely to split. In fact, in some ways it already has. One of the figures, for example, who was instrumental in starting the movement in the early '90s is Mark Driscoll from the Pacific Northwest. He still is extraordinarily fruitful today in multiplying churches and reaching out to people who are not normally touched by other churches. Hats off to him.

Another segment will continue, more or less, doing what it is now doing -- that is, using the "emerging" label as the banner flag around which various people coalesce. And others could easily hive off, and, quite frankly, become cultic and dislocated from historic confessionalism at all."

regarding Mclaren
" In some ways, his theology reminds me very much of a sort of old-fashioned 1920s liberalism, and eventually, I think, more and more people will see that, unless he himself self-corrects, which is still possible."
"Do I think he's saying some dangerous things -- dangerous in the sense that he's diverting people from things that are central to the Gospel, that are nonnegotiable as part of the Gospel -- he's diverting people away from those things? Yes, in that sense, I think he's dangerous."

the interview closes with
"The emphasis on understanding the culture, reaching out to people -- all of those things are hugely important. They have a staying power. They're part of Christian confessionalism, Christian mission, in every generation. And there are many, many, many Christians outside the movement that share exactly that perspective. In that sense, they're not nearly as new or as innovative as they think they are. But the bits that are most distinctive in the so-called emerging church movement are, in my judgment, largely ephemeral, because they have been called forth by certain cultural developments, and as the culture changes, as cultures do change, then those things will shift again. I just can't predict how the shifts will come about, but my guess is that in 50 years, nobody will be talking about the emerging church movement. They will still be talking about the Gospel of Christ."

Friday, July 08, 2005

It's the end of emergent as we know it...and i feel fine

Please forgive me, I never knew that, As a legal non-profit (501(c)(3)) corporation, Emergent has had a Board of Directors and an annual business meeting, as required by law, for several years now. I guess this isn't true for all things emerging outside of the US. First, I must say, this is so NOT postmodern. But now this, Tony Jones, Emergent-U.S. National Director, no, strike that, Coordinator. The spin from these systematizing anti-systematizers couldn't be beat by any politician from Washington D.C. Just when I'm getting ready to write about the birth of a new denomination/affiliation/movement with the requisite gatekeepers and doctrinal fences, I get another gift from these guys. I know the meeting happened last month but emergent-us isn't part of my regular rounds of emergent's blogdom. I actually ended up there from Andrew's blog on the ec's tension points where someone mentioned the trashing a, presumably, orthodox Presbyterian minister named tooaugust on emergent-us's comment board at Mclaren's post-meeting reflections. So this guy frustrates some other people who resort to calling him a loser and phony and more graphic/worldly names. So much for the conversation.
So this is how i see it all playing out over the next couple years. As the wagons circle up, people will go back to their established churches with resources and try to bring some emergent flavor there, some will go off the deep end and start emergent cults, emergent churches deepen their affiliation by defining more who they are with only positive statements. Prominent people who are able to agree with those statements by redefining the terms or hovering in the loopholes will be asked to step down from prominent positions. Eventually a mechanism for disassociation will be called for and negative statements will be developed. Power will be concentrated. And then emergentus looks like what they didn't want to be.
The whole hell issue might be the thing that drives this development. Mclaren is relationally right in the middle of things. But he also will drive a wedge between ec and the conservative churches these 1st gen leaders all come from.
For the contrary position go here.