Thursday, May 21, 2009

Is the emergent church really dead?

Over at Parchment and Pen C. Michael Patten wrote that after 15 years the emergent church is dead.
One could reasonably argue that the emergent church wasn't really a church at all, but mainly a group of authors and blogists who picked up on disatisfaction with some aspects or concrete expressions of those that claim to be Christ's Church in the world.
One definite reaction seems to have been against mega churches that sought to express or impact the culure from a marketing perspective, such as is seen by Willow creek in Chicago and to some extent Saddleback church in L.A.

Cetainly Brian McLaren as an author is still having a wide impact on many "christians" and Tony Jones and his friends at emergent village are likewise putting forth ideas that are far from orthodox, such as their view on hell, homosexuality and the authority of Scripture. It's not that I decry people asking questions but rather the failure of many asking the questions to do serious homework and see the answers which have already in the past of theological study been powerfully offered.

Certainly one can describe many who claim to be emergent or belong to the emergent corral as having accepted the philosophical views of postmodernism, even when they lash out at the evangelical church for having accepted without criticism the assumptions of modernism. Here they are commiting the same blunder they accused the mainstream evangelical church of doing.

However in regard to emegents many are following the mood of postmodernism which really is internally inconsistent and a worldview at odds with a Biblical Worldview.

I want to say more about postmodernism soon, but in the meantime we could perhaps descibe it as really something very old, as being self-legislating in regard to absolutes. Doing what was around in the time of the Judges, where "every man did what was right in his own eyes."

Still where does that leave people today? having moved on from postmodernism are they post-postmodern? Perhaps they are epiphenomenalmoderm? That is, valuing the experiences generated from modernism. Experiences based on the fruits of modernism.

I prefer to call then emodern. They are people who want and use the inventions of the modern era such as computors and ipods and iphones and so on and yet blithely say that there are no absolutes, but the very science which undergirds these inventions requires absolutes. The Logic used in computor hardware has the states of a 1 or a 0 or the state which can be labelled "don't care", there's no fourth option. Computer programming is fiercely absolute in requiring adherence to these laws or things don't work! Just imagine the present 16-25 yr olds reactions if their iphones and laptops suddenly stopped doing what they we designed to do.

Perhaps the generation before us us truly just a reflection of the very logic of solid state hardware, they are heading towards the "don't care", the "whatever" has become a don't care. They seek the experience for experiences sake. But even here they are usually discriminatory. They have not taken Camus or Sarte to their logical conclusion of despair. They don't normally try suicide for the experience.

But overall, is such a discriminatory response livable?

We have a worldview, the Biblical Worldview that gives account for value and meaning and truth and trust and love and knowledge and morality. When we realise this, we will be able to challenge them in their lostness.

In Christ,

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