There is a new book, published by Moody Press, by two guys from Michigan and an accompanying website to promote it notemergent. I haven’t read the entire book just the posted sampler and also watched the promotional movie - so far I am not impressed.
I am Emergent (when I really shouldn’t be)
I am a boomer, born in Detroit Michigan, raised in a great Presbyterian church. At sixteen I was “born again” or “saved” at a Christian boarding school . After high school, I went to a Bible school in upstate NY and started learning conservative evangelical theology. I discovered Dispensationalism, Calvinism, Evidentiary Apologetics, Creationism and even became a Cessationist (tongues, healing and miracles all ceased with the completion of the Biblical Canon). I continued my training at a fundamentalist Baptist college, and later studied at Dallas Theological Seminary. I was, in every sense of the idea, a staunch fundamentalist with a dispensational hermeneutic and conservative evangelical theology, proudly defending capital “T” Truth. I am not hip or cool (my glasses are the very unhip Ralph Lauren wire framed glasses), I have four grown children and a wife of 30 years. I was a part of the church growth movement and felt comfortable in the surroundings in my suburban mega-church. I should be one of the opponents of emergent – all my theology, apologetic, understanding of the Bible and the gospel, as well as my experiences pointed me to become an Emergentfighter and Defender of Truth.
But, something funny happened: I couldn’t get away from nagging thoughts and ideas about the conceptual limitations we face as human beings, the limits of language, the vast number of 1st order assumptions we work with, the hermeneutic principles required to interpret the Bible or the irony of the vast number of theologies that exist (ironic because if it is true that we can find a place of irreducible certainty to start from, we understand the original languages and all of our theological and hermeneutic method is objective – shouldn’t we arrive at the same conclusions?). I reluctantly started reading the thoughts of people I was taught to avoid, I heard that they had an agenda to put God to “death” and sought the final destruction of all things of faith but, I found something altogether different than I expected - I found that so much of their ideas made sense to me and instead of the end of faith these thought leaders were observing a “return”. I found reluctant atheists and some excited Christian philosophers who were processing similar conclusions: postmodernism didn’t mean an end to faith – it meant a return from the margins for faith.
I hear comments like: Defining emergent is like “nailing Jell-O to the wall” and “postmodernism means a hundred different things”, I disagree - it isn’t all that hard to describe if you are listening and reading. Here are the simple basic ideas of what fueled the emergent conversation and friendships:
1. Post modern refers to the period after modernity. It appears to “us” that a significant epistemological shift is occurring - the likes of which we haven’t seen in 400 years.
2. Language is limited
3. Human concepts are limited
4. There is no place of irreducible certainty (foundation)
5. Considering the above it would be very difficult to convey absolute meaning using language and human concepts
6. Christian theology has become enslaved to the 1st order assumptions of modernity and is far more Cartesian than Christian and has become ashamed of faith
7. A Reformation of recognition and repentance is needed
8. New theological thought is needed to free Christian theology from the enslavement of modernity and enlightenment assumptions and conversation and friendships would be more productive than developing imperatives.
9. This is just the beginning of the transition and a great deal of work and theological thought lay ahead for those who desire to join the conversation.”
I am not emergent because I am hip and cool - I am emergent (and I realy shouldn’t be) becasue I desire to walk humbly before God!