“I object to a God who can be understood.” [blogger 1]
“We don’t hold to inerrancy because we believe that it answers the wrong question in reference to the Scriptures….not because we believe the Bible is filled with errors.” [blogger 2]
The little vein on the right side of my temple throbs when I read statements like this. Am I a dinosaur? Am I missing something? Don’t get me wrong. I am all for:
Creativity • Authenticity • Change • Community • Candles • Missional[ity]–had to keep a noun there–and all the other accouterments of the Emerging Church.
I am a fan, I am a supporter, I am an advocate of the PRACTICES that the emerging church is bringing into the body of Christ. I want them in my church, as long as they will serve our mission to each particular demographic.
In fact, we have our own emerging church within our church: it’s called The Well, and it’s great. It’s part of a larger ministry called The Refuge, and full of awesome friends: Todd, Deborah, David, Peter, Lauren, Mitchell, Marshall, Scott, Lindsey, Nate… and lots of others.
If you aren’t up to speed on the emerging church:
Like I said, I’m all for the practices of the emerging church, as long as they help accomplish the Great Commission. But what makes my temple throb and my eye twitch is some (not all) of its theology. Yes, I know that the the emergent movement is not supposed to be a theological movement. It’s a “CONVERSATION” or a “DIALOGUE.” It’s about JESUS, not theology.
But I don’t buy that dichotomy. The letters J-E-S-U-S are placeholders for a concept. What is the concept that comes to your mind when you hear the word spelled J-E-S-U-S? Ummm, let’s see. A person. Yes. A man. Yes. A man who lived in Nazareth and environs some 2,000 years ago. Yes. Yes. A man who was born of a virgin, and died a substitutionary, sacrificial death. A man who was also truly God, as is the Father and the Spirit… And truly human as you and I, sin excepted. Now you’re getting doctrinal on me.
Yes. I must. Because what comes to my mind when I think about Jesus is NOT what comes to a Mormon’s mind. Or a Muslim’s mind. Or a materialist’s mind. So even though we might all SAY we love JESUS, our meanings are radically different to the point of absurdity. And even though we might say that we are doing the works of Jesus, our delineation of those works is radically different from the next guy’s.
Therefore we need to clarify what we mean by G-O-D. This clarification process is called theology.
So, to blogger #1 who writes that you “object to a God who can be understood,” I lovingly say:
- I enjoy reading your blog, and I enjoy interacting with you. You are a talented writer, and I’m sure a devoted follower of Jesus.
- I agree with your concern that some Christians think they have God all figured out. Or that we have all the answers. You are right: a finite mind cannot understand an infinite God (assuming you believe God is infinite). But…
- “Just because we cannot understand God comprehensively does not mean we cannot understand him correctly.” As I blogged to you, God delights when we understand him. This understanding is called Theology. How can you object to that in which God delights?
- “But let him who glories glory in this, That he understands and knows Me, That I am the LORD, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight,” says the LORD.” Jeremiah 9:24, NKJV.
And to Blogger #2 who writes that emerging churches don’t believe in inerrancy “because we believe that it answers the wrong question in reference to the Scriptures….not because we believe the Bible is filled with errors” I lovingly say:
- I appreciate your attempt to reframe the discussion of the nature of Scriptures. I have no doubt that it is on some level helpful.
- But, I have a question: Where are the errors in Scripture? That is my question, because I want to know what parts to trust and what parts not to trust. And because many, many people today assert that there ARE errors in Scripture–do you have an answer for them?
- Example: many people, convinced by the daVinci code, believe that the Bible is in error when it affirms the divinity of Jesus. Who’s right? How do you know?
- I know you deny that emerging church leaders think the Bible is full of errors. I am glad about that. But are there any errors? I’d really like to know, so I can avoid those parts.
- So, one more question: Who left it to the “emerging church” theologians to decide that certain questions are “the wrong questions”? Aren’t all questions right questions? I figured that the emerging church would be the first to embrace any line of questioning. And since some of them lead us down a path to the wonderful doctrine of innerancy, why must you invalidate a whole line of questioning?
- “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple;” Psalms 19:7, NKJV.
Does a guy like me get to be part of the “emerging conversation?”
[This t-shirt some other church came up with makes me laugh:]