I didn’t know you knew so much about what some people who call themselves Emergent believe. Usually when I talk to people, they have never read anything concerning the Emergent Church or Missional Theology. They are given, instead, 1 article that wrongly quotes someone about a serious issue – one like homosexuality and only goes on that one quote. I am glad that you have a basis for your thoughts.
You are right. There are a lot of great things about Missional Theology – Many in which I have embraced as a leader and a servant in the Church. My teacher states, “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” – John 20:21 all the time. God has put forth His mission from the foundation of the world and invites His creation to be apart of what He is already doing in the here and now for the not yet of the Bible. We are indeed all called to be missionaries to our communities embracing an epistemology of love and the announcement of the Gospel – Jesus is Lord.
As respects to your concerns, you have a lot to be concerned about. There are people who have taken a more liberal approach to Missional Theology and have used it as a platform for their own agendas and motives. Then again, it seems most denominations do that – not to mention political figures.
The people I have met in the Missional arena and the Emergent circles call the Bible “authoritative.” They believe the Bible is “inspired.” They would never water down the message of the Gospel nor would they give “sour milk” to new believers. It is truly unfortunate that some people have “ruined” what was meant for God’s glory to push their own beliefs and ideologies. As I am sure you know – most belief systems of denomination does that as well. Calvary Chapel as well has their own thoughts as they pertain to the Bible. If you agree with their thoughts – The Calvary Chapel Distinctive– you can be apart of that church and even eventually serve in different roles. If you do not however, there are other churches that will accept you based on their ideologies.
Christians today have a lot to answer to. There are Christians in the Congo that are murdering babies because these babies are sick. Babies by the hundreds are dying because a bunch of Christians “know” that they are demon possessed. How horrible is that?
Christians beat the crap out of a homeless person simply because they are homeless. They are above that person and feel as though they are entitled to let the homeless know they are not welcomed or loved by God. Come out on a Monday night to our homeless ministry and I will introduce you to a homeless guy who has been beaten up by a bunch of “Christians.” It has taken me a long time of talking and listening for this guy to trust me.
It amazes me how we can say God loves you yet in the same breath tear down those who so desperately need Christ. It should not be to our surprise then that the Church continually goes downhill. It should not surprise us that our churches are slowly getting smaller. If we want to make an impact on this world for God and the Gospel – the fullness of the Gospel – not the watered down stuff you are talking about – maybe we would do well to put our actions where our mouth is. Maybe if people saw how much we cared about others – the world that Jesus died for – maybe they would stop making crass comments about the Church and how hypocritical we are and see the love of Jesus through us. Maybe if we would be the body of Christ, perhaps others would so desperately desire to be apart of the body of Christ as well. Maybe if we stopped acting as though we are entitled to judge other people and love people with God’s humility, perhaps people would be willing to listen and accept the message of Jesus. Maybe if we would stop trying to bring people into our churches and instead went out to them to show we cared, perhaps the body of Christ would multiply and bear much fruit.
I am not saying that the emerging church is right in every area. I am not even saying that I could/would endorse any ministry that is “emergent.” There is not one modal of the Emergent. They are not doing everything wrong though. I don’t care if you don’t like Brain McLaren. You aren’t hurting my feelings and I am more than positive that you aren’t hurting his. He is one person. If you are going to base a new way of reaching people off one person and not the collective whole of diverse individuals who are sharing the Gospel and changing lives, then perhaps we are just going to have to agree to disagree.
Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater though. Those who are passionately seeking God’s face and doing something rather than just talking about it deserve more than that. For the sake of God and His mission, see what these churches are doing. Let’s stop being a bunch of people that just talk about doing something for His Kingdom – based on our own wants and desires. Rather let’s do something more – in fact – let’s do something. Let’s show that we are the living, breathing Gospel of Jesus. Like Elijah who was told to breathe on dry bones, let’s put flesh on the Gospel for once and actually show that we care. Perhaps then, the end will come and we will worship God in Spirit and Truth.
These are just my thoughts though. Feel free to respond.
– Timothy Miekley