Friday, November 18, 2005

The Distinctives of the Emerging Church

I am not sure how much of this has been covered in comments in the other emerging church discussions, but I wanted to highlight two of the things I think are distinctives about the emerging church conversation.

Narrative - The emerging church has reemphasized narrative over proposition in the explanation of truth. Some in modernity who assert that the Bible is "absolute, propositional truth" find this distressing. But many of us find it freeing and more consistent with the nature of the Bible as culturally-bound literature. Story-telling is back.

Eclecticism - Modernity was characterized by a "my-way-or-the-highway" kind of attitude. In worship and Christian theology, this meant that we very rarely ventured outside our own tradition. But now in postmodernity, the emerging church has recognized that no one tradition has the corner on all of the truth. There are things that we can learn from one another. So, in worship, we as Baptists, for instance, can experiment with what has been used by Anglicans in their worship. In theology, we can learn from and adopt the terminology of those whose perspectives and experiences have been very different from our own.



rocket said...

Can you elaborate on "In theology, we can learn from and adopt the terminology of those whose perspectives and experiences have been very different from our own."?

rocket said...

Could you elaborate some on this statement, "In theology, we can learn from and adopt the terminology of those whose perspectives and experiences have been very different from our own."?

Andrew Warner said...

Hey, Andrew Warner here. My sister had directed me toward your site a while back ago. I just wanted to let you know that I appreciate your thoughts on the emerging church and what not. I have been trying to educate myself and stretch my thinking in regards to all of this. I was excited to hear about your ministry and pursuits in Arkansas. Thanks for your posts. Keep them up.

Robb said...

Rocket - good to hear from you. Your Colts are having quite a season. I think I predicted that somewhere here on the Grenz.

OK - here's a quick answer to your question. I have learned so much more about theological issues from reading those outside of my own tradition. For example, those in the eastern orthodox tradition speak much more eloquently about the Trinity than your average fundamentalist. Also, Henri Nouwen, a sometimes gay Catholic priest, has taught me so much about love and grace - as well as what it means to be a pastor. Other favorite authors of mine - Kathleen Norris, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Wolfhart Pannenberg. None of them are baptistic, or evangelical for that matter, but there is so much we can learn from them. And this is just theological terminology. I think there is a lot we can learn about methodology too, but I am want to reveal my thoughts about icons and the rosary. ...

Robb said...

Andrew, what's up man? Where are you at now?

Andrew Warner said...

Robb, I am here at your Alma Mader (I'm not even sure if that's how it's spelled) in Clarks Summit, PA. I am a Christian Education Pastor major and have been becoming more and more intrigued by this ongoing conversation on the emerging church. You probably can tell from being here that it is a whole beast in itself on this campus. I won't vent my frustrations about it, though. You have been a great source of information and insight, though. So, thanks! Is there a way I could send some questions and thoughts to you besides just on here?

Kevin said...

you post above this one about Jesus junk is hilarious, but true!

I personally have not given in to buying christianized candy, I think its stupid! I am familiar with the store you work with and I wonder how many of their sales policies are ethical, from a christian perspective. One that I know of will even help you get into debt further by pushing their credit card on you!

Anyway...I love that store by the way, they have the best set up and the most variety of books.

A while back I asked you a question but felt that you misunderstood it. I did not mean to assume the church is complete, what I was trying to ask is what kind philosophy does the emerging church have to offer about cultural changes and methodology. It seems the modernists have gotten stuck with this. And since the emerging church is another movement what better solution can they offer to this? Maybe that's more clear. And I know they have much more to offer than just cultural adjustments.

The narrative thing is so true. Some of the best preaching and teaching has good stories and illustrations. And we so need to make truth real and practical and tell in everyday narratives.

I am nervous about learning from other theological perspectives, but at the same time I am curious. I have a book about reading scripture that has a different theological perspective. The sad thing is we dont value the other views, atleast in my circle. We seem to condemn them like we're better. Instead of trying to learn from them and understand why they do what they do. even if you dont agree with them theologically, its like any other thing in life. Learning from others is something theological conservatives stink at!