This long but fascinating article got my dad and I talking about the relationship between Calvinism and the emerging church. I have posted about this before, but as my dad and I talked, I had a couple of additional thoughts.
I said in my February 2007 post that my Calvinism caused me to take culture seriously, and that led me to embracing the emerging approach to church. Not all Christian theologies take contemporary culture seriously.
The Classic Ryrie Dispensationalism I was taught in college leads to a disconnection from culture. If the world is just going to get worse and worse until Jesus yanks us out of here, why should we bother connecting in any meaningful way to our culture? It's all pointless. Likewise, Fundamentalism doesn't take contemporary culture seriously. It looks back wistfully to a bygone age and seeks to recreate it through traditional church services and programs and through a certain brand of Jesus-Is-A-Republican kind of theology.
But Calvinism is different. Calvinism has existed in various cultures across the globe and throughout the ages. (Classic Dispensationalism and Fundamentalism are uniquely American theologies.) It has found expression in various cultural ways - in political involvement, in music and art, in education, in business, in compassion-based ministries. The ethos of the emerging church with its strong emphasis on understanding and relating to postmodern culture seems like a very natural place to be a Calvinist.
My other thought has to do with the place of doubt in the emerging church. I've posted about this before too. As I think about it, I am not sure that Arminianism allows for doubts. Arminianism teaches that my salvation is ultimately dependent upon a choice that I make to accept-believe-follow Jesus. It seems to me that I am not going to make that choice if I am not fairly certain about the truth of it all. For me to accept Jesus, I need to have it all figured out.
But Calvinism puts the ultimate responsibility for my salvation on God's shoulders, not my own. And as such, I don't think that I need to have it all figured out to be a follower of Jesus. I can have my doubts and still be drawn by God into who he is. Calvinism emphasizes the vastness, the grandeur, and the mystery of God. Again, since it is open to doubters like me, the emerging church seems like a very natural place for a Calvinist to find a home.
These ideas probably need to be developed more, but these are some initial thoughts. Do you have any?