Wrote the following a couple years ago but never posted it.  Got it off the shelf a few days back and made some additions and subtractions, thought it might be worth passing along. 
  
emergent JesusC.S. Lewis is quoted as saying, “We all want progress, but if you’re on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive.”
                      
I don’t know nearly enough about the Emergent church movement to be against it.  And even if I did, anyone can be against something they don’t like.  After all, the growing movement includes some of my brothers and sisters in Christ, so I should pray for them if anything. 
       
Like many folks, I like blazing my own trail.  I want to make my our own mark.  My preference is to think my own thoughts if the alternative is being force fed someone else’s.  My observation has been that we humans have this built in drive to uncover hidden and different paths then those who have proceeded us.  So, with those things in mind, it should come as no surprise that when I first learned of the ECM that it appealed to me on several levels. 
 
For starters, I have felt just a little out of place for whatever reason within the streams of Presbyterianism I’ve been swimming in for the better part of the last 15 years (Presbyterian Church in America—aka PCA, and the Evangelical Presbyterian Church—aka EPC).  That “I’m not at home” sort of sense of discontentment has been my gnawing reminder that I must belong elsewhere and continues to feed my hope for more meaningful community.  For whatever reason, I have never once gotten even the remotest impression that a former charismatic youth pastor like me, who despises the prosperity gospel (not to confuse my hatred for false and dangerous doctrine with my love for my friends caught in the web of deceit), was all too welcome within the PCA or the EPC.  And then my divorce 4 years ago, that wicked ordeal certainly didn’t help my cause (even if I did fight to save my marriage after the writing was on the wall). 
 
I will admit, I am a misfit of sorts and misfits have trouble fitting in anywhere I have discovered. 
 
Of course my skepticism concerning the Republican Party, my hesitancy about supporting anything to do with the religious right (whoever “they” are, there are those who wish to cast a shadow of fanaticism upon anyone who names the name of Jesus)—Albeit, I am pro-life to the core and for several reasons including that my own brother was just about aborted and that I have three “fearfully and wonderfully made” children of my own and I can’t fathom the thought of having been a part of having had conveniently decided to have “disposed” of any one of them because they weren’t in “the plans” (and that was the case with one of them)—not to mention the budget. 
 
Throw in my disdain for the Moral Majority and my mounting concerns over the gospel deficient focus of Focus on the Family the last several years… those issues I raise couldn’t possibly win me too many friends among a couple slices of Christendom (the PCA and EPC) who’s membership roles include wage earners who’s median household income tops your average cat.  I’ll take a stab in the dark and guess that the fact that I have never broken out of the ranks of the middle class (that is, back in the day when I had a real job) coupled with my lack of higher education—didn’t lend itself to my being a part of “the club.”  And then there are my strong views about the great commission (see Matthew 28:16-20) having nothing to do with a). Holding any political party hostage, b). A government takeover by Christians, or c). A moral revolution.  Now, that’s not to say I will become a Democrat in this lifetime.  But as I have stated elsewhere, I am no longer a registered Republican. Not an iota of scripture has convinced me that God’s Kingdom is subject to any political bent. 
 
And let me add this before moving on—I have tremendously benefited from and greatly appreciate the doctrines of efficacious grace and justification by faith alone, as well as keen attention to detail when it comes to the gospel as a whole, which in my opinion, both denominations do their due diligence with.  There are two men I need to thank for their interest in my well-being; Dr. Richard Alberta in Brighton, Michigan (EPC), and Dr. George Grant in Franklin, Tennessee (PCA). 
  
Moving forward.  Michael Horton is a man I admire from a distance.  While I realize he is conservative on some fronts, I’d like to suggest that he is pretty liberal when it comes to the positions he holds toward many doctrines (he proposes a pretty scandalous grace in his book “What’s So Amazing about Grace?).  When I say “conservative” and “liberal” here I mean in his theology (I’m not getting into a deep discussion about politics on this blog).   I’m also confident that Horton isn’t what you’d consider emergent, however, he isn’t what some may consider an egotistical Calvinist.  Horton wrote in “Modern Reformation” some time back, “We were baptized into Christ, not into Calvin.  There is no such thing as a Reformed faith, but only a Christian faith to which our Reformed confessions bear witness [italics mine].”  Why can’t we all share this kind of approach when it comes to our own particular theological hunches and camps we identify most with?
 
Some verses we all know but tend to forget bear repeating, Paul writes:
 
I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.  For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers. What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.”  Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, so that no one may say that you were baptized in my name. (I did baptize also the household of Stephanas. Beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.) For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.  ~1 Corinthians 1:10-17
 
Makes me wonder about all of the labels we put on one another and the ones we assign to ourselves.  This portion of scripture and a host of others are the primary reason I no longer I identify myself as a Calvinist (even if I still agree with his teachings on several matters, I can say that a plethora of men and woman have had some good things to contribute to my understanding of scripture but that doesn’t mean I have to sign some membership card and become one of their disciples).  I know who I belong to.
   
I opened this post by stating I didn’t know much about the EMC.  What I do know is that a schism exists between “us guys” (aka the smart guys) and “those guys” (aka the knuckleheads).  And who “those guys” are always depends on which team you are on.  One side accuses the other of being sticks in the mud while the other side makes accusations of spiritual high treason.   Some time last year I posted Deyoung and Kluck’s much read clip (which Tim Challies recently shared again, “You might be emergent if…”) from their book “Why We’re Not Emergent: By Two Guys Who Should Be”.  Courtesy of the great and powerful wizard (imonk), I also have read Adam Omelianchuk’s takes on what being reformed might look like.   I found Omelianchuk’s piece entertaining and realized again that our differences when it comes to our personal preferences, matters of opinion, and once held convictions that have since dissipated only to morph into a battery of questions—can be quite comical.
 
Progress isn’t always what we think it is, it doesn’t have to entail uprooting a whole tree when it has a few dead branches, and true progress is diabolically opposed to change for changes’ sake.   
     
Thoughts?
 
More to come in Part 2.
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