Emergent Church Movement & the Gospel (Continued)

Tuesday, June 07, 2005


Recently, I came across the Baptist press news article entitled, "Leaders Call 'Emerging Church Movement' a Threat to the Gospel." Here's the quote that caught my eye.

"Those of us in the west now ... realize that there were a lot of bad
consequences of European and American people trying to tell everybody else how things are," [Brian McLlaren] said. "We feel that there's got to be a lot more humility and a lot more gentleness and that the Gospel is made credible not by how we argue and make truth claims. But it's made credible by the love and the good deeds that flow from our lives and our community."

This paragraph shows the difference that one or two words can make, and sometimes they are words that can make or break one's theology. If the words 'only' and 'also' were to be inserted in the right places, I would agree with their analysis, assessment, and goals. Here's howI would restate it so that I could agree with it:

"We feel that there's got to be a lot more humility and a lot more gentleness
and that the Gospel is made credible not only by how we argue and make truth claims. But it's also made credible by the love and the good deeds that flow from our lives and our community."

Do you see the difference between the two statements? McLaren's statement becomes an undoing of absolute revealed, factual, logical, intellectual, truth about the gospel as presented in Scripture. He would probably never say he meant such, but that's unfortunately what comes across.

He statedly prefers life over lip. But the gospel of Jesus is advanced through both. And it seems that a revisitation of the historical purposes and exegesis of 1 John would serve the Emergent Church well. For nowhere else in the NT is life and lip about the gospel most clearly expressed. John makes it clear in his epistle there that true fellowship with God and with one another depends just as much on what you believe as it does how you live, and vice versa.

To read the first post in this series, Click here.

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