What the Emergent Church Believes About the Gospel: Part Five - Recommend Resources

Friday, December 23, 2005


It's been a while since the last post in this series. This one's been sitting in the que forever it seems. Nevertheless, in terms of coming to grips with what the ECM believes about the gospel, it is necessary to learn their view from their own writings, and not from what other people say about their writings. Along this vein, several articles are given here which are helpful for gaining a broad-brushed picture of how the ECM views the gospel.
  • "What was Jesus' Gospel?" by Andrew Perriman (head of Open Source Theology). This is a concise version of a chapter that will appear in his upcoming book The Coming of the Kingdom of God to be published later this year or early next. An overview of the book and its arguments can be found here. Andrew also has many articles which he has posted to the "Salvation and the Gospel" section of Open Source Theology. We've dialogued before about our differences, but if there is one, in my opinion, who seems to speak theologically for the ECM and yet for some strange reason goes so unnoticed, it is Andrew. (Read two of my previous discussions with him here, and here.)
  • Friar Matthew Mirable has written an article recently for The Ooze entitled "Emergence and the Divine Order: What Lies at the Heart of Emergence". He has marvelously identified that the EMC cannot exist with any real and lasting meaning in the world unless they come to grips with the necessity of complexity and definition. In short, the ECM can't affect much change if at some point it does not start defining itself and what it believes and holds dear. However, note the following statement Mirable makes in which he feels strangely justified in bifurcating complexity from propositions.

"Modernity therefore, has left us looking for a church that is complex rather than shallow, rich and deep, rather than flat and one dimensional. I want a church that expresses its theology with robust intelligence, not shallow propositions or open-to-interpretation half-truths. "

His article speaks in thoughtful forms which would seem to lead him to conclude that the beauty and truth of the gospel itself is very complex, especially as it has become defined and defended in what I would call orthodoxy. But this complexity is based on order, as he rightly recognizes. And this order is based on propositions, things which, according to the American Heritage Dictionary are "statements containing only logical constants and having a fixed truth-value." Wouldn't you say the gospel and its doctrines are described by this? If so, knowing what we know about the gospel and its doctrines, how can its propositions be shallow when they are by nature eternally complex?

  • The Jesus Creed by Scot McKnight is recommended by Andrew Jones, an EMC leader and thinker. On his blog he writes: "The Jesus Creed is an excellent book by Scot McKnight....this is a good book - nay - a GREAT book - Scot examines how Jesus saw spiritual formation and the Greatest Commandment - to love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul, and mind and strength, and to love your neighbour as yourself. This is the backbone of the book and Scot does a great job in weaving the gospel narratives in and out of this theme. Definitely a book to buy and get re-centered to the core of what it mean to follow Jesus. We need more books like this. " Other reviews tempt me to get the book as it seems to be a great intro to understanding the gospel from the ECM's perspective.

Other sources will follow as I update this post so check back from time to time.

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