Like I said in the last post. There were some things in the Young Restless and Reformed book that made you stop and think. This quote from Tony Jones Emergent leader at Solomon’s Porch in Minneapolis is one of them.
“I know conservatism works in the face of globalization. I don’t know if postmodernism works, but I really hope it does. All postmodernism means is living on the shifting sand, as opposed to looking for some foundation. But some of us would say, ‘The people who say they stand on the sure foundation – it’s not as sure as they think it is. We all live on the slippery slope.” Pg. 142 of Young Restless and Reformed
Let me say it takes guts and a lot of stupidity to quote the bible and admit you stand on the side the Bible says is the wrong place. I have never in my life heard some reference the Parable of the Wise man who built his House upon the Rock and directly state that the Shifting Sand is really the place to stand. My jaw literally hit the floor. But, let us try to move past the brazen rejection of a parable of Jesus if we can. Let us pray that he did that for shock value. I do think the substance of what he says is also important.
This really is the fundamental point of being Emergent. It is a complete and total acceptance of Post Modernism. All the other details are up for debate. The Emergent Church likes to begin by rejecting things, such as traditional worship, traditional readings of Scripture, traditional values and voting, etc. However, the one thing they accept up front is Post Modernism. Take an article from Precipice Magazine. The author rejects the claim that the Bible is inerrant and infallible and denies that the Bible speaks of itself in this manner. Of course a Post Modernist who believes all life is based on “shifting sand” would need to deny such bedrock principles, but notice how he aims his guns in this article. He refers to the those who accept infallibility as “fundamentalists/foundationalists”. From that point on he only uses the term Foundationalists. For those of you not familiar foundationalism is a philosophic theory of knowledge. It has become a favorite kick toy these days. What Emergent men want to attack is not so much theology as it is knowledge itself. They hate the idea of having properly basic beliefs and building other beliefs on top of those beliefs. Such a practice reeks of surety and that is a no-no in Post Modernism. You can see it color everything they do (as it should if you attack knowledge). Just look at the article discussing the debate hosted by Rick Warren. What really turned the reviewer off was certainty.
Which brings me back to the quote. I know the Emergent church believes they are emerging from the collapsed Christian mindset, but it is much more likely that they are simply wandering off the biblical reservation. The Bible speaks of certainty all the time. In fact, it demands it. I do not need to quote again the wisdom of building on the rock. James 1:6-8 talks of not wavering and how the double-minded are unstable in all their ways. Psalm 119:113 the psalmist hates the double-minded, and more importantly double-mindedneses is contrasted with law. His word does not fade but rather endures forever (I Peter 1:25). Ephesians 4:11-13 even speaks of not being tossed about by every wind of doctrine. Being tossed about is a bad thing. These are just the obvious ones. We could look at other examples such as Matthew 16 where Jesus asks the disciples who the world thinks he is, and they give a great post modern answer since it includes several possibilities. Yet, that is rejected and then Jesus asks who they think he is and Peter gives the correct answer, a certain answer. Or one could look at Jesus’s discussion with Pilate in John where Pilate says “What is truth?” (very post modern) and then allows the murder of an innocent man. The idea that the world is shifting sand is dangerous and deadly. It is clearly against the Bible.
All of this leads me to one last quote from the book by Emergent leader Doug Pagitt. He states:
“I think much of our difference comes from the fact that in many ways we are telling different stories of Christianity.” Quoted from Listening to the Beliefs of Emerging Churches: Five Perspectives on same page as above in Young Restless and Reformed.
We are indeed giving fundamentally different stories. That cannot be stressed enough.