Heresy! And other fun notions...

February 2008 · 3 minute read

My pastor had a fairly interesting sermon this Sunday on the emergent church. And since labeling is a self-evident good he broke it down into three “good” forms: reformed (which he identifies with), evangelical, and home churches. Liberal emergers (emergents? emergen-testants?) provide the much needed foil to deride.

He gives us two binary choices (a binary binary choice!) to help us understand the emergent movement. We have emergent vs. traditional buildings and emergent vs. traditional theology. Here is a friendly table with appropriate values judgments (as filled in by my pastor).

 Old BuildingsNew Buildings
Old Theology
New Theology
Boring Heretic!

Churches can be emergent (trendy, culturally hip, relevant you might even say) with services, worship, community and so on. Churches like this will have loud music, dark sanctuaries meeting places, prayer circles and other such nonsense. Traditional churches are of course less interesting (I’m sure you are familiar with their ilk).

Any form of a new emergent theology is of course heresy and needs no further discussion.

In the process of dismissing emergent theology, my pastor mentioned Brian McLaren and his book A New Kind of Christian. To which my friend sitting next to me piped in: “Its heresy on a stick!”.

Because of such high praise from my friend and since my pastor recommended we never read the book, I had it downloaded to my Kindle before he had moved on to his next point. So much for respecting authority ;)

I’m not entirely sure what I think of McLaren (haven’t finished his book yet). Suffice it to say that what I have read is fascinating and refreshing (does that make me a heretic too?). I will leave you with a quote from A New Kind of Christian that sums up a lot of what has been banging around in my head for a while.

And I guess my Protestant friends would be livid right about now, saying things like “We’re not modern–we’re biblical! We believe in ‘sola Scriptura’! We follow the New testament!” But couldn’t they agree that the way they read the Bible, the way they feel the need to put a sola in from of Scriptura, the way they follow the New Testament may possibly themselves be modern ways?

(So, for all you linux/christian nerds out there, ever noticed that Gentoo is totally an emergent church? Besides the obvious (/me pushes glasses up noise) use of emerge as a package manager and religious fanaticism of its adherents, it’s all about tweaking the system’s front end to make the individual think their happy but leaves the core virtually unchanged (it’s still fracking linux!).

Anyhow, if you were actually able to follow that, you have my condolences.)