Monday, May 01, 2006

Thoughts on Postmodern/Emergent/emerging

Postmodern and Truth
This is a feeble attempt to explain what it means to me to be emerging.

To me postmodernism is the age we live in. It follows like this in a timeline,

{ Premodern, modern, existentialism, postmodern, and post postmodern}

We were once in the premodern age… as the modern age approached many found that the ideals did not fit with their Christian view. So, in that we have many who in a very basic say may be called the fundamentalist of today. They rejected the modern view and tried to stay in the premodern age. The extreme example would be the Amish.

The modern age brought with it many good things, yet it also brought with it things like Darwinism and the view Science versus Religion. In all the modern glory we find that technology was embraced by many. Mostly the Charismatic’s who used the radio and later Television to communicate the gospel. You guessed it. The premiers saw these people as heretics.

That brings us to now, the postmodern age. Many miss a very basic understanding that they are in affect “postmodern” by default as they live in this time and age. That does not mean all think as the postmodern writers and thinkers. On the contrary, many of us do not think that way; yet see value in some aspects of the view that can free us from the modern thinking that has attached itself to our Faith as Christians. In a way what has happened is we have let science become the rule to decipher the Bible and have lost sight that it is by revelation we can understand.

So, with that many of us who once referred to ourselves and postmodern Christians, then found that as not fully accurate, so changed to emerging Christians, and now even becoming organized as a “movement” called Emergent.

First off I am not a postmodern; I am a child of the Living God, bought and paid for by Jesus who is the Messiah. I cannot hold to all the values of a true postmodern and I believe that most who still cling to that term as a way of identifying themselves, if they actually read the writings of many of the postmodern authors would find they do not agree. I am only a man of faith living in an age where the Judeo/Christian world view has slowly become more and more obsolete. This is very much more apparent in Europe and is also becoming more apparent in our Universities here in the States.

I claim only to be a Man of Faith who is living out my Salvation in this postmodern world.

In that, though many are going to hell as they do follow the postmodern mindset, just as those who where of the modern mindset. Lacking the Mind of Christ these go out blindly seeking something real… that something to me is a Person…Who I refer to as THE REAL. For as Hebrews teaches,
Hebrews 10: 1. The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming--not the realities themselves.

Also in Col 2: 16. Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. 17. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.

When I began my journey I knew many would not understand… as I had a similar experience when I found Grace. I lost friends and my position at the Church I served. Yet, one thing I decided was that there was something missing in my faith as I seemed to know all the answers, I could quote scripture and dispense it like a pill, yet found two things.

  1. I had stopped growing

  2. I was not reaching those I knew around me with the Gospel

One of the critisisms of the emerging church is that is has no regard for truth. On the contrary I have found that it has a higher standard. I too have found a higher appreciation of Truth. In fact I have found a higher appreciation of the Bible... and realized that I even seem to take things more literal than I used to...

I point out that those who claim I do not by simply stating "Is it wrong for Catholics to call their priests, father?" it is most always answered with a yes... I then point out that they call themselves teacher, and to interpret scripture the way they did with that passage makes them as "guilty" as their claim of Catholics. The point is instead of filtering through all the “absolute, relative, relational" verbiage I have found Truth is a person. I have found that it is better to not know "absolute" but know Who is the Absolute!

I have found this all out in my walk as I have found the freedom to deconstruct my faith I have taken apart the ideas and values of Modernism to reveal that much of my thinking was tainted by the modern view.

A good friend of mine said once that, “It is funny that so many are now defending modernism and are so against postmodern/emergent/emerging as back in the day, modernism was the enemy." I have to agree. I see so many fighting against what they mostly do not understand, and defending what was once thought of as evil.

I seek purity, simplicity and Truth.

Truth is a hot topic, and so many are missing the main point. In the emergent/emerging Truth is a person. It is not an abstract, absolute, of relative.
In a sense from a worldly view it is all of these, yet in the Christian view there is only One Truth and He is Christ. When we are outside of Christ or “in the flesh” as some say we are depending on our own interpretation of truth and being self centered creatures will make things “absolute”. The issue though is if we are fallen and have corrupted minds and hearts, pure truth now filtered through our minds is no longer pure, but as corrupt as our hearts and minds. So, from the perspective of human reaching to God, there is no absolute truth… From the eternal perspective of God, Who is Truth Absolute, were can through revelation receive truth and in that we have the mind of Christ. This is a little tricky to understand, yet if one can understand the Biblical teachings of how we are truly fallen, then one can get a better understanding of how high we do hold Truth.

Another thing that is often misunderstood is the thought that ALL emergents do not believe in Sola Scriptura.

Now, in the strict definition many do. Many of course do not… yet that is found in most modern churches so is a bit unfair to hold over just emerging ones. Personally I have yet to find any of the emerging leaders that do not hold the Bible in high regard.

Denominations outside of the emerging church differ as much as many hold KJV only as the only anointed Bible, which to me is intellectual suicide. Many hold it as inerrant as it is in English, some hold it as inerrant as far as the truth contained. Some as I do hold it as inerrant in the original written texts… yet the problem is we do not have those… or if we do God has not shone down some special light to say, “Hey, this one is an original Pauline signature parchment!” In that I have to go on faith that the originals were without error. I do see that any error, which is usually in translation is often not having any affect on the over all teaching of salvation and the Kingdom as is taught.

So to say, “I am sola scriptura.” Really does not say anything… in a sense as this is often lost in the definition of whatever denomination one is part of. In a way it is a bit archaic, and if you asked most Christians about it you would get a very blank stare as they would have no idea what you are asking. Again, I am talking about modern churches. So to me, to criticize the emerging church about not being sola scriptura, I would say, look at your own denomination and pull the log out of your own eye before looking for the splinter in ours.

I will say this, I do not argue over whether Jonah was literally swallowed by a literal fish when I am talking to someone. I do not debate that as I see the story is more important to teach from to help someone understand and grow in or come to Christ. I trust that the Holy Spirit will reveal many of these sorts of things. To me equipping someone with what they need to grow in Christ is more important than if I can get them to believe in a big fish. BTW, I do take it as a literal story.

What I have found.

I have found a people who genuinely love Jesus. They seek to do good in their community. They seek to live their lives in submission to the Life of Christ. We are able to have discussions and friendly debates that allow us to explore openly our views, and test them. I think this is healthy and Biblical. They handle themselves with Grace and others with kindness.

I have found on the other side, that those who attack often lack very basic understanding. They take everything personally. They desire not to communicate but to argue. The Bible speaks of these men;
2 Tim 2: 23. Don't have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. 24. And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 25. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26. and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will. NIV

These very people are the ones I speak out against. The ones I find unloving in the Kingdom, for they seek to only promote their own kingdom, often without realizing it. I see these as the Pharisees of today. Though they themselves do not keep the very standard they profess, they hold others to it as if holding their feet to fire. Jesus summed it up by saying, “Mat 23: 11. The greatest among you will be your servant.
12. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
13. "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men's faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.
15. "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are."

How do I respond to my critic? I will say I have much to learn. In that as I have said before, I see Brian McLaren as a great role model in how to handle critics.

Now, about Brian McLaren. I see him as one who has opened my eyes to see outside the box. In many ways while doing that, I only confirmed what I believed more. I am not Brian, so I do not and will not speak for him. What I have read, which may surprise many not much, I found to be not much different from many modern books. A New Kind of Christian, to me was challenging, and really a break through as a genre… fact/fiction. Really this is what Jesus did with parables. I do not agree, with Him on all points. Often I think he puts something out there to ponder over. Yet, unlike the modern view, we have a choice to accept or reject what we read. I do that with many of the writers of emerging/Emergent. I think most critics miss that we are individuals yet have found unity.

And unity is something the Modern Church will never have.



Anonymous said...

It's frustrating when an "ordained" minister like yourself uses Scripture out of context to support your points. But I guess that is what you have to do when your teaching is based on false pretenses.

My prayer for you is that your desire would not be to defend your emergent church movement, but rather to spend your time seeking to learn more about God's Word (and by God's Word I mean the Bible). In doing so, I believe that you will soon realize that the "Truth" you are so into is not really truth because you are twisting it to mean what you want it to mean.

Unknown said...

Most bizare as i guess you do not think Jesus is the absolute in Truth or is Truth Himself? You do not see Jesus as the True Reality?

I think actually you may be reading into this what you want... and really missing what I am saying, and in stead of disussing attack.

You seem to hide behind a name, but still remain annonymous... owe well

I do know who you are... it is very obvious...


Unknown said...

BTW Phil,

I did ask you to not post on my blog anymore of your hate...

I sill forgive you and am praying for you to see hate is not a Christian virtue.


Anonymous said...

"mar" stands for marcie... not phil.

Anyways, you missed my point. I'll try again when sometime when I'm prepared to be frustrated.


Unknown said...

My sincerest apologies then mar. you sounded just like Phil Perkins… do you attend YBC?

Your "point" seems off based and a little out of touch with what I wrote. As well as your sarcasm. I do know that the Bible is God’s Word. Yet even in that you are mistaken, as it is God’s Written Word and Jesus according to 1st John 1:1 is the Logos, or Word… Jesus is the Word made Flesh.

Your comment was:

"My prayer for you is that your desire would not be to defend your emergent church movement, but rather to spend your time seeking to learn more about God's Word (and by God's Word I mean the Bible). In doing so, I believe that you will soon realize that the "Truth" you are so into is not really truth because you are twisting it to mean what you want it to mean."

In what way have I twisted truth? Can I twist Jesus for He is the Truth... as scripture teaches "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life." Again, do you not think Jesus is the Truth?

You are way off based on your assumptions on my personal walk and faith…. In fact your comment garnered a laugh from those who know me as to your being so far off base.

It is not wise to judge before you have proper knowledge on the topic you are discussing. It is unscriptural to make a judgment without taking time to know the person. I am willing to discuss anything with you, but please do as the Bible you say you hold so high teaches and use Grace. Be assured, as so far I seem to hold the Bible in higher regard than you do and Jesus higher as in regards to Truth.

Do not believe all others say about me, nor fall into the same issue of judging me without knowing me...

Prov 18:2. A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions.


Unknown said...

Sorry, the scripture is not 1st John 1:1 but John 1:1... yet I beleive you already knew that... I mistyped.


Unknown said...

I want to apologize again, as i did not mean to drag Phil Perkins into this conversaion. I regret I made a bad call in thinking mar was Mr.Perkins. I also apologize that I asked if you were a student of YBC as i see mar may be from another state in location altogether.

I did not mean any comment in a mean spirit, but rather in jest, yet I think many may not catch I have a sense of humor and it gets the best of me at times.


Anonymous said...

All walls must come down.
Lay down your sword, for the war is over. You can't prove God, he proves himself. He doesn't need any help from man. Man needs him. Man needs to be still and know that God is God. And yes it says He is the truth. It also states he is the word. THERE IS ONLY ONE ACCUSER - When U accuse, you are manifesting the accuser. Stop using the word to destroy. God is UNCONDITIONAL LOVE. Where is the Love? Christ came to save, and redeem. Not to destroy. Being a "quote unquote" Christian means following after the likeness of Christ. Not after traditions and doctrines of men. We will know them by their fruits. So far it doesn't look too good. But it can change by laying down the sword and let God use what he chooses. Many are being awakened through emergency. If one is touched, it is worth it all. Be still!

Unknown said...

dear Annonymous,
I am not sure if the comment was to me to what...

This is what I have been preaching from the begining of my blog....

That walls come down.... being i "christian" in not just following the "likeness of Christ" but rather letting the indwelling Christ live His Live in and Through you... meaning it is He and only He that is doing His works and will and good purpose in and through us.

The following is a way of identitfying ones loyalty and purpose... but still it falls short of the true Life that Christ desires for us... His Life Eternal.

I do nto preach doctrine to save anyone... and ifi you read more than this post you will see that.

So I can only assume we are in agreement... and that the comment was not to me...

And please do nto hide behind anonymous... be bold and stand with your words... there is no shame in Christ nor Him being the Truth...


Anonymous said...

To answer that question, this comment was not at all about you. And yes, I agree with you about the following of Christ. I meant to say let him do the work and just be still. I'm sorry but my identity cannot be revealed for I am a public figure. Keep doing what you do. God needs more people like you

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I meant it's awesome that God moves through you the way he does. He doesn't need anyone but we need him and that means we need each other to manifest him.

Unknown said...

Dear Anonymous,

I am honored then by your willingness to comment, and I do understand your reason to remain anonymous.

I will confess I am a little gun shy from certain people accusing me of fraud and other things...

I appreciate your response and thank you very much for clarifying your thoughts. It seems I get people who read my thought on this blog and miss what I am saying… then say I am saying the opposite! With these accusations I often wonder if one only sees “postmodern”, “Emergent “,“emerging” and never read what I have written.

I first and foremost call myself a “child of God”, that is my identity! I do not accept the vain philosophies of this world… as the passage in

Acts 17: 18. A group of Epicurean and Stoic philosophers began to dispute with him. Some of them asked, "What is this babbler trying to say?" Others remarked, "He seems to be advocating foreign gods." They said this because Paul was preaching the good news about Jesus and the resurrection.
19. Then they took him and brought him to a meeting of the Areopagus, where they said to him, "May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting?
20. You are bringing some strange ideas to our ears, and we want to know what they mean."
21. (All the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there spent their time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas.)
22. Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: "Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious.
23. For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you.
24. "The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands.
25. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else.
26. From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.
27. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.
28. `For in him we live and move and have our being.' As some of your own poets have said, `We are his offspring.'
29. "Therefore since we are God's offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone--an image made by man's design and skill.
30. In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.
31. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead."
32. When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some of them sneered, but others said, "We want to hear you again on this subject."
33. At that, Paul left the Council.
34. A few men became followers of Paul and believed. Among them was Dionysius, a member of the Areopagus, also a woman named Damaris, and a number of others.

Paul went into the heart of the city of Philosphies and told them of the Person of Jesus and the Resurrection. The people, who were the panicle of philosophers gathered at Athens just to “think” and “discuss” all the new ideas that were coming out! Paul cuts across all that vanity and tells them of JESUS! It is of interest to me that some wanted to hear it over and over yet did not grasp what Paul was saying…. Yet some did!

Why? They became followers of Paul… and believed in Christ. They latched to the one person in Athens who knew Truth… or rather the Person of Jesus… Who is Truth.

I believe they could only believe as God had opened their hearts to receive. Some will listen and not understand, some will listen and sneer out of pride, and some will accept the Truth of the Gospel…. And receive that Truth into their heart and let Him be their very Life…

Anonymous be blessed!


Unknown said...


BTW I am not that hung up on words... I too call myself a follower of Christ, but with full acknowledgment it falls short the true reflection of "which is Christ in you, the hope of glory."

Again, be blessed!