Thursday, August 10, 2006

What is redeeming of the modern Church?

What is redeeming of the modern church?

RC of asked that question on the post “Emerging Church Asks Questions the Modern Church Ignores”

Good question.

If Christ is the center, then that is redeeming of any church or organization. One can have a traditional Sunday school and God will honor it if it is Christ centered. The idea though is not a matter of right versus wrong, but rather of values.

Many of the values are different between the modern church and the postmodern church as the needs of people in some ways have never changed, yet in some ways have changed greatly.

I think it is not a matter of what is redeeming, for just as the world changes to a child to a teenager, from a teenager to and adult, our perspectives and needs and values change with us. We take much with us from each stage, yet like a teenager who realizes he needs more freedom to make his own choices, he also knows he is not ready to move out and live on his own. In a sense that is where we are now. We are like that teen who is wanting to grow more in Christ, yet sees some things of value in the modern church, yet wonders of the things that we were taught if they are necessary or if something is being missed.

We read the bible from a different world view and see it in that context. Moderns did the same thing and as modernism grew many fought it tooth and nail… for example the Scopes monkey trials in the 1920’s was about the modern view asserting itself over the pre-modern view of scripture. Does that mean that the pre-moderns were right and the moderns were wrong? In fact I see that modernism was very wrong and the pre-moderns stood up to it… though they lost. So this is not the first time we have gone through the change in values… some good and some bad. Moderns of today are doing it to post moderns. (I am not saying that we are all agreeing with evolution, yet moderns tend to throw out the baby and the bath water as micro evolution does happen... I personally do not see it on a macro level.)

We of the emerging church are basically the church emerging out of the postmodern age, with its similar issues like Darwinism in schools. Yet, we are looking more at things like, how to feed the hungry and how to treat our neighbor as Christ would. We want to participate in the activities of Christ, rather than just go to church and listen to a speech. We are looking at it from the view of what is really worth fighting for and should Jesus be attached to issues as we have done in the past? These things are not even considered by the modern view.

I know I have veered a bit off the question… but there is much “redeeming” of the modern church… but it must be centered on Christ, not man. It must be centered on humility, not on “man made traditions”. It must be doing the purpose of which it was designed, to go to the world and share the Good News and not in an imperialistic way. It must be truly equipping the saints to grow, and not just giving all the answers.

The only real issue I have with the modern church is that it needs to recognize that time are changing and people think different now than they did even a few years ago.

My point is like this for example.

How has your life changed since 9-11?

In some ways it is life as normal, yet if you witnessed the planes crashing into the buildings (I saw the second plane hit live on TV) it had an incredible impact. The word terrorism is now something that is real and here and not over there in some far away land.

Again, what is redeeming of the modern church? Christ if He is the center of it. As far as specifics to me it would have to be the tools of science that if used properly can bring great insight to the scripture, yet again, Christ is needed to understand scripture itself, because these same tools can be used to undermine scripture also.

I know that is most probably not the answer you were wanting and truthfully there are many things good about the modern view of church, but many of the values are just askew.



RC said...

Hey, thanks for responding to this question, I think it's worth the time and yes society and people are changing drasticly.

Sometimes I think the modern church is responding to changes in technology, etc. in ways different then I would choose because they take the personality and relationships out of the equation while reaching the masses but never bringing them to further maturity in Christ.

While at the same time, I get frusterated by Emergents who are consistently critical of the modern church and don't give it props for its deployment of resources, the establishment of successful programs (especially for children and teens), etc.

--RC of

Qrock said...

You ought to check out I love it. Do you remember Christopher Scott from Precious Death/ Blackball? This is his site/radio show. Scott was a fake name. His real last name is Neiswonger. I'd get a fake name too.

iggy said...

Hey Quenton!

How ya doing?

Hey man your show ROCKS! We are still even playing it on iggyROCKS!

Though I think I need to update it as I am about a week behind.... (Note to self~ check the last date of Nation of Rockwell show that airs every M-W-F from 7 to 11 am MST on iggyROCKS! which can be found on or on the link that is on the right >>>>)

I will look at the site you pointed me to... hey, maybe they can straighten me out... LOL!

Stay with the Rock!


Mike Messerli said...


May I answer your initial question in a different way? You question is-

what is redeeming of the modern church?

Here is the different direction- there is nothing redeeming about the moderns or the emergent group. The only redeeming thing is the message and those changed by it. I have watched a lot of changes over nearly 50 years of faith, and none of them bother me much if we continue to teach and preach the message of Christ crucified, man's need for salvation, get the idea. There are some basics that should be the same in any church that honors God. I have watched the commune churches of the 70's succeed greatly when founded on the word and the fundamentals of the faith, and others trying the same thing fail miserably because they were going to "do it different than their parents did."

It's not different that bothers me, it's being different just to be different from the past. If Christ is honored, salvation is preached, the bible is taught and read as God's word, sin is still sin, and truth is still truth....then go for it. Try something new and different, but our foundation will always be Christ crucified. Any movement that departs from that will fail.

Iggy, may I repeat that last comment- any movement that departs from the foundations of faith will fail. My wife and I have been discussing all the emerging things we have heard and read in the last two years and I am concerned that some of the leaders of the emerging movement are walking away from the Christian faith. They are not many, but they are influencial, and their statements and actions will bring a quick end to a really exciting idea- the emerging idea of a real, sincere, living faith in Christ that does something in the world.

If that's what you're after- that living faith that touches the world, then as Howie Hendricks says, "may your tribe increase!" If you're willing to give up the basics of the faith for "something different" then it will fail.

Now, I know I'm old, but age, wisdom and years of watching the church gives me an advantage. For those emergents I know who are Christ followers I love what I see...keep going! For those who are emerging just to be out....the cliff is close.

iggy said...


I agree with you.

That is the thing that most seem to miss... this is not about "being different" though some seem caught up in that...

I see the real core of the emerging church is of those who are seeking something real... not contrived.

I sometimes referr to this as seeking THE REAL as in we have been chasing shadows, when we should be chasing the reality that is Christ Jesus.

I know I am of the conservitive side of emerging in many ways, and very much on the radical side on some others. In that I see the church, be it modern, premodern, postmodern needs a change of focus from us to Jesus... somewhere like the service industry we have turned things around.

It used to be "service", now it is "serve us" and that negates any customer service that could be... this has happened to the church.

I have noticed that the ones that seemed contrived, like Praxis at Willowcreek, are no more, while Dan Kimball is still going strong... why? One is seeking THE REAL, while the other was doing a program to reach an age segment...

Candles, curtains, tattoos, celtic crosses, may add atmosphere, but they do not mean one is a emerging community... there are many posers, and I see this as true in the modern churches out there also...

Can God work in these settings? I beleive God can work anywhere... from prisons to whore houses... I know an ex-prostitute named Katie, who came to Christ after her "john" broke down and confessed he was a Christian and what he did was wrong... It is amazing how God can shine His Grace down...

With man it is impossible to please God, but with God, all things are possible. We need to only trust.


Mike Messerli said...


Thanks for your thoughts. I have been reading a lot, and as one of "the old guys" it has been a difficult thing to get my arms around this whole thing. I tell my youth pastor that I saw this in the 70's, but he insists that it's different. After more reading I would agree. The thing that is different is that now, along with the young adults wanting a genuine relationship with God we also have a battle over absolute truth woven into the debate, so there are multiple layers to deal with, and that has raised a number of red flags from my contempories. I understand that, but I am all for a genuine relationship with Christ pursued passionately based on the truth of the word of God. For all seeking that, I'm with you. If you are willing to sacrifice the truth of the word to get to an experience you can wave at me in your rear view mirror, because we are going in different directions. For all seeking Christ through his word, bless you. I am praying for you. For those who are willing to compromise truth for an experience, I am praying for you, you will find at the end of your journey that you somehow got lost.

Iggy, thanks for your thoughts, and help. I enjoy reading your work.

I will be praying for you as well.

Mike Messerli said...


I guess I am getting old....I guess my thoughts are running together. Feel free to delete my last post, it seems to be a repeat of what I had written earlier. Thanks for you comments, and your help in understanding this who thing.