Sunday, December 31, 2006

Comments on Examining the Emergent Church

Ryan at Examining the Emergent Church has been doing a great job on critiquing the emerging church. He and I have talked a bit. I know some of this has been gone over quite a bit, yet I hope to share with the reader Examining the Emergent Church. In part of the comments back and forth Ryan asked some questions.

Ryan asked,

"What do you mean by this? What is this “Higher view of Truth” that you speak of
(capital H, capital T)? …and why are you being viciously attacked over it? Your
comments almost sound Gnostic in a way, so I need you to clarify for me if you

I see truth in three ways...

1. TRUTH: It is the Person of Jesus Christ (I am the Way, the Truth, the Life) I see that as all things were created through Jesus, He is Life itself... in the same way He is Literally Truth itself. I am not legalistic on this so I do not always cap all the letters. John 14:6

2. Is revealed Truth: This is in no way Gnosticism... God is a Mystery. Yet, He is ever revealing Himself to us... cultivating in the Revelation of Jesus as God incarnate. Gnosticism denies Jesus came in the flesh. Neo Gnosticism is based more on a perversion of Christian/Dualism more akin to Platonism than Christianity... meaning they view the flesh as evil and spirit good... that is the core of Gnosticism... yet if you read in John 1 concerning Jesus as the Logos (which is taught by some to be rationalism and denies empiricism in how we gain knowledge of God. They are confused as to what the Bible teaches as the “image of God is” and reduce it to rationalsim... I reject that as man was made a living being out of the dust of the earth and God breathe His breath into man... so man is not just his mind...( this is more complex and would take a much longer post to explain and this comment is too long already! LOL!) This is what some call propositional truth and teach that is it the only way God teaches us... I agree that it is by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, yet even then I have been attacked by some as "not believing in Absolute truth" though I have written that Jesus is "TRUTH Absolute" mostly I do not see that truth of any kind that is "truly truth" needs a description... we are to let our yes be yes and our no be no... so if it is truth... it needs not qualifier to tell us how true truth really is.... Thus they deny their own argument by negating truth with a qualifier as it implies that some truth is not "true". Personally I call that a "lie" or error... LOL!

Yet, in this fallen world there is a different truth.

3. truth: This truth is relative to the available knowledge one may have... it was "true" once the world was flat... yet it was not "true". This is the tricky part as we do not without the Holy Spirit know if the truth of this world is true or not as to our limited view of all things.

I see mainly that TRUTH is a Person (Jesus) Who reveals to us Truth, in that we learn it by the Bible, experience, intuitively, deductively, instructively (ok now I am making things up, but you get my point I hope God can use whatever to teach us something and this is not discluding the main source which is the Bible). God can use art, music, the face of a child or loved one, our enemies, our failings all to teach us and guide us... though we need to have Jesus to open our eyes like He did the two disciples on the road to Emmaus or as Jesus stated, " You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life." (John 5: 39-40)

We need to have a relationship with Jesus to even begin to know truth on any level...

So to me the Higher view of Truth is that Jesus is THE TRUTH... that TRUTH is a Person.

Why am I attack over this? Simply because I have a link to Brian McLaren on my blog...

You see when someone attacks, they are not "in Christ" they are in the flesh and fulfilling the desires of the flesh... The flesh itself is not evil... but the desires, lust, hate, and so on that drives someone, without the Holy Spirit ( or with if they are in Spiritual bondage or under bad teaching) will try to attack someone and discredit them in the attempt to gain something, with power in the form of control. That is what Jesus came and flipped over... He overturned the power structure of this world... if someone slaps you face, turn the other cheek... this was not just some weak "turn the other cheek as I am a pacifist" thing... but as one was struck, by a Roman soldier, it would be most likely a back handed slap... then to turn the other cheek would then say, “Yes you hit me, but here I am, your equal, so now what will you do?" Then the choice is mercy or violence from the Roman soldier. If he hits you now it is as an equal and it will be with a fist... if he does not he has given mercy. The point is Jesus flipped the power structure over and took back the power then gave it to us. (This works out in higher theology I am just pointing to the practicality of it in the days of Jesus).

The attacks are much like you have pointed out on this post… it is like out of all I wrote just now, someone will just take a small part of a sentence and then call me a heretic. For example they will take this; “mostly I do not see that truth of any kind” and construct a whole post/blog against me that I am against truth altogether… yet I think that you can see that I am not and that this is more complex than what they are saying.

I hope that sheds some light on what I have said…


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Steve said...

I read that the term absolute truth applies to truth that is true for all people for all time. In this way of saying things, an absolute truth would be, “rape is wrong” and “two plus two is four”.

And there is personal truth, which may or may not be absolute. A personal truth would be “I work harder in the morning” or “I learn better from reading than from listening” or “I am a spontaneous spender”. These are true statements for the person saying them, but they are not true for all people.

And there are truths that dependent on time. When we say “The mall was crowded tonight” we are saying something that is true for everyone at the mall. It is more than a personal truth, but a bit less than a absolute truth.

I think it is wise to open-up the term to ideas like these. It allows for ways of explaining different things that are true.

Jesus said that he is the good shepherd. That is an absolute truth. He also said “I am thirsty” which is a personal truth, but not a absolute truth. And he said to Peter, “This very night before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times”. That is a truth dependent on time.

These types of truth can be found throughout the books in the Bible.

I recently heard Tony Jones try his best to explain that the word truth doesn’t need a qualifier before it. He then had to qualify nearly each one of his truth (propositional) statements about truth. The debate over truth shouldn’t succumb to rejecting a complex usage of the word. When it does the debate fights over words and not what it really needs to debate.

iggy said...

I agree Steve.

Yet the bottom line is that Truth is true... and really needs no qualifiers. (I am speaking of course of Jesus Being TRUTH).

I do understand for the sake of clarity as we are in a fallen world and truth in all forms is under attack ( I do agree with that) so I succumb to the point that I use qualifiers. (Ironies of Ironies!).

I don't see this as double speak; if one understands again that the Post-modern mind does not like absolutes... so I defer to Jesus being TRUTH as Post-moderns value relationships.

From the relationship aspect then we can move into what Truth is in all of its forms...

On the contrary to my critics I do not deny truth... but recognize that it has many forms that are relative to the knowledge, source and so on. (Just using the word relative those word police will be all over me! LOL!)

Again, propositional truth is not what saves us... Jesus did that... but the media that we converse in ideas is through propositions.

I know I wrote a piece about "Propositional truth is not biblical truth" which was an unfortunate title... though I still think the ideas in the post are valid. (Though I may have expanded on it more in other posts that followed).

I used the example of "the street light is red amber and green" to which the colored blind man said, "no they are all brown."

Who really is right?

In that sense the truth is relative to the person’s perspective... but that does not mean that Jesus being TRUTH Absolute is that way.

I modified it to say it that way to show that since we have to qualify as we are not all on the same page... that it will bring others into the idea of a relationship with Jesus. BTW in some forms of the higher numbers 2 + 2 = 5

2.5 + 2.5 = 5 so again, some absolutes may not be so, absolute! LOL!