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Author Topic: Orthodoxy and "Emergent Christianity"  (Read 1784 times) Average Rating: 0
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Rosehip
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« on: May 18, 2009, 12:33:20 PM »

I don't know if there's been a discussion on OC.net about Emergent Christianity. My evangelical friends seeem all aglow about this movement, and yet I've heard next to no commentary on it from the Orthodox front.

I'd love to see a discussion about this movement.

From wikepedia entry on the Emerging Church,this is how they view the Church:


Quote
Not an institution but a fraternity.
Church as interpersonal community.
Church as a fellowship of persons - a fellowship of people with God and with one another in Christ.
Connects strongly with the mystical 'body of Christ' as a communion of the spiritual life of faith, hope and charity.
Resonates with Aquinas' notion of the Church as the principle of unity that dwells in Christ and in us, binding us together and in him.
All the external means of grace, (sacraments, scripture, laws etc) are secondary and subordinate; their role is simply to dispose people for an interior union with God effected by grace.[52]
Dulles sees the strength in this approach being acceptable to both Protestant and Catholic:
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ytterbiumanalyst
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« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2009, 12:37:21 PM »

We have, here:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,12771.0.html

Please feel free to add to this discussion.
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"It is remarkable that what we call the world...in what professes to be true...will allow in one man no blemishes, and in another no virtue."--Charles Dickens
Rosehip
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« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2009, 12:48:34 PM »

Thanks, MrY!  I'm afraid I didn't do my homework and do a proper search of the forum...I read through that thread and Quinault's last post really resonated with me!

Have any of you read Shane Claiborne's "Irrisistible Revolution"?

I'd be interested in knowing what others think about this topic, even if there has already been a thread about it...
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Alveus Lacuna
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« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2009, 02:39:51 PM »

I left a church associated with the Emergent Village.  My wife still goes there, and I go with her sometimes in my desire to be a good husband.

The church I was a part of (Jacob's Well - Kansas City) is really a pretty good church.  My only serious criticism is that they don't preach about holiness or repentance very much.  But in many ways it really is too wishy-washy on the theological side.  Nobody really adheres to any specific beliefs, just a general unity around Jesus.  They utilize the church calendar, and pattern their studies around it, but it's not particularly liturgical.  There are some candles throughout the church to set the mood, a nice indie-rock worship band, and a very intellectual pastor who puts a lot of thought into each sermon.

But it isn't clearly rooted in anything.  The ancient churches have their own churches to be rooted in, the Protestants have their Bibles to be rooted in, but I don't understand how the Emergent movement isn't going to simply go the way of the American denominational dinosaur.  All of these movements always splinter.  Whether or not it's the likes of the Reconstructionist movement of the early 19th century that gave us the Latter-day Saints, the Millerites, et cetera, or the charismatic movement of the early 20th century, these movements always seek to breakdown the walls and get back to the heart of Christianity.  And they are always initially successful in attracting people, and there is a loose semblance of unity, but eventually stronger figures in the movement "emerge" (HA!) and develop their own particular school of thinking, and then those walls get built right back up, usually to the tune of ten or so brand new official organized religions, or denominations.

So inevitable MORE groups are created in Christendom than they started out with.  It's a vicious cycle.

There are also brands of "Vintage" churches in the movement.  They incorporate the incense, candles, and all of the other vintage elements of Christianity without all of that confusing theology or harsh demands:

Quote
We desire to go back to the “vintage” values that Jesus spoke about, rather than being trapped by what has often become known as stagnant “organized” religion.

http://www.vintagechurch.org/about/history

It's good in some respects, and it's cheap in many others.

How I love the Orthodox Church!
« Last Edit: May 18, 2009, 02:42:17 PM by Alveus Lacuna » Logged
PoorFoolNicholas
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« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2009, 10:02:25 AM »

Having no firm theological framework whatsoever, is what even the Protestants have against the emergent church. What does it really accomplish? People want truth, not relativism.
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SolEX01
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« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2009, 02:50:57 PM »

Having no firm theological framework whatsoever, is what even the Protestants have against the emergent church. What does it really accomplish? People want truth, not relativism.

People want relativism and not <insert ethnicity>ism.
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Agabus
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« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2009, 12:49:21 AM »

I was into the emergent stuff for a while, and it was the haybale that broke the camel's back as far as driving me in the direction of Orthodoxy. (It helped me understand the need for interpreting the Bible within the context of the Church.) The emergent church I was a member of was a very good community and very pastoral, but what message you heard depended on which elder was preaching.

Rosehip — I've read both of Shane Claiborne's books (actually, you only really need to read the first one, the second one is basically a rehash that Zondervan released right before the election to make a quick buck), and he makes some solid points about helping the poor, nonviolence and the human need for community, but for someone who quotes the Church Fathers extensively, his theology can be a bit flaky.
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« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2009, 12:54:37 AM »

Thanks for your input, and experience, Agabus! The way you describe Claiborne's books is just about how I've imagined them being without actually reading them. Could we Orthodox learn anything from his good pionts, or do we have all that down pat?
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Agabus
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« Reply #8 on: June 07, 2009, 06:37:37 PM »

Thanks for your input, and experience, Agabus! The way you describe Claiborne's books is just about how I've imagined them being without actually reading them. Could we Orthodox learn anything from his good pionts, or do we have all that down pat?
Ok, the thing is, The Irresistible Revolution is a very good story of someone who takes incarnating their faith seriously, and it's inspiring in that regard. But it's also veeeeeeeeeeeeeeeery Anabaptist, and even though when Claiborne's on, he's on, I have to warn you — there's some very big bones hidden in that meat. (For example, he isn't above using material from J.D. Crossan and J.S. Spong...So when he's off, he's way off.)
« Last Edit: June 07, 2009, 06:39:38 PM by Agabus » Logged

Blessed Nazarius practiced the ascetic life. His clothes were tattered. He wore his shoes without removing them for six years.

THE OPINIONS HERE MAY NOT REFLECT THE ACTUAL OR PERCEIVED ORTHODOX CHURCH
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« Reply #9 on: June 07, 2009, 07:00:51 PM »

I haven't read the book myself, but can you explain what you mean about Claiborne being very Anabaptist? In what ways would this be a bad thing? Many people feel Anabaptism is very close to primative christianity, and therefore "better".
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Agabus
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« Reply #10 on: June 07, 2009, 07:21:41 PM »

I haven't read the book myself, but can you explain what you mean about Claiborne being very Anabaptist?
He at times view protest as discipleship, has a low sacramental theology (in one instance, he talks about taking a "communion" of pizza and cola at a protest) and has no visible ties to any ecclesiology. He also seems to interpret submission to authority as allowing yourself to get arrested after you break what you deem as unjust lawful orders.


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Blessed Nazarius practiced the ascetic life. His clothes were tattered. He wore his shoes without removing them for six years.

THE OPINIONS HERE MAY NOT REFLECT THE ACTUAL OR PERCEIVED ORTHODOX CHURCH
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« Reply #11 on: June 07, 2009, 07:39:33 PM »

I haven't read the book myself, but can you explain what you mean about Claiborne being very Anabaptist?
He at times view protest as discipleship, has a low sacramental theology (in one instance, he talks about taking a "communion" of pizza and cola at a protest) and has no visible ties to any ecclesiology. He also seems to interpret submission to authority as allowing yourself to get arrested after you break what you deem as unjust lawful orders.




The only thing I see as overly Anabaptist of that list is the lack of sacramentalism, although I'm sure most anabaptist would have more respect than to use pizza and cola for communion. Anabaptists generally have some form of clergy-deacons, ministers and bishops/elders, though. I think most of them would not view breaking the law in a favourable light, unless of course, it meant mandatory military service, or something which they felt was totally against Scripture.
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Agabus
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« Reply #12 on: June 07, 2009, 10:24:57 PM »

I think we've known — and read — different Anabaptists. I knew a Quaker who I almost perfectly described earlier when talking about Claiborne.

Rosehip, you may not have realized it, but I think you just pointed out to me how I have allowed one person to taint who I view a whole group of people.

For that, I repent.



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THE OPINIONS HERE MAY NOT REFLECT THE ACTUAL OR PERCEIVED ORTHODOX CHURCH
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« Reply #13 on: June 07, 2009, 10:33:39 PM »

One thing Claiborne, and many emergents, seems to long for is a connection to the ancient church. I'm not kidding when I say these guys eat up the early church fathers, though they usually have an agenda when doing so (making a case for non-violence, etc.).

I actually think that the emergent church is a fad that is fading fast, but because of their exposure to the fathers and the desire to connect to the roots of Christianity, they may actually be a slightly easier group for an Orthodox apologist to engage. That's not to say that they will be easy to engage, just easier. My experience is that most emergents are people who were somehow abused by evangelicism, and their knee-jerk reaction is to be both politically and theologically liberal. Postmoderns, despite their rhetoric, really do want truth, and Orthodoxy just might grab their attention because it is, in fact, ancient (and the Church).

Just my $0.02 as someone who has been there, done that.

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Blessed Nazarius practiced the ascetic life. His clothes were tattered. He wore his shoes without removing them for six years.

THE OPINIONS HERE MAY NOT REFLECT THE ACTUAL OR PERCEIVED ORTHODOX CHURCH
Rosehip
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« Reply #14 on: June 07, 2009, 10:37:38 PM »

I think we've known — and read — different Anabaptists. I knew a Quaker who I almost perfectly described earlier when talking about Claiborne.

Rosehip, you may not have realized it, but I think you just pointed out to me how I have allowed one person to taint who I view a whole group of people.

For that, I repent.





Something many people don't realize is that Quakers are actually not Anabaptists.
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« Reply #15 on: July 09, 2010, 04:12:43 PM »

My experience is that most emergents are people who were somehow abused by evangelicism, and their knee-jerk reaction is to be both politically and theologically liberal.

Very interesting point! I've seen this first hand.
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