Wednesday, December 5, 2007

But what's emerging?

The last post I wrote about the trends within Islam got me thinking about the trends within Christendom. While I think there is a lot to praise God about within world Christianity (unbelievable growth by conversion throughout Africa, Asia, and Latin America, for example), there's a lot about Christianity in the West that is deeply worrisome. And I fear that we are, in our day also experiencing a "new Reformation" of sorts. Only this time we are not going "back to the Bible." Instead, many of us in the American church are following the philosophy of our day (postmodernism) right off a cliff. We are putting our theology "up for grabs" in books like Brian McLaren's A New Kind of Christian and then wondering why the children we raise don't connect what we say we believe to how life choices are made (see George Barna's Transforming Children Into Spiritual Champions for depressing evidence of this phenomenon). The name we are giving to this phenomenon is the Emerging Church.

But the question in my mind is this: Just what is emerging? From what I see it's more akin to the creature "emerging" from the guy's stomach in Alien (which first kills the host then grows to eat everyone but Sigourney Weaver) than it is like new flowers pushing up through the prior year's dead stems. To the extent the church goes in an "emergent" direction, to that extent it will diminish and die. For life isn't found in our culture, but in Christ and in deeper faithfulness to Him. Truth is found in the Bible, not in mystic spiritual experiences or "dialogue" with those from other faiths. If these convictions make me a theological obscurantist, so be it, but I fail to see the need for the Christian faith to "reform" in a way that takes us further away from, rather than closer to, the belief that Christ (as revealed in the Scriptures) gives us "everything we need for life and godliness" (2 Peter 1:3).

Okay, I feel better now. End of soapbox.

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