Skip to comments.Growing: Movement is new form of evangelism
Posted on 12/07/2004 5:12:03 AM PST by missyme
As we enter the 21st century, a vital new expression of Christianity is growing in the United States and worldwide. This movement even has a name. It is called "the Emergent Church."
This movement expresses what I call "progressive evangelicalism," because it emphasizes traditional evangelical beliefs - affirming the doctrines of the Apostle's Creed, a high view of Scripture and the importance of a personal transforming relationship with a resurrected Christ - yet rejects the structures and styles of institutionalized Christianity. The Emergent Church
The Emergent Church turns away from spending money on buildings. Instead, most congregations meet as "house churches" or gather in makeshift storefronts and warehouses.
Emergent churches espouse a decentralized grassroots form of Christianity that rejects the hierarchal systems of denominational churches. Each emergent congregation makes its own decisions by consensus.
Leadership is fluid, with all members sharing authority and participating in the mission of the church. Task forces are assembled to undertake such specific programs as feeding the homeless, establishing a partnership with a Third World church, developing an after-school tutoring program for disadvantaged children or organizing people in a poor neighborhood to solve pressing social problems.
The missionary programs of such congregations are committed to direct involvement with those they decide to serve. These churches want little to do with bureaucratic organizations with professional administrators. Members of these congregations want to be involved personally with those in need. They want to know the names and faces of the people they serve.
Emergent congregations must not be confused with those nondenominational mega-churches that seem to be popping up increasingly in communities across the nation. In fact, the two are markedly different.
Emergent churches often express a disdain for the "contemporary-worship music" heard in many mega-churches.
The worship in emergent churches often includes classical music, and such congregations often follow a more formal liturgical style that may even incorporate such ancient forms of praying as that of monastic orders.
The people who join emergent congregations are often folks who have tired of what goes on in churches that have "contemporary services."
A postmodern mindset
The Emergent Church is often somewhat indifferent to theological and social issues that seem urgent to mainstream evangelicalism. These church members tend to think that the crusade against homosexual marriage is a waste of time and energy, and they tend to reject the exclusivistic claims that many evangelicals make about salvation.
They are not about to damn the likes of Gandhi or the Dali Lama to hell simply because they have not embraced Christianity.
In many ways, these Christians express a postmodern mindset that may come across as being somewhat "new age."
They see care for the environment as a major Christian responsibility. They are attracted to Christian mysticism. They talk a great deal about "spiritual formation" and focus significant attention on the healing of illnesses through prayer.
This new expression of Christianity is growing faster than most sociologists could have predicted. It is thriving, in part, because so many people are fed up with the arguing and pettiness that they claim are all too evident in the rest of Christendom.
It remains to be seen whether the Emergent Church will fade away or become an ongoing expression of Christianity.
But there is no question that it is attracting many sophisticated Christians who contend that traditional mainline churches are devoid of vitality and mega-churches are irrelevantly narrow.
I guess that means you understand "imputed righteousness". :)
It amazes me how so many defend so hard the doctrine of salvation by grace alone to the point of twisting it to mean that the normal expression of life in Christ is to simply have the correct "beliefs".
Taking the reformed view I would say regeneration results in repentance. Regardless of that, CyberCowboy's other points are accurate.
Sure, righteousness is imputed to us.
Do you think everyone that walks down an aisle, raises their hand at a meeting, or says the "sinners prayer" is elect?
There's no use splitting hairs about which comes first, repentance or new heart. People have argued that for centuries. My personal view is the reformed position.
Regardless, the point CyberCowboy and I made is that the result of new heart / repentance or repentance / new heart is a love for God and desire and ability to walk in his ways.
Read the verses you posted on the new convenant...
"And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them."
It's quite clear that in normal cases there should be some visible evidence of this new heart. Let's not paint everyone as the thief on the cross.
If you walked down the aisle at an evangelistic conference when you were 23 to get hell insurance and then spent the rest of your life living for yourself, did you really receive a new heart?
I suppose that's God's business but where is the "and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them."
Jesus said "follow me." Paul tells us to examine ourselves to see if we're in the faith.
We're not talking about works salvation here. Salvation is by grace through faith alone. It does have a result though.
Lol, good one, that's a keeper. :)
If people don't believe in what Jesus Himself said, then why bother going to church at all?
It's the old "I'm okay, you're okay" squishy "religion" with no blood sacrifice by Jesus for sin and in fact, doesn't take sin seriously. Example: they don't think homosexual marriage is a stench in God's nostrils. It's an attempt to make people feel good about themselves and their "spirituality." Christianity without doctrinal discipline is dangerous because people think they will be saved through their own work righteousness. Those will be the ones saying "Lord! Lord!" to Jesus on the Last Day, and He will say, "I never knew you." Very sad.
That you would even ask me that question is quite ironic in light of the fact that I've been attacked on this thread for inferring just the opposite in my FIRST post on this thread.
Maybe you missed it, so here it is again:
".....Remember the thief on the cross? He was one of God's Elect, but it wasn't evident until the very day he died.
Just because ..the Dali Lama [doesn't] embrace the ONE true God today, doesn't mean we can count [him] out just yet.
Where there's life, there's hope that [he] (and many others) are one of God's elect (that he chose before the foundation of the earth. Rev.13:7-8; 17:8; Acts 13:48; Romans 8:28-30; Romans 9:11-13; Romans 11:7; 2Thess.2:13; 1 Pet.1:1 (NIV); 2:9, etc., etc., etc.
Of course I know why the very most "loving" religious people (read legalists) are offended by me using the example of the thief on the cross -- he didn't have time to "do" all that stuff that "proves" (by outward appearances) that he was reeeeeeeeeally a "Christian".
But then, that's WHY I like to use that example -- it smokes them out immediately. Hahahahaha
You make me think of it from another angle. I call to mind Paul's words: "Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all of you, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God" (Acts 20:26-27; itself harkening back to Ezekiel 3:17-21). Innocent, because and only because he told them the whole story. Leading in turn to this thought --
I don't know whether the damned will speak to each other in Hell. I rather doubt it. But if they do, how many of the lost will turn to their equally-damned "pastors," howling in fury and despair, "Why didn't you tell me? Why didn't you warn me?"
True. But salvation is not contignent on the believer doing these things.
You can claim anything you want, but that does mean diddly when it comes right down to it.
And it certainly does not conform to the last 7 paragraphs of the article? They're pickin', chosin', and putting God in their box!
If they do not follow the precepts of Jesus to their fullest, there just another sheep in wolves clothing.
Satan told Eve that she surely wouldn't die if she ate the fruit, (A ridiculous LIE insinuated as truth) and she bought it! I don't know what Adams problem was?
Thanks for bringing this up, sometimes you gotta remember that the MSM BS is a mile long!
Exactly. Jesus was quite harsh with the arrogant legalists of his day who accused HIM of being unloving / unrighteous.
Like the DIShonest seekers of today, they found fault WITH HIM for saying that he has the right to have mercy on whom he wills, and the right to harden whom he wills. That he, the potter, has power over the clay .. to make one for honor and one for dishonor, if he wants to. That so what if he wants to show his wrath and make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction ... so that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy which he prepared beforehand for glory". [Romans 9:14-23] (See #118)
It reeeeeeally sends some sinners into raging anger that even though God says ALL fallen sinners deserve death, not all will get what they deserve.
She jumped at what she *FELT* was her chance to be God, too. Like many today, THAT was a temptation she could not turn down.
"...I don't know what Adams problem was?"
Since Scripture shows that he wasn't deceived, I guess that he must have just gone along with what "the little woman" wanted him to do so that he wouldn't have to sleep on the couch that night. LOL
This does not negate the fact that salvation is in fact a "get out of hell free" card.
Jesus said "follow me." Paul tells us to examine ourselves to see if we're in the faith.
We do not examine ourselves by looking for evidence of good works in our lives! How many good works are sufficent evidence? One? Thirtyfold? Sixty? An hundred?
Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? - II Corinthians 13:5The examining criteria is "Is Jesus Christ in me?", not "Have I done many mighty works for Christ?". Believers will claim the blood of Christ on Judgement Day, not their works. This does not negate that the blood of Christ motivates the believers to many mighty works.
We must not be explaining ourselves clearly. Neither of us is putting forth a salvation by works view. What where eshewing is the easy believism mentality that was rampant in evangelical Christianity (particularly in the West) over the last several decades.
The great commission is not about making converts it's about making disciples. The very thought that we even discuss the possibility of being a "convert" without being a disciple is ludicrous and foreign to the mind of the bible.
Discipleship is not optional. It comes from or grows out of biblical belief or faith. Mental assent is not what the bible calls repentance and belief. Mental assent is why Barna is able to show that there's no difference (none, zero, zilch) statistically for the most part in the behaviors of born again Christians (isn't that redundant) and the rest of America.
A great read on this topic (if you can handle someone who is verbose in their writing style) is _The Divine Conspiracy_ by Dallas Willard.
As far as who is "in" and who is "out", I'll let Father sort that out.
While denominations are not perfect, there is no perfect visible church, they follow the pattern of the NT and bring order for the members. There are creeds, standards, etc., as well as a system of governing.
What happens in the home church when there is a doctrinal disagreement? Domestic dispute? I can see how a home "church" would be successful if only one family attended and the head of the household was the head of the "church".
John 14:6 also holds:
Jesus answered, I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."