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"DAVID MIERS is reported to be in the top 10 cage fighters in Gosford. He has some serious dish washing skills and thinks that Elizabeth Bennet is hot. Although he thinks that his wife Rowena is hotter. David works in youth ministry for a great church. Likes to: speak in third person, watch and play soccer, eat food and surf the web. He has never watched Star Wars."

Emerging Church

I started reading Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church by Don Carson in September last year. While pointing out the contribution the movement has to make, he is gracious in showing their weaknesses (read: rips it to shreds!). I still haven't finished it but here are a few problems I have with the movement after reading Carson's book and their websites:

>>> Their critique of the Seeker Sensitive church movement is based on it no longer being what people want. The Bible and theology ought to guide our critique of any movement.

>>> In attempting to be culturally-sensitive it fails to see the need to be COUNTER-cultural. I agree that its appropriate to be sensitive to the culture you're working in, however the call of the gospel is a call to be distinct and different.

>>> Worship of God seems to be on my terms rather than on God's. Eg. "lighting this candle or looking at this cross helps me to feel close to God." That sounds like idolatry.

>>> Their advocates get cranky on forums when you raise the topic!

The whole emerging church thing seems to have significant interaction with a growing number of youth ministries (at least in the US). So I thought I'd read a book on both: Contemplative Youth Ministry: Practicing the Presence of Jesus. So far... it's terrible! Stay tuned.

UPDATE>>> Doctrine doesn't seem to matter - hence evangelicals can hook up with catholics and liberals.

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  • Blogger Andy M says so:
    Thursday, May 18, 2006 8:56:00 am  

    I look forward to your comments on Contemplative Youth Minstry - sounds interesting!
    I couldn't quite tell whether you were defending the "Seeker Sensitive" movement, or just critiquing the reasons why the Emerging Church proponents don't like it.
    Would be interested as to what you think about "Seeker Sensitive" movement. I have some thoughts myself ... top

  • Blogger Andy M says so:
    Thursday, May 18, 2006 9:05:00 am  

    PS: Don Carson is a legend, isn't he? How does he manage to churn out these amazing books, as well as maintain a busy preaching/teaching ministry?!? Is he a lecturer as well? God has gifted him greatly. top

  • Blogger David says so:
    Thursday, May 18, 2006 9:07:00 am  

    neither defending nor attacking SS movement.
    i just think that to critique by saying it's no longer what people are after is a bit too much 2Tim 4:3
    what are your SS thoughts? top

  • Blogger David says so:
    Thursday, May 18, 2006 9:09:00 am  

    ps - absolutely.
    his full-time gig is NT prof at trinity evangelical college in illinois.
    but he's always preaching all over the shop as well.
    the key for him is that his talks/lectures get turned into books.
    it's interesting watching some of the emerging guys try to critique carson... they've got nothing!!!
    God has indeed gifted him. top

  • Blogger Andy M says so:
    Thursday, May 18, 2006 9:47:00 am  

    Re: Seeker Sensitive - OK, then, I'll go first.
    I think the desire to make church welcoming and helpful for outsiders is admirable. There's also biblical warrant (ala 1 Cor 14) for making sure what happens in church is understandable for the unbeliever who might come in.
    BUT ...
    I think church is first and foremost a gathering of God's people, and I fear that sometimes in our efforts to be "seeker sensitive" we "dumb down" church a bit, fearful of what the newcomer might think. Thing is, we're not exactly consistent with how we do it.
    One good example I think is the Lord's Supper. One reason I've regularly heard as to why it does not receive the same prominence in a lot of evangelical churches is to do with not turning off newcomers, and not doing some seemingly strange thing in front of them. But the early church gave it prominence in their weekly gatherings, as far as I can tell from the NT. And if we stopped doing anything that was "strange" to the outsider then we wouldn't sing (how weird is singing in public these days?!), pray nor for that matter read and preach from some ancient text.
    I think there's a balance to be achieved between making church a place where Christians come to be encouraged and fed, while making it as welcoming as possible for new people but without losing any of the elements of Christian "worship" (excuse the swear word ...!).
    Sorry for long comment! top

  • Blogger Andy M says so:
    Thursday, May 18, 2006 9:54:00 am  

    Sorry, one more example. This one I don't think is quite as important as I don't think biblical issues are necessarily at stake, but it's nonetheless a bit annoying. It's the attempt to alter our whole vocabulary about church in order to supposedly sound more relevant to the average non-church goer, but in the process I think it can end up sounding either patronizing or confusing.
    One example of this is the trend (not all that widespread, but I have noticed it) of the preacher referring to "sentences" instead of "verses" e.g. "look with me at sentence 12". It's obviously an attempt to remove a supposedly Christian jargon word such as "verse", but would the average, hypothetical newcomer really have a problem with using the word "verse"? Sometimes it sounds like we're treating this hypothetical newcomer as stupid!
    Another example is more widespread - its the rebranding of "services" as "meetings". Now, I understand the theology and reasoning behind this and agree with much of it, but it really is a bit pedantic! And I also think the word "meeting" is probably stranger to the newcomer's ear than the word "service" - I think most people would think of what happens in church as a "service", whereas the word "meeting" suggests a business meeting, or AGM or the like. I think it's in fact more confusing! And yet it's supposedly part of an attempt to use ordinary, every day language to describe what happens in church and so avoid confusing the newcomer ... top

  • Blogger David says so:
    Thursday, May 18, 2006 11:47:00 am  

    don't have time to respond to everything...
    but i use 'sentence' in the context of an evangelistic talk or in schools.
    week by week verse is fine... but i think it's helpful in schools in particular. they don't have an actual bible in front of them... they have it printed on paper.
    i think it's helpful.
    they really are Biblically illiterate top

  • Blogger Andy M says so:
    Thursday, May 18, 2006 2:16:00 pm  

    yeah, OK, take your point.
    Like I said, I don't think it's an issue of critical importance and I wouldn't break fellowship over it, but I do find in some contexts it can end up sounding a little condascending. I can see the context that you're speaking of might be slightly different.
    Of course, in the end, whether they are "verses" or "sentences" doesn't impact on our understanding of the actual message contained within! top

  • Blogger David says so:
    Thursday, May 18, 2006 4:21:00 pm  

    in year 7 scripture this arvo i used both 'verse' and 'sentence' top

  • Blogger Andy M says so:
    Thursday, May 18, 2006 7:17:00 pm  

    and how did Scripture go? I hope the kids are being impacted by both the verses and the sentences! top