Saturday, 30 July 2011

The Last Rung?

"The emerging church is not an evangelistic strategy. It is the last rung for evangelicals falling off the ladder into liberalism or unbelief."

A response to a review of Rob Bell's book, "Love Wins," from Here...

He (Bell)really does sound like a Unitarian pastor who thinks religion is a set of nice stories, all fictional but having literature's insights into human life (so contradictions are beside the point). People make their own hells or heavens, all purely natural, and eternal life is just a metaphor for the eternity of the present moment. God is a useful fiction, and we shouldn't disturb each other's fictions unless they cause people to behave badly, but there is never any actual supernatural intervention. And if somebody's stories cause them to start doing things that don't have useful consequences in this life--if they start fasting too much, or feeling too guilty, or making real-world decisions based on God's existence--then those are bad stories. Jesus is a good story too, because it is a story of love and sacrifice, and Jesus has saved many people by being the protagonist in a story that has caused such good. But not only is there is no substitutionary atonement, it does not even matter whether Jesus really existed or not--it is the story that matters, not any facts that might underlie the story.

Well said, I think.

Take Care


Warren said...

The person you quoted (uncited) at the begining of your post apparently thinks it uneccessary, but, if one is to avoid tarring with a broad brush and throwing the baby out with the bath water, I believe a disctinction needs to be made between "emergent" and "emerging". Mark Driscoll, who is often identified with the emerging church movement, has identified four lanes within the broader emerging church movement. Emergent liberals, which form one of those lanes, is the label that I believe you want to place on Rob Bell.

Although not all will agree with Driscoll's definitions, to dismiss everything in modern evangelicalism that has had the label "emerging" applied to it would be a mistake.

John K said...

Yes, you are correct. It is what Driscoll calls the, "liberal emergents" that I meant, and I think the commenter in the post to which I linked meant as well.