Saturday, June 04, 2005

Official Response to Critics of Emergent

Check out the Response to Recent Criticisms by Tony Jones, Doug Pagitt, Spencer Burke, Brian McLaren, Dan Kimball, Andrew Jones, Chris Seay. These are some of the most vocal emergent voices and it's posted by Tony Jones over at Theoblogy.

There is lots of great stuff here in response to the criticism that is being leveled against the emergent conversation by every quarter. I especially like the following exerpts:

...(W)e would like to clarify, contrary to statements and inferences made by some, that yes, we truly believe there is such a thing as truth and truth matters – if we did not believe this, we would have no good reason to write or speak; no, we are not moral or epistemological relativists any more than anyone or any community is who takes hermeneutical positions – we believe that radical relativism is absurd and dangerous, as is arrogant absolutism; yes, we affirm the historic Trinitarian Christian faith and the ancient creeds, and seek to learn from all of church history – and we honor the church’s great teachers and leaders from East and West, North and South; yes, we believe that Jesus is the crucified and risen Savior of the cosmos and no one comes to the Father except through Jesus; no, we do not pit reason against experience but seek to use all our God-given faculties to love and serve God and our neighbors...and yes, we affirm that we love, have confidence in, seek to obey, and strive accurately to teach the sacred Scriptures, because our greatest desire is to be followers and servants of the Word of God, Jesus Christ. We regret that we have either been unclear or misinterpreted in these and other areas.

But we also acknowledge that we each find great joy and promise in dialogue and conversation... We are radically open to the possibility that our hermeneutic stance will be greatly enriched in conversation with others. In other words, we value dialogue very highly, and we are convinced that open and generous dialogue – rather than chilling criticism and censorship – offers the greatest hope for the future of the church in the world.

... (W)e believe that they [critics]would also find much to celebrate and find many of their suspicions relieved when they see our high regard for the Scriptures, for truth, for worship, for evangelism, for spiritual formation, and for our fellow Christians – including our critics themselves.

Instead of engaging in fruitless quarrels with our critics, we urge those who find our work helpful to pursue spiritual formation in the way of Christ, to worship God in spirit and truth, to seek to plant or serve in healthy and fruitful churches, to make disciples – especially among the irreligious and unchurched, to serve those in need, to be at peace with everyone as far as is possible, and to show a special concern for orphans and widows in their distress. We should keep careful control of our tongues (and pens or keyboards), and seek to be pure in heart and life, since this is "religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless."

With millions suffering from hunger, disease, and injustice around the world, we hope that all of us – including our critics – can renew our commitment to "remember the poor" (Galatians 2:10) rather than invest excessive energy in "controversies about words." "They will know you are my disciples," Jesus said, not by our excessive disputation, but by our love. Words and ideas are essential, for they often set the course for thought and action, and constructive dialogue is needed and worthwhile, but we cannot let less productive internal debates preoccupy us at the expense of caring for those in need.

This is great stuff. Click over to read the whole thing--it really clarifies things for those who have ears...

Micah Girl


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