This article is a response to one I poste a week ago.
What do you think? Here’s an excerpt:
This morning I was reading a post from Kurt Willems’ blog about John Piper’s comments on the Emerging Church. The post contains a You Tube clip of what Piper said and then critiques what is said within that. Willems explains why he views Pipers comments which are summed up by terms like “shambles” and “heresy” as unfair before going on to raise questions about why so many emergent types do appear to have embraced mainline liberalism. He concludes his main body of argument by making the point that the best expressions of this movement/ conversation will have added “kingdom value” to the church in the West. Finally he poses the question “what do you think of the emerging church conversation? Will it be over in 10 years or will it evolve into something new?”
I’d be interested in responses to this question too but first of all some observations on both Piper’s comments and Willems’ response.
The first relates to who John Piper is. He is a Calvinist Baptist Preacher and theologian in the US who has influenced the thinking and theology of New Frontiers in this country. He is a conservative evangelical who along with Wayne Grudem has been one of the strongest voices theologically in that strand of Calvinist evangelical thought over the last few decades. In terms of what he believes as a Calvinist an article on his website dating back to 1998 sums it up in detail.
The majority of those who would describe themselves as “emerging” are coming from divergent points to Piper on several issues and their theology tends to be more Arminian . In English that means Piper believes that whilst all can come to faith God has pre-decided and “chosen” who will come to faith, Arminians on the other hand believe that all can come to faith and it is down entirely to our free will whether we do or not, God does not pre-decide. Thus, we have the first point of divergence.
The second point of divergence is that Piper believes in what he calls “Biblical Manhood and Womanhood” which argues that there are distinctive gendered roles for men and women with men having headship over women. For a discussion on one aspect of what this means and a critique of it Dave Warnock (42) has a good recent post. The emerging church takes a different view which is based upon the equality of both genders including in leadership.
I could go further but these two points initially give indication of why Piper and the emerging church have theological differences and why Piper is never going to be their biggest fan.
But what of what he says within the You Tube video? Is there truth within it? Well, to think about this we need to identify what we are talking about when we refer to the “emerging church”. The best study of it comes from Eddie Gibbs and Ryan K. Bolger who did a study of the emerging church based in the US and UK called Emerging Churches. They define emerging churches in the following way, (pp 44&45) “Emerging churches are communities that practice the way of Jesus within postmodern cultures. This definition encompasses the nine practices. Emerging churches (1) identify with the life of Jesus, (2) transform the secular realm and (3) live highly communal lives. Because of these three activities, they (4) welcome the stranger, (5) serve with generosity, (6) participate as produces, (7) create as created beings, (8) lead as a body, and (9) take part in spiritual activities.” READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE HERE.
Any thoughts on this excerpt or the concept as a whole?