Theology: January 2006 Archives

[Note: I wrote this as a draft months ago intending to do some heavy revision on it before posting it. I never got around to that. Jeremy has hinted that I should just go ahead and post it, but I was reluctant because I felt like it needed more work. But I'm busy, so I'm never really going to put more work into it. And now, in light of the SCOTUS ruling yesterday (day before?), this is suddenly relevant again. So, hey--these may be only half-formed thoughts, but they are relevant half-formed thoughts, and if ever there was a place for half-formed thoughts, it's the internet, right? So here goes...]

John 10:17-18 reads: "For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father." (NAU).

This raises the odd question--when Jesus was crucified, did the cricifixion kill Him or not? Or, more to the point, was Jesus killed, or did He commit suicide?

By the way, "Both" does not seem to be an appropriate answer here.

I'm not sure I've ever blogged about the so-called Emergent Church, mostly because I think the whole movement is so radically confused that I never wanted to bother to figure out where to start in pointing out all the philosophical and historical errors that serve as its foundation. But Gnu at Wildebeest's Wardrobe has done that work now in a way that I'm in complete agreement with. His post on this, to my mind, is the defininitive analysis of the Emergent Church. What I'm going to say here doesn't add anything to Gnu's post, but I think I can say the main points more succinctly and without as much technical jargon.

For those unfamiliar with this movement, the Emergent Church (a term some of them have used, but sometimes they prefer the Emergent Conversation) is a movement that had its origins within evangelicalism and has rejected key features of what it sees as modernism within evangelicalism, seeing itself as an emerging generation of those who have accepted that we're now in a postmodern generation and have to conceive of the mission and methods of the church differently in order to capture the good of this overwhelming change in cultural perspective. If you take some of their language seriously, it sounds as if they've left the church and formed something else, something thoroughly postmodernist, rejecting truth or at least any possibility of knowing the truth. If you pay more attention to those who moderate their rhetoric, it sounds as if their claims aren't nearly as strong. So there are these two ways of reading them, and the question is open (as far as I'm concerned) which of them is correct. What I think Gnu has valuably accomplished is figuring out how to categorize these two possibilities and being able to distinguish what follows if each is true.

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