I was thinking about this earlier, but recently, this post from a blogger that I read got me moving to write this post.
I should start this off, by saying that I'm all for conversations about what is good and bad about the way we worship/serve/follow God. When it comes to spiritual growth, this is a good thing. So as I listen to various speakers and pastors, I want to hear if there are people who disagree with them, only to test what they say. I also read the Bible and, I listen to others and read writings, so that I have a good sampling of what they believe (i.e. I don't want to be lead astray). So as of late, I have been looking at postings by people that disagree with what is known as the emergent church movement, to see if there is anything that I need to know to determine wrong doctrine or some such thing.
Next, I, more or less, follow a Wesleyan theology and doctrine, so I have recently acquired some books, that explain the differences between Roman Catholic, Reformed(Calvin), Luthern, Arminian and Wesleyan theology. As I have read and as I have experienced there are some differences, but to me, most of these are small compared to the main thing they all preach in common, and that is Jesus Christ as the Son of God, the savior, and Him crucified and resurrected.
So as I have looked at the emergent church movement, or the emerging worship movement within the UMC, I had become curious to what this meant. As I have researched, I found that they are trying to rethink how to get Christians to act and show what it means to be a Christian, instead of the view of say the big media where to them it is Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell. This means getting a congregation to more fully use its gifts as to show God's love to the community at large, as well as within the Body of Christ. Some have proposed doing away with having a sermon as the focal point of a worship service, while others do more experiential things for worship.
So I as I researched, I began to run into the anti-emergent church sites and found that in most cases that they also were anti-everybody else as well. Most of the criticisms, I found were nit-picking on somebody's writings or metaphors for God. Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with criticism per se, but many times the things that were said, to me meant nothing to what is in the Bible, like Jesus preaching about loving God and loving all people. I have worked in my local Emmaus community with Catholic, Reformed, Wesleyan, etc. and we have no problem interacting and helping each other and those outside the community in the name of Jesus. As one pastor said during the means of grace talk, we can't let somebody's means of grace be a stumbling block if they preach Christ, or serve in the name of Christ. Who cares if we are predestined to love God or we choose? I didn't see that in the Great Commission, which says,"18And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
19Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen." (Matthew 28:18-20 KJV, lest I get accused of using the wrong translation) :0
While listening to Rob Bell at the National Youth Workers convention in 2004 in Dallas, he said that everyone should test what he says against scripture, so that we remain on the right track. I guess that's what I have been doing. However, some of those that comment in some of theses blogs come up with mean nasty judgemental things. How are people supposed to find out what is wrong with viewpoint if you just get angry and say, "that's from the pit!" (yes, that was a comment on a blog about somebody's metphor for God). To me the person posting the blog was trying to share something out of love and the commentor was posting out of hate.
So it is with that, that I say goodbye to negative blog sites and commentors. Unless you can be civil and constructive with your criticism I'm going to stop listening to you.