Apologetics Index

Emerging Church – Conversation versus… : Doctrine


Emerging Church

“How then have we come to believe that at the cross this God of love suddenly decides to vent his anger and wrath on his own son? The fact is that the cross isn’t a form of cosmic child abuse — a vengeful father punishing his son for an offense he has not even committed. Understandably, both people inside and outside of the church have found this twisted version of events morally dubious and a huge barrier to faith.
Steve Chalke

“So it was that Jesus had to go to the cross to face the ultimate means of exclusion. Having dealt with the meal table and the temple, Jesus would now turn this ultimate symbol of rejection and exclusion into yet another symbol of hope…Jesus’ cry of abandonment mirrors those countless millions of people who suffer oppression, enslavement, abuse, disease, poverty, starvation and violence.”
Steve Chalke

“I was relaxing in my parents’ swimming pool with my brother…I asked him how the engineering business was going, and he reciprocated: ‘How’s the ministry world going?’ ‘Okay,’ I said, ‘except that a couple of weeks ago I realized that I don’t know why Jesus had to die.’ Then Peter, without skipping a beat, without even a moment’s hesitation, said, ‘Well, neither did Jesus.'”
Brian McLaren

“Was God so disgusted by our sins that Jesus had to die to take them away? Or was it that God loved us so much that Jesus had to die?”[notice the false antithesis]
Spencer Burke

“I guess if I had to label what I believe, it would fall under the universalist category…I guess my question to you [Brian McLaren] would be how should I go about this self disclosure? Since you know X [the Evangelical seminary this blogger attends], do you have any insight for me? I am pretty sure X is clearly in the you must be saved to get into heaven camp.”
Question addressed to Brian McLaren on his website (answered below)

“I’d recommend you serve, keeping potentially divisive opinions to yourself”
From Brian McClaren’s answer to the above question

“We should consider the possibility that many, and perhaps even all of Jesus’ hell-fire or end-of-the-universe statements refer not to postmortem judgment but to the very historic consequences of rejecting his kingdom message of reconciliation and peacemaking. The destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 67-70 seems to many people to fulfill much of what we have traditionally understood as hell….I hope people can understand that some of us show our love for God by seeking better answers when our current answers seem unworthy of God.”
Brian McLaren

“What I think I can say is, and this is where I get into trouble, I’m not so sure that when this life is over that all possibilities for salvation are over.”
Tony Campolo

“It is possible for someone who does not know Jesus to be saved.”
Dallas Willard

“For too many people the name Jesus has become a symbol of exclusion, as if Jesus statement ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through me’ actually means, ‘I am in the way of people seeking truth and life. I wont let anyone get to God unless he comes through me.'”
Brian McLaren

“The church must present the Christian faith not as one religious army at war with all other religious armies but as one of many religious armies fighting against evil, falsehood, destruction, darkness, and injustice.”
Brian McLaren

‘Was Jesus a bit presumptuous when He said that ‘I am THE way, THE truth and THE life and no one comes to the Father but by ME’?”- Blogger at Postmodern_Theology (The only blogger on this site to in any way challenge the question above [other than one person who said “Only if he was mistaken”] said the following): “It’s exclusive, but that exclusivity can be understood in different ways. Many understand it as meaning one must make an explicit profession of faith in Jesus Christ. But that’s not in the scripture. Furthermore, it is limiting the power of Christ, which doesn’t seem to me to be something that should be done. One can see it as everyone who has come to the Father has come through Christ’s agency, whether or not they have even heard of the historical Jesus. This understanding doesn’t make Christ subject to being limited by how good His erstwhile followers are in getting the Gospel spread.”
Blogger at Postmodern_Theology

“In A Spiritual Biography, 1977 Edition, p. 56, it says, ‘Nowhere does the New Testament identify Jesus as God. Jesus did not say, “He who has seen me has seen God.” He said, “He who has seen me has seen the Father.” There are attributes of God I do not see in Jesus. I do not see God’s omnipotence in Jesus, for there are things which Jesus did not know. I do not see God’s omnipotence in Jesus for there are things which Jesus could not do.'”
Blogger at Postmodern_Theology

“We can not be sure that Christ ever claimed to be GOD or the Father. I personally follow Christ’s message and call myself a Christian without believe that he was GOD. He was a spiritual man who had a simple message which yet is the ultimate challenge for anyone to live by.”
Blogger at Postmodern_Theology

“Could you elaborate on your personal theory of atonement? If God wanted to forgive us, why didn’t he just forgive us? Why did torturing Jesus make things better?”
Question addressed to Brian McLaren on his website (answered below)

“This is such an important and difficult question. I’d recommend, for starters, you read “Recovering the Scandal of the Cross” (by Baker and Green). There will be a sequel to this book in the next year or so, and I’ve contributed a chapter to it. Short answer: I think the gospel is a many faceted diamond, and atonement is only one facet, and legal models of atonement (which predominate in western Christianity) are only one small portion of that one facet. Dallas Willard also addresses this issue in ‘The Divine Conspiracy.’ Atonement-centered understandings of the gospel, he says, create vampire Christians who want Jesus for his blood and little else. He calls us to move beyond a ‘gospel of sin management’ — to the gospel of the kingdom of God. So, rather than focusing on an alternative theory of atonement, I’d suggest we ponder the meaning and mission of the kingdom of God.”
Brian McLaren’s answer to the above question

“We must be continually aware that the ‘old, old story’ may not be the ‘true, true story'”
Brian McLaren

“I don’t think it [The Da Vinci Code] has more harmful ideas in it than the Left Behind novels.”
Brian McLaren

“I agree with you Jason that the construction of escaping the earth and going to heaven is, ‘shallow, self-seeking and dehumanizing.'”
Blogger at www.jasonclark

“But, I go on certain web sites and blogs when ‘doctrine’ is discussed (which it should be) but there are such mean, mean Christians who seem so bitter and angry and slam other Christians about issues and doctrines that we just don’t know for sure about. We can say we think we know for sure, but we just don’t.”
Dan Kimball

“The conversation of Seekers. Beyond honoring all people, seekers are interested in traveling the spiritual path with others, both those who share their beliefs and those who do not. If there is one thing we need in the twenty-first century, it is people from different traditions who make community while maintaining their diversity. For too long the only conversation many people have had with those of different faiths is about conversion. We really must get beyond this….. I am not about to pronounce judgment on one who feels called to share his faith in order to invite another to consider that faith tradition…. Seekers enter relationship with others, not to convert them but to travel the road together as friends and seekers of the Mystery.”
Dave Fleming

“New Lights offer up themselves as the cosmions of a mind-of-Christ consciousness. As a cosmion incarnating the cells of a new body, New Lights will function as transitional vessels through which transforming energy can renew the divine image in the world, moving postmoderns from one state of embodiment to another.”
Leonard Sweet

“Quantum spirituality involves a postmodern aesthetic steeped in metaphor, a style of administration as embodiment of divine order, a style of management as more ‘design science’ than ‘decision science.'”
Leonard Sweet

“Metanoia bestows on the believer a Logos-Christ consciousness, a logos logic that is based not on dialectic and struggle, but on harmony and wholeness.”
Leonard Sweet

“Ideas of the mind not only matter, ideas of the mind move matter, even become matter…The matter of faith is embodiment. Every spirit casts a shadow.”
Leonard Sweet

“The name Satan derives from the Hebrew common noun which suggests a constriction of flow, an obstruction of movement, a choked circulation of energy. Blocks in the gateway to the depths of transpersonal dimensions are frequently described and experienced as ‘knots’: knots in the stomach, lumps in the throat, ‘knots in the heart’ (an Indian Upanishad saying).”
Leonard Sweet

“Quantum spirituality is nothing more than your ‘new account of everything old’ — your part of the ‘I Am’ that we are.”
Leonard Sweet

“If modern western Christianity has become overly dualistic, might a measured dose of Zenlike monism help correct our hyperdualism?”
Leonard Sweet, Brian McLaren, and Jerry Haselmayer

“I don’t believe making disciples must equal making adherents to the Christian religion. It may be advisable in many (not all!) circumstances to help people become followers of Jesus and remain within their Buddhist, Hindu or Jewish contexts … rather than resolving the paradox via pronouncements on the eternal destiny of people more convinced by or loyal to other religions than ours, we simply move on … To help Buddhists, Muslims, Christians, and everyone else experience life to the full in the way of Jesus (while learning it better myself), I would gladly become one of them (whoever they are, to whatever degree I can, to embrace them, to join them, to enter into their world without judgment but with saving love as mine has been entered by the Lord.”
Brian McLaren

“Go to a bookstore and buy several copies of Tricycle magazine, the equivalent of Christianity Today for many American Buddhists. Leaf through the magazines during your gathering and make observations about the articles, graphics and tone of the publication. Feel free to take 10 or 15 minutes to allow participants to read an article silently and then summarize for the group what they have read. Note: For the first 45 minutes, no critical comments are allowed — only observations that are offered without judgment. Dialogue about these questions: What good things in Buddhism are attractive to the readers of this magazine? How do these strengths of Buddhism contrast with weaknesses in our Christian practice?”
Small group activity outlined in A is for Abductive, by Sweet, McLaren and Haselmayer

“As one friend puts it, we need to have a ‘Who Cares?’ theology.”
Chad Hall

“We are top-notch theologians.”
Doug Pagitt

The Bible

“Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them.”
Romans 16:17

“Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you thinks that he is wise in this age, he must become foolish, so that he may become wise.”
1 Corinthians 3:18

“I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed! For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.”
Galatians 1:6-10

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires.”
2 Timothy 4:3

“Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds.”
2 John 9-11

Non-“Emerging” Christians

“Heresies have times and seasons. They bear a close relationship to the climate of opinion in the world which surrounds the church and colors and influences her thinking and teaching.”
John M. Krumm

“Where a theology is based partly upon the Christian revelation and partly upon alien philosophical ideas, the result is often a misguided hotchpotch. At best the end product is a mixture containing ideas which cancel each other out. At worst the alien philosophy has been so allowed to crowd out and transform that the result is scarcely recognizable as Christianity at all.”
Colin Brown

“Thousands will crowd to hear a new voice and a new doctrine without considering for a moment whether what they hear is true….Inability to distinguish differences in doctrine is spreading far and wide, and so long as the preacher is ‘clever’ and ‘earnest’, hundreds seem to think that it must be all right, and call you dreadfully ‘narrow and uncharitable’ if you hint that he is unsound!”
J. C. Ryle

“The urgent necessity to proclaim the Christian message in an unchristian world is obvious. But, in a logical sense, it is subordinate to and secondary to the need to keep the Christian message Christian.”
Harry Blamires

“If we do not make clear by word and by practice our position for truth and against false doctrine we are building a wall between the next generation and the gospel.”
Francis Schaeffer

“Our business is to put what is timeless (the same yesterday, today and tomorrow – Hebrews 13:8) in the particular language of our own age. The bad preacher does exactly the opposite: he takes the ideas of our own age and tricks them out in the traditional language of Christianity.”
C. S. Lewis

“When Satan gets into the pulpit, or the theological chair, and pretends to teach Christianity, when in reality he is corrupting it….then look out for him; he is at his most dangerous work.”
R. A. Torrey

“If you were to ask, “Who is the premier hellfire and brimstone preacher of the Bible?” the answer would be Jesus, and there is not even a close second.”
Douglas Wilson

“Postmodern spirituality does include Jesus, but he is not the Jesus of Scripture. He is another Jesus who is appreciated by postmodern people.”
Don Matzat

“Do not trade orthodoxy for academic respectability.”
Norman Geisler

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First published (or major update) on Saturday, July 15, 2006.
Last updated on February 13, 2013.

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