Friday, July 01, 2005

The Emergent Matrix: A New Kind of Church
“We realized very early on that we weren’t going to find the intellectual resources we needed in the evangelical world, so we were either going to have to create them or borrow them,” notes McLaren. “And it turned out that a lot of us were reading the same people, who would be more respected in the mainline world, such as Walter Brueggemann, Jürgen Moltmann and Stanley Hauerwas. What happened is we started to identify ourselves as postconservative and then we found out that there was almost a parallel movement going on in the postliberal world. And the affinities that we had were very, very strong.” ...

Emergent evangelicals had bumped up against the limits of what George Lindbeck has called their “cognitive-propositional” approach to doctrine—faith as assent to propositional truths—but unlike earlier generations they no longer believed their only other option was to become traditionally “liberal.” Postliberalism, with its emphasis on culture and language, narrative and community, character and virtue, opened possibilities for being theologically serious and doctrinally orthodox while avoiding the restrictive biblicism of the evangelical world.

The challenges faced by evangelicals and mainliners are in some ways mirror images of each other. McLaren observes that “conservatives tend to be rigid theologically and promiscuous pragmatically and liberals tend to be rigid methodologically and a lot more free theologically.” His proposal is simple: “Maybe we could trade.”

interesting article by Scott Bader-Saye, associate professor in Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Scranton, on

1 comment:

Rick said...

This is why giving folks like DA Carson any credit is a joke in my opinion. I recognize many folks in some circles do, but the world of biblical scholarship has far exceeded anything Carson could touch. It is time for the church to start loving God with its brain and stop hiding behind doctrine as an excuse to remain ignorant. He may carry some weight in the Evangelical world, but when it comes to respectable schloars he does not have any credibility.

It amazes me that scholars at Oxford or U of Chicago, Harvard or even Princeton are ignored by many in the evangelcial world. We owe it to our faith and our God to move beyond our tiny boxes of biblical literalism.