Thursday, January 13, 2005

The Emergent Discussion - An Open Letter to Brian McLaren (Derek Melleby)

Derek Melleby over at Aslan on the Move has written An open letter to Brian McLaren.

A little background if you do not know who Brian McLaren is. Brain is the leading voice in the emergent community. By emergent, I mean all the voices out there who are calling for radical or fundamental change in the church. Of these voices, there are some who are more conservative and come from evangelical and charismatic perspectives and others who are far from conservative and from my reading not even Christians. This one size fits all definition of emergent harms the cause of valuable church wide reformation.

Derek in his open letter to Brain McLaren continues the dialogue over just these issues. Personally, I am one who is longing for renewal that leads to revival as are the vast majority of evangelicals. I believe this will require radical change which I am attempting to, with growing precision, articulate:

Here are my comments to Derek Melleby’s post.

I think we need to encourage McLaren like you are in the following ways:

1. I think it will be almost impossible for McLaren and the emergent folk to embrace Neo-Calvinism as a priority as they have a view of church as a “prophetic people”. I think their paradigm is more of church as a light that the world sees. The emergent church, as I see it’s evangelical side, tends to picture people, first, seeing the church (the missional, monastic community) and, then, leaving the world community and entering the kingdom community. They see church as “witness” to the world and not “redeemer” of the world. These perspectives on the role of the church need to be looked at by both neo-Calvinists and emergent leaders. As always, I think the aims of the two schools of thought do not contradict but are complimentary and synergistic.

2. I love that you see this “post-critical” stance as basically disingenuous and really not accurate or precise. One of my main points is that “post-modernism” and biblical Christianity are incompatible worldviews. The emergent leaders need to see themselves as recovering a biblical worldview. The embracing of post-modern ideas can only cause harm and not good. I propose a more precise philosophical definition of what McLaren means is needed, and, therefore, I am asking that the Christian philosophers in the blogoshere assist in the discussion to bring precision and unity.


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