Man, this is a long class…there might be gaps in the notetaking…but I’m doing my best to get as much as I can.
Steve Hayner (cont’d)
one of the big issues, probably generational as much as anything else, is the relationship between Chrsitan faith and other faiths. it would arise occasionally — what about people who have never heard the name of Jesus Christ?
one of the things that emergents have really struggled with, it’s not an exclusivist position, meaning that it is not Jesus is the only way and anyone who doesn’t mention the name of Jesus is going to hell. they say, ‘no, we don’t really see it that way’ but neither do they think that it doesn’t matter. it’s a particular universalist view, but not the universalist view.
emergents think about an inclusive Jesus, a Jesus who died for the whole world, a Jesus who at the same time says, ‘come to me.’ emergents are not eager to walk into conversations where they say all other religions are false. the very fact that people struggle with their faith shows that utimatly these things will come to their conclusion in Jesus Christ.
in “Listening to the beliefs of emerging churches” – these five writers interact and they talk about each other’s chapters. they have quite a lot about Jesus for the global village. there is a very real sense that the portal to faith in the emergent world is that people belong before they believe. they are not likely, especially as people are not likely to wrestle through all of the issues of faith before entering the community. more likely is that they are part of the community first and come to faith. again it is an embodied conversation. it really matters, but you find a lot of consistency about it either.
the patterns of evangelism involve building relationships of trust. because of this sense that we are sent into the world and this emphasis on authenticity, there is this sense that we build friendships. we build friendships with anyone, NOT so that they will become Christian, but because people who are created by God are worthy of friendship. in the context of those friendships, we can talk about faith, we are going to engage it. we are going to listen a lot to one another.
there is also evangelism that is proclamation…evangelism as life, word, deed, and sign. this is holistic in witness involves all of those kinds of things. emergents would not say that it is a bad thing at all to do confrontational evangelism, but that is not their preferred modality, because that’s not the way life works mostly. again, they would point to Jesus’ life. most of Jesus’ interactions were evangelistic in nature, but not necessarily confrontation.
the whole business of conversion is much more processed, certainly decisional, there is not a sense that conversion has happened because i prayed a prayer, but that over time i have made a lot of decisions and it’s all part of conversion. everyday i have the optino to take steps toward Jesus or away from Jesus and that is what i want to help other people do too. those become decisional moments. a part of that is not too terribly new. even the billy graham association never counted conversions, they counted decisions. Decisions can mean all kinds of things…even they recognized that it is totally valid. the whole idea of who is a Christian, is not for me to determine. that’s really God’s work. my responsibility is to live the kingdom, to be followers of Jesus. let God worry about the whole business…if you have this broad view of salvation, then….
that’s the tension! we adopt theology
theology is contextual. because theology is our work trying to figure God out. even our understanding of how revelation works is that God’s revealing is also contextual. scripture is consistent, but that doesn’t mean that it is consistent with itself. i used to teach hebrew and cognate languages, i used to teach wisdom literature as point and counterpoint. so you might have wisdom literature that is fleshed against the deuteronomists’ theology. if you obey, you get blessed, if you don’t then you get cursed…the problem is that that’s not the way it works out sometimes. we don’t have, it doesn’t all work out neatly. that’s our struggle of course.
McLaren is the godfather of the emergent village. he wrote three novellettes, the first of which is “a new kind of christian” which talks about how you begin to emerge. it’s about a pastor whose life is falling apart, but he meets someone who’s left the ministry who is a high school science teacher and it’s their conversation. the other two novels are also really great, but the first one is where it all starts.
the next one, “a generous orthodoxy” lays out what he is about theologically. he has written sequels to this including “everything must change”. there are lots of conversation about it on the blogosphere, both for and against. he typically causes a lot of controversy.
i do want you to know that this is not necessarily stuff of which the world has just embraced. this is controversial in a lot of circles. in fact, all of this stuff is controversial. but sometimes, when we’re trying to do things which sound like alignment to the gospel, but threatening to the institution, you don’t end up in a nice place. this is a harder time for people to be pastors than it has been in decades, even in very nice churches.
here’s the deal: next week is about missional church….including really cool videos alan hirsch, one of the gurus of the missional movement.
what we’re doing in this course is circling in. five movements: last week, emerging in general, emergent this week, missional…and then we’re going to be talking about change. what change does, how we interact with it, and how we can make it happen…ok?