Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Emergent before it was cool

Trevin Wax interviews Timothy Stoner, author of The God Who Smokes: Scandalous Meditation on Faith, about what he likes and doesn't like about the "Emerging" Church. I like the distinctions:
Trevin Wax: You write about being “Emergent” before it was cool, but now that Emergent is cool, you no longer consider yourself “Emergent.” What aspects of the Emerging Church do you appreciate?

Timothy Stoner: I appreciate Emergent’s critique of a tendency within certain streams of fundamentalism and evangelicalism toward a divisive, narrow intolerance of those it considers enemies, and a mean-spirited, fear-based rejection of culture which it considers synonymous with “the world”.

I affirm its emphasis on wholistic and integral mission and its priority for justice and mercy.

I also believe its call to affirm the goodness of the creation, the value of listening to and respecting those who hold divergent opinions to be a very healthy and helpful corrective.

Trevin Wax: So why would you distance yourself from the movement today?

Timothy Stoner: I disagree with its equating authority with oppression, eliminating the element of wrath from God’s character, deconstructing the gospel so that it centers around politics (Jesus died to subvert a cruel, violent oppressive system) and ethics (the purpose of the cross was to give us an example to follow) rather than being essentially about man’s sin, God’s mercy, justice and glory in paying for man’s redemption and appeasing His wrath that rebels might be forgiven and restored. I also find no biblical warrant for its denial of an eternal hell for unrepentant sinners who persistently reject God’s love in Christ.

Most troubling is its universalist trajectory which denies the exclusivity of faith in Jesus and provides a back door to salvation for the sincere who do good. This is, of course, an utter denial of the necessity of the Cross. [more]
Interview with Tim Stoner 1: Emerging’s False Dichotomies « Kingdom People

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