Saturday, December 26, 2009

Baptimergence II: A Local Tradition?

Let’s continue to discern what Baptimergents believe by looking at an “Identity” statement from a “baptistfamily of faith’s second paragraph.

"At the center of our identity is the person of Jesus Christ. It is through Jesus that we understand who God is and how God relates to humanity and Creation. While the New Testament weaves a together a narrative about Christ, we know that the living Christ is present to the world in the lives of those who follow his way of grace, reconciliation, and love. These followers make up the local church. At its best, we believe the church is the community of Christ’s presence in our neighborhood, and in the rest of the world."

Parsing their wording carefully, we note: Our identitywe understand…we know… At its best, we believe. This is where truth ultimately rests for this “baptistfamily of faith. The “New Testament weaves together a narrative about Christ” but it is no longer a universal “metanarrative” or comprehensive explanation of historical experience or knowledge. “It has become a localized tradition for this particular “baptistfamily of faith or in other words what “we know…”

Post-Modernist Emergents believe metanarratives have lost their power to convince and avoid any emphasis on them. Metanarratives are only stories told in order to legitimize versions of "the truth." So they focus on, “At its best, we believe…” as a specific local context which allows for a diversity of human experience. We saw this diversity in paragraph one’s “respect that each tradition practices that ritual differently.”

Again, the fable here is existential experience. What I know to be true, what I observe, confess, and practice is what matters. Therefore, “followers make up the local church…the community of Christ’s presence in our neighborhood, and in the rest of the world.” The existential “now” is, “We know that the living Christ is present to the world in the lives of those who follow his way of grace, reconciliation, and love.” This is true not because the entire Bible says so but because, “At the center of our identity is the person of Jesus Christ.”

Since “Sola Scriptura” or “Scriptures Alone” is not the Baptimergents' final authority (2 Tim 3:15-17; 1:12-14; Col 1:4-6; I Cor 2:13), they stand in stark contrast to historic confessional Baptists, "The Holy Scripture is the only sufficient, certain, and infallible rule of all saving knowledge, faith, and obedience." The London Baptist Confession of 1689

1 comment:

  1. Here is another example of a poor Emergent imitation of the real thing. Christ is present in the midst of the worshiping congregation where the Word is read and interpreted faithfully and the Sacraments are duly administered. But, in this particular "family of faith," the role of the Scriptures is clearly downplayed and there is no mention of the Sacraments whatsoever. The presence of Christ is not some vague feel good experience you conjure up by simply being nice to one another. It is the reality that defines the worshiping community which faithfully reads and interprets the Scriptures and properly administers the Sacraments. This is an example of the divergence between the "Ancient Future" and "Emergent" movements. The latter is an ugly mutation of the former.

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