So I read this article on the Baptist Press News (Southern Baptist news agency). It's a rant about some newer churches (some SBC) in the Acts29 church starting network that don't preach total abstinence from alcohol.
But here's the curious part. I found the following paragraph near the beginning of the article, and I feel compelled to comment on it.
"The emerging church movement is diverse and difficult to generalize. However, the mix of influences includes: postmodernism (a focus on sense-making through the various mediums of culture); Calvinism ala John Piper; and for some, Christian liberty, as granted by their scriptural interpretation, to drink alcohol and engage in other cultural activities that many Southern Baptists eschew based on opposing scriptural interpretation."
So the author is trying to give a loose definition for a Southern Baptist audience about what an emergent church is (that's a really big task to undertake, as the author notes). The 3 major influences he claims that make up emergent churches are: 1.) postmodernism 2.) Calvinism 3.) Christian liberty.
1.) a church cannot adhere to postmodernism b/c Christianity is directly opposed to postmodernism. Christianity and Christ claim absolute truth while postmodernism denies all absolute truth claims. Postmodernism and Christianity do not mix. If a group of people hold a postmodern ideology then they cannot call themselves a church.
But to clarify and comment on what the article seems to say in it's parenthetical statement about postmodernism...Engaging the culture does not equal being postmodern.
2.) Why is the author equaling Calvinism with emergent, like Calvinism is a bad thing? Did he know that many of the SBC founding fathers held to a Calvinistic theology and that we currently have traditional SBC churches that are Calvinist?
Calvinism is a solid theological position grounded in the absolute truth of the Scriptures. I am not a Calvinist, but I recognize it's conservative nature and I appreciate the lives of many of the great men in church history who held this theological view.
Here's the big deal...First the author says emergent churches are postmodern (denying absolute truth) and then says they are Calvinistic (claiming absolute truth of Scripture). Somebody help me figure this out.
3.) So the author would deny that we have Christian liberty to drink alcohol? I don't drink alcohol, but this drives me crazy. Why in the world is this always a recurring battle in Southern Baptist circles? I want people to stop fighting over this issue. We're not getting anywhere and nobody is ever winning the battle. We just fight and fight and fight, slaughtering our own while the world is going to hell.
Okay...so there's my rant. What do you think?