The Hole in the Emerging Church

Ryan Robinson

It is easiest to identify Ryan as both theologian and tech guy. By day, Ryan is a Technical Consultant work with PeaceWorks Technology Solutions. There, he works on websites, CRMs, and SharePoint implementations. Along with blogging here, Ryan is a founding member of the MennoNerds blogging network and a contributor to the book A Living Alternative.

10 Responses

  1. Nick Payne says:

    I think people could do a lot worse than go back to Romans 15 and apply the principles behind it to other areas of theology. There’s a simplicity we ignore in our defensiveness. If we believe in good faith that something is wrong, and yet trample on a brother or sister who thinks differently… damaging or destroying what faith they have or forcing them to compromise their own understanding of doctrine to serve our understanding, we will have to answer for that. Similarly if we don’t stand by what we believe because somebody asks us to change it to suit the needs of their personal theology, we will have to answer for that. We we will all have to give an account for the way we treated others. The Good Samaritan would have been considered a half blood heretic by the listeners who heard Jesus’ parable, and indeed by the Hebrew characters in the tale itself… our theology should not limit the quality of our mercy or the compassion with which we treat different thinking people.

  2. Nick Payne says:

    Incidentally, I am fascinated by that chart… it looks very much like the 2 axis chart created by the Political Compass. Do you know who originated the study behind it and if there is any way out of curiosity, I can plot myself on the scale?

    • I got the chart from Phyllis Tickle’s book The Great Emergence. I’m not sure if she came up with it herself or if it came from somewhere else but she does seem to be the expert at giving a fairly-neutral overview of the emerging movement.

  3. Mike Arnold says:

    I was doing OK until your point, “If we believe in a god who loves even those who have their theology wrong, then we must show our conservative brothers and sisters this god through our own love even when it doesn’t make sense to them.” and there in lies my problem.
    When you come at me with the assumption that I am wrong and you right, what’s the point? I’ll not pursuade you nor you me. Only when we come together, open to the possibility that we both may be wrong- or indeed the other right that it is worth conversing.
    In this, humility is demanded on both sides, not the same arrogance you accuse me of displaying.

    • I think you’ve misunderstood me and we seem to be saying the exact same thing. I undoubtedly have some of my theology wrong. You probably do, too. I believe God loves us all anyway. I want to carry into the conversation that there are more important things than the precise accuracy of our theology.

  4. jcmmanuel says:

    You would invite the more conservative. But would you also invite those who go further than the “Emerging” Church? Christians like John Shelby Spong for instance? Just curious.

    • Yes, I would. The same logic applies: if we’re going to really call it a conversation, we should seek to honestly engage with those who disagree with us, whether it is to what modernism called the conservative end of the spectrum or the liberal end. I don’t agree with a lot of positions that Spong (and others like him) takes and I think it is fair to say that a lot of what he says is outside the realm of orthodoxy, but that doesn’t mean that he has nothing of value to contribute.

      • jcmmanuel says:

        Good. Because I expect the input from those people is what may ultimately save Christianity in some form. We better know less about god (and pretend less to know, more in particular) and try to know more about the human beings that surround us.

  1. January 17, 2013

    […] Robinson, over at Emerging Anabaptist, writes about the hole in the emerging church, namely that emerging Christians are failing to engage Reformed, conservative evangelicals into the […]