Mark Driscoll recently blogged about a statement that Calvary Chapel released to it’s pastors regarding the Emergent Church. The statement criticizes Emergent as being theologically dangerous in eight core areas of faith (of the 8, I don’t think any of them are new criticisms…just a collection of what people have accused Emergent of for the last few years), including the innerancy of scripture, doctrines of heaven and hell, use of religious icons, elements of mysticism and eastern religion, etc.
There are several trends in “Emergent criticism” that I’ve noticed.
I feel like a lot of people tend to find one example of potential heresy and use it to denounce anyone related to Emergent. Because of how loose an affiliation Emergent is by design, it just seems like it is difficult to denouce the entire movement, which is what everyone seems to do. I understand the desire to defend orthodoxy and tradition, but it seems like it is often done at the unfair expense of many who are connected with Emergent yet desire to remain true to more traditional/conservative doctrines.
Often times it also seems like the criticisms are unfairly vague. In Calvary Chapel’s statement, the use of the phrase “touchy-feely relating to God” seemed to fit this category. What does it mean to relate to God in a touchy-feely manner? How touchy-feely can you be before you become a relativist, pluralist, emergent heretic?
While I don’t think I can determine whether this was part of the Calvary Chapel statement, I’ve also felt like it’s true that many criticisms of Emergent tend towards rejecting Emergent outright as unorthodox and heretical, rather than trying to engage in a conversation in order to correct a wayward brother or sister (if the particular Emergent community in question is in fact wayward). It seems to have become a big finger-pointing war with flaming accusations flung left and right driven by wrong motives.
But those are just my thoughts…anyone have any thoughts on Calvary Chapel’s statement, Emergent, or the critical tendencies between churches/denominations?