Why Emergents and Evangelicals are Not Hearing Each Other.

I don’t know if it’s cool to quote yourself on your own blog.  But I’m gonna.  Buried in all the great comments on my last post is this answer to Travis (who made some great points with which I mostly agree).  I am reposting it here because it is the real essence of my disagreement with the emergent movement, and why I think that honest dialogue is nearly impossible between our two sides.  I’d love feedback on this:

It’s a difference in worldview, I think. For you (and this is speculative, I don’t know you:) the highest priority is the tension, or the conversation. The postmodern, academic tendency is to see the end goal being everyone getting along, and having a conversation. I think that’s because there’s an assumption that in all of us gathering around a table and talking, we’ll see that we are not all that different, and we’ll be able to come to a consensus regarding these big questions, or if not, we will value the fact that at least we are at the table having a conversation. (the highest priority is the conversation, not the big issues) You’d rather everyone be agreeable, and at the table.

My highest priority is not the conversation. Sure, I’ll be cordial (I have “conversation” higher up the priority list than, say, Jerry Falwell did), but it is far more important to me that people be told the real situation (this goes back again to my penal substitutionary atonement views). Because if I’m right about the cross and the empty tomb, then all the conversation in the world won’t matter.

If I’m right about the basic nature of humanity, people will still fly planes into buildings and picket funerals, because they are sinful, and no amount of getting together and talking about it will make us less sinful. Until the sin has been dealt with, paid for, why talk about anything else? Of course people who have a lot aren’t going to give it to people who have a little, they are sinful! So poverty won’t be fixed by talking about it, it will be fixed by people receiving the immeasurable gift of Jesus, and then responding by giving away their possessions to those who have need.

Does that make sense? How would you suggest I get around my view of the atonement so as to be able to engage in the conversation?

Or better yet, how do we not lose this vital aspect of the atonement in the conversation?

One Reply to “Why Emergents and Evangelicals are Not Hearing Each Other.”

  1. I have thought about this as well. As much as I often think I want discussion and debate, I have come to the conclusion that some things are not really open to debate. Or maybe better, they are not open to compromise. The idea that we can all join in under the guise of Christianity, whether we believe in John 3:16 or not, to me is not Biblical or Christian. And is therefore, not truly loving if we are not teaching Truth.

    Engaging in the conversation is fine, as long as you are not compromising your beliefs along the way.

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