Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Pyromaniacs Emergent "Church" Posters




I think these posters are witty and are pointing out the obvious deterioration of theology in the "emerging" movement. At team pyro each poster had a link to an Emergent article or blogsite to go with the label. You can see them all by clicking here.

11 comments:

TheChristianAlert.org said...

Hi Bob,

This is an excellent post. These pictures are worth 1000 words.

I may borrow the idea for a post.

Edgar

melissajacob said...

what i often hear in this blog is that christians who aren't like you are deficient: catholics, methodists (arminians), emergents, narrative theologians, whomever. probably mennonites are somewhere in there, too. would you say that calvanism is the only truly acceptable system of religious thought? because that's certainly what it sounds like.

Richard Dawkins said...

My grandfather was a Presbyterian. The particular sect of advocacy is perhaps a trifle irrelevant, as to the wider point. The posters while venturing into the utterly irreligious field of the political spin-doctor, may impact upon the unsullied minds with some desired effect, albeit bemusement in many cases, I suspect. I congratulate these churches for their remarkable facility for adaptation when beset by the ever-marching eternalistic strand of time.

Bob said...

Hey Melissa,
no need to get all upset, if you have something to say in defense of emergent theology that is fine I am all about free discussion here and am fine with people using the post-modern explitive phrase: "You are Wrong", I still believe in the right to criticise. As for the emergent I certainly view it aberrant because of the many central truths that are denied by emergent leaders. Things like the substitutionary atonement, the reality of hell, the wrath of God...you know those things that are in the Bible the natural man does not like.

Now I am not saying that all people in different traditions are not Christians, that is NOT what I am saying. I know there are emergent types or even Catholics who are indeed part of the body of Christ. That is not the issue and never has been. The issue is whether or not these theologies are in error. It seems that you are embracing a pluralism where people who say "X is error or Y is heresy!" are the narrow minded intolerant jerks who don't have the intelligence to see the beautey of the numerous faith traditions and accept everybody. I am fine with being the jerk and having people not like me if that is what standing for the doctrines in the Bible over against the perversions makes me. (For example I don't think you can be in anything BUT error when you say hell is just a Middle age construct like Brian MacLaren) Perhaps you should read the articles by these emergent folks and get a feel for what these posters are objecting to.

As for Calvinism being the only acceptable view of Christian thought...Well yes I would say Calvinism is the only true view of Christian thought (on soteriology and the sovereignty of God) that's why I am a Calvinist. But again what I am not saying is that in order to be a Christian you need to be a Calvinist.

Hey Richard,
Well yes I thought the poster were rather funny. Although I am fine with adaptations of the gospel to different times and cultures what I object to in the emergent is in the name of "adaptation" they are abandoning the gospel message.

melissajacob said...

One of my favorite Augustine quotes is "in essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty and in ALL things, charity." It's a great reminder to me that even one of our great church forefathers believed some things were non-essential (and especially for Augustine, this means a lot!).

Sometimes this blog doesn't seem to uphold Christian unity and in fact degrades it. Like the time you said that emergents consider Jesus on the Cross "child abuse" and that Catholics worship Mary. Those things are essentials (you shall have no other gods before me, Jesus died for your sins). That those things aren't true is painful because saying that also makes those traditions heterodox. But maybe you did read this somewhere. If so, it would also be good to see some peer reviewed materials to support them.

Since the first century there have been different expressions of Christianity that look even more estranged than Calvinism, Methodism and Anabaptism. The Petrines, the Marians, the Johannine community, the Pauline tradition. Diversity (not anything-goes) has always been a part of the Christian tradition. That's a pre-modern phenomenon, not post-modern wishy-washiness.

I've noticed that anyone who differs from you is immediately labeled post-modern. I'm not a post-modern; I'm not an emergent. But I do see the goodness and the draw in other-than-Mennonite traditions, just as I can appreciate why Calvinism is important to you (it's a closed system that at least appears to account for everything and in that sense is very safe).

Bob said...

Well Melissa I agree and disagree with what you are saying, firstly my intentions with this blog is to bring up issues that I am personally thinking about and to have discussion/debate with differing view points. Now I am sure I am just the big meanie who picks on people who disagree with me to many readers and I am fine with that. I however think it is not true, as far as emergent theology I actually removed the link to one of the Christian resarch blogs "Slice of Laodicea" because I felt it was simply not being fair to the emergents and censored them from having a voice. They would criticize the emergents then censor their comments. While I agreed with much of their expose work I found this to be unsavory and counter productive and removed the link. (I even had a post on it and stuck up for the emergents)

I have also had posts declaring what I in fact think is good about emergent theology (it's emphasis and hunger for community and autheticity). However, I find much in emergent theology to be way out of the Biblical stream. I certainly agree with the Augustine quote, but what seems to me to be the new mantra for our age is: "There are no essentials, and in non-essentials liberty."

As for this "unity" business, I am all about it and seeking to overcome truly non-essential barriers to fellowship. However, I think "unity" has become this purely mush word and even at times used to shut the mouths of guys like me who are "valiant for truth" (Jer 9:3) and pointing out the error of heretics who want to be united to the church and spread their doctrine.

Mainly I take the course of action I do (and feel free to criticize other views) because I see that we are called to in the new testement:

"O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called "knowledge," for by professing it some have swerved from the faith. Grace be with you." (1 Tim 6:20-21)

" Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened. They are upsetting the faith of some." (2 Tim 2:14-18)

These are solemn warnings from the soon to die apostle Paul to guard the good deposit from error. He not only charges Timothy to watch his own doctrine carefully but even to resist certain fellows whose teaching would corrupt the church. Paul NAMES THEM, thus cause a division. He says there talk if left unchecked will spread like gangrene. Timothy is charged to avoid these fellows.

The point I am getting at is that there is a unity which is always to be sought, we are to look beyond things like socio-economic background, gender, ethnicity, even non-essential differences in doctrine. However, we are being disobedient if in the name of "unity" we allow heresy to spread like gangrene without checking it.

That said I don't mind being divisive, our Lord Himself said He came not to bring unity but a sword dividing people. I know, I know it was His prayer for us to live in unity but it is reductionistic to cry "unity!" and not with and equally loud voice cry "heresy!".

Moving on from the unity issue you wrote:

"Like the time you said that emergents consider Jesus on the Cross "child abuse" and that Catholics worship Mary. Those things are essentials (you shall have no other gods before me, Jesus died for your sins). That those things aren't true is painful because saying that also makes those traditions heterodox. But maybe you did read this somewhere. If so, it would also be good to see some peer reviewed materials to support them."

Well I am not sure that you will get peer reviewed material on Brian MacLaren's view of hell and the atonement, but if you are interested it is not all that hard to figure out what he has said on those matters. As for the Catholic issue of Mary worship, the frank reality is that they do worship her. I know they wont say that and will emphasize the distinction between idol"dulia" and idol"latria" and thus they feel free to erect statues and shrines and bow down to them and offer up petitions to Mary. This of course just LOOKS like they are in rank violation of the 2nd commandment...they really are not. If ind a similar situation in Mark ch 7 where the Pharisees nulified the 5th commandment with silly distinctions on par with latria and dulia.

"Since the first century there have been different expressions of Christianity that look even more estranged than Calvinism, Methodism and Anabaptism. The Petrines, the Marians, the Johannine community, the Pauline tradition. Diversity (not anything-goes) has always been a part of the Christian tradition. That's a pre-modern phenomenon, not post-modern wishy-washiness."

Again, I know there have been multiple views of interpretation prior to the advent of post-modernity, that isn't what I am getting nor has it ever been. Pluralism is not unique to post-modernity. What is unique to postmodernity is that within that pluralism there has been an errosion of absolutist claims like "X,Y, and Z are all in error...view A is the correct interpretation." This is the classical thesis and antithesis view of truth which really has been erased in our day.

For anybody to make an absolute claim is to commit the pomo blasphemy and will result in anathema's from all directions. Basically, the difference is that in a pre-modern world that saw truth in antithesis and thesis differing truth claims were competing. Now, the thesis antithesis distinction has been erased and the truth claims are no longer competing but are all equally valid views and subjectivity reigns.

In christian theology it is taken the form of a kind of all inclusive (almost ecumenical) view of the differing traditions of theology. Looking with disdain at guys like me, who criticize Catholic theology though I am not a Catholic.

That is the view of truth that I have been getting at, you seem to be hinting at the latter, that Catholicism, Anglicanism, Rastafatianism, Emergentism really are all different views and are equally valid, it would be rather narrow minded to say something like "All of the above are in error and Lutheranism is in fact correct." Is that what you are saying?

That is what I see as the backdrop of your critique of my critiquing these other views.

As far as being post-modern I think we really all are to a degree, it is the air we breathe. You also are making these sweeping statements about what I do, I don't just willy nilly label everybody who disagrees with me post-modern, that is simply unfounded Melissa. But when somebody starts erasing the lines of thesis and antithesis and hinting that all views are really valid, and you shouldn't criticize other views...well...

Bob said...

Perhaps the "HUMILITY" poster is applicable here?

Bob said...

I do believe that this is where one of our past discussions was ended...with me asking whether or not you think anyone is justified to critique other camps of theology and say that the one they hold is correct and the others are incorrect, (the way you have reacted to some of my critiques seems to imply that you don't think anyone has the right to claim "the true" view and we need to embrace all views) we came to this juncture before only to suddenly find that you didn't want to talk about it anymore.

I am not trying to pick a fight or anything it's just that on two seperate occasions our discourse ended with you remaining silent on this question.

Again I am completely open to being criticised and even taking things I have said back when shown to be wrong, that is why unlike a lot of jerk bloggers I do not moderate my comments and take out the ones I don't like. However, I always find the criticism that I shouldn't be engaging in criticising other theological camps to be a bit odd.

Tim said...

Bob,
These posters sadden me. Actually, the make me feel sick to my stomach. The attitude behind the mockery of these posters shows so little of Jesus, and so little of the grace and mercy we are given by the cross.

While you may not agree with some of the ideas behind the themes that are being mocked, many of them stem from a motivation to reach people with Jesus, and especially to reach them in a new medium than the traditional church that, in some way or another, caused hurt in the past. Like the medium or not, people are coming to the cross. Not everyone can appreciate exegesis. Not everyone is able to follow a modern apologetic argument/debate. Some need stories (parables?) like Jesus taught. Some need to hear about the kingdom of God in terms of farming, fishing, or relationships.

The most saddening thing about these posters is that most of them mock the people who need the love of Christ the most.

Bob said...

Tim, I hear you to a point, but I also think our generation has this effeminate view of Jesus where he never said things to make fun of people in there error. I think there is a righteous mocking, it's goal is to show the folly of the position held by those in error with the hope that they would see it and turn. You see this throughout the Bible as well as in the teachings of Christ, some of my favorite examples are these:

Elijah with the prophets of Baal, you know the scenerio, these lunatics are jumping up and down shouting and cutting themselves hopiong their false god would answer them and burn up the offering...it is a pathetic scene and Elijah responds by mocking:

"And at noon Elijah mocked them, saying, "Cry aloud, for he is a god. Either he is musing, or he is relieving himself, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened." (1 Kings 18:27)

Perhaps Baal is going to the bathroom...maybe that is why he hasn't answered.

The apostle Paul in writing to the Galatians who were being harrassed by those who would have believers circumcised in order to be justified, says that he wishes those who were teaching this heresy would go the rest of the way...

"I wish those who unsettle you would emasculate themselves!"(Gal 5:12)

Now I could put up more, and perhaps this will warrant a full post but suffice it to so that Biblically there is a place for a righteous mocking. As for the posters themselves, I don't see what is so sickening about them...

I do want to say when you write this:

"While you may not agree with some of the ideas behind the themes that are being mocked, many of them stem from a motivation to reach people with Jesus"

I hear you. And I am completely supportive of bringing the gospel message through new avenues to unreached people. However, the issue seems to be that in the name of doing what you described the gospel is molded into a palatable message so that people who otherwise would hate it can now stomach Jesus, because this new Jesus doesn't really care who they sleep with, what kind of language they use, how they spen their time etc.

"The most saddening thing about these posters is that most of them mock the people who need the love of Christ the most."

Well, I don't think the issue being raised is aimed at further isolating the numerous grungy sub-cultures there are but rather the low-brow method of trying to "reach" these people by basically abandoning the parts of the Christian message they don't like.

Now I know that is not what you are advocating but that is what is happening.

Tim said...

Bob, isn't it interesting that the agitators that Paul is referring to are some of the original apostles who are leading the church in Jerusalem? They sent people to the Galatians to try to get them to follow the Law, and got Barnabas caught up in it all, too. What is one of the most interesting I have learned reading the book An Emergent Theology for Emerging Churches (see my comment on my page, too) is that the elements of this example in Galatians shows that Paul was spreading a gospel based on divine revelation alone, and not first hand testimony like the apostles. The apostles were stuck trying to remain Jewish and Messianic, while Jesus revealed to Paul that the gospel was beyond the Law of Moses. So while the church in Jerusalem was trying to remain within the Law of Moses and the fulfillment in Jesus, Paul recognized that the covenant really started with Abraham, who was a Gentile given grace before becoming circumcized, thus ending the requirement of the Law.

Seeing the dichotomy and contrasts between what Paul was preaching and what the apostles were preaching is revealing in today's world when we have infinitely more gospels being preached (sadly). This is even more reason why we need to go back to the original gospel, and not dependent on all of the various theologies that have come from the past 2000 years. The first one will do just fine. I don't need Wesley, Calvin, the Arminians, etc. I just need Jesus.