Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Why I'm Emergent: My Theology

If you like to read my blog for light reading or a challenging thought this may not appeal to you.
I feel it is importan to know what you believe and while I do not like fully associating myself with any umberellas of the Christian faith I feel an association with the emerging church and these beliefs.

A belief in the need for personal conversion
A high regard for biblical authority
An emphasis on the death and ressurection of Jesus
I encourage engagement with the arts
I encourgae sensitivity towards homosexuals

Theological rationality is not to be rooted in the authority of the individual (cogito ergo sum, "I think, therefore I am") but in the language and culture of a living tradition of communal life. The Christian faith be equated with the religious feelings nor the propositions of a rationalist or fundamentalist approach to religion. Rather, the Christian faith is understood as a culture and a language, in which doctrines are likened to a second-order "grammar" upon the first-order language and culture (practices, skills, habits) generated by the scriptural narrative.

I embrace the gifts of the Holy Spirit including glossolalia (speaking in tongues), healing, and prophecy. I encourage the practice of laying on of hands and the infilling of the Holy Spirit, however, unlike Pentecostals, I not expect a specific experience of baptism with the Holy Spirit as a requirement for those gifts.

Post-Modern Theology:
I challenge the modern church on issues such as: institutional structures, systematic theology, propositional teaching methods, a perceived preoccupation with buildings, an attractional understanding of mission, professional clergy, and a perceived preoccupation with the political process and unhelpful jargon.

Generous orthodoxy:
Some emerging church leaders see interfaith dialogue a means to share their narratives as they learn from the narratives of others.Some Emerging Church Christians believe there are radically diverse perspectives within Christianity that are valuable for humanity to progress toward truth and a better resulting relationship with God, and that these different perspectives deserve Christian charity rather than condemnation.

Authenticity and conversation:
creating a safe environment for those with opinions ordinarily rejected within modern conservative evangelicalism and fundamentalism. Non-critical, interfaith dialog is preferred over dogmatically-driven evangelism in the movement.

Communitarian or egalitarian ecclesiology:
Church is not an institution but a fraternity.
Church as interpersonal community.
Church as a fellowship of persons - a fellowship of people with God and with one another in Christ.
Connects strongly with the mystical 'body of Christ' as a communion of the spiritual life of faith, hope and charity.
Resonates with Aquinas' notion of the Church as the principle of unity that dwells in Christ and in us, binding us together and in him.
All the external means of grace, (sacraments, scripture, laws etc) are secondary and subordinate; their role is simply to dispose people for an interior union with God effected by grace.

I am also drawn to the idea of New Monasticism:

The Twelve Marks of new monasticism
express the common thread of many new monastic communities. These "marks" are:
1.Relocation to the "abandoned places of Empire" [at the margins of society]
2.Sharing economic resources with fellow community members and the needy among us
3.Hospitality to the stranger
4.Lament for racial divisions within the church and our communities combined with the active pursuit of a just reconciliation
5.Humble submission to Christ’s body, the Church
6.Intentional formation in the way of Christ and the rule of the community along the lines of the old novitiate
7.Nurturing common life among members of intentional community
8.Support for celibate singles alongside monogamous married couples and their children
9.Geographical proximity to community members who share a common rule of life
10.Care for the plot of God’s earth given to us along with support of our local economies
11.Peacemaking in the midst of violence and conflict resolution within communities along the lines of Matthew 18
12.Commitment to a disciplined contemplative life

And if you're still with me I believe in Substitutionary atonement ;)


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