Chicago Emerging Baptists

This site is intended to allow a forum for those in the NextGen Network of the Chicago Metro Baptist Assocition to continue their dialogue online and produce a resource for those interested in emerging topics.Please join in the conversation.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Emerging vs. Emergent

In his book, Confessions of a Reformission Rev. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2006), Mark Driscoll delineates between the 'emerging church' and the 'emergent church'. He says, "The emergent church is part of the Emerging Church Movement but does not embrace the dominant ideology of the movement. Rather, the emergent church is the latest version of liberalism. The only difference is that the old liberalism accomodated modernity and the new liberalism accommodates postmodernity" (21).

Driscoll was involved in the emerging church 'conversation' from nearly the beginning, but as time passed he had to distance himself from those who began using the term 'emergent', due to their doctrinal sloppiness. He would include in this camp people like Brian McLaren, Doug Pagitt, Tony Jones, and even someone like Rob Bell. It's not that they don't have helpful things to say, but that they go too far. Driscoll lists key points which such emergent-types typically balk at: (1) penal substitutionary atonement, (2) the sinfulness of homosexual acts, (3) the eternal torments of hell, (4) God's exhaustive knowledge of the future (i.e. denying Open Theism), (5) gender roles, (6) the inerrancy of Scripture. [To this I would add things like the exclusivity of Christ and even the Trinity(!)] Are these necessary truths or merely 'modern' conceptual constructs?

Are we using the phrase - Chicago Emerging Baptists - intentionally as a way of distancing ourselves from those who have taken contextualization all the way to syncretism? Would we identify with emerging leaders like Driscoll (see www.marshillchurch.org or www.theresurgence.com) or with McLaren (see www.emergentvillage.com)? Comments??

Personally, I believe that Driscoll sums up well what should be our approach - "holding in one closed hand the unchanging truth of evangelical Christian theology (Jude 3) and holding in one open hand the many cultural ways of showing and speaking Christian truth as a missionary to America (1Cor. 9:19-23)" (22).

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

What do scrapbooking, the Chicago Chamber Choir, knitting, stamping, Lord of the Rings Battle Strategy Games, archery, blogging, and Toastmasters all have in common? Absolutely nothing, except they are all things that my wife and I respectively enjoy doing. These hobbies of ours are actually becoming opportunities for us to build relationships with those in our community. Some of these relationships are evangelistic friendships in the making, others are deepening discipleship friendships, and some are still in the acquaintance stage.

I started developing some hobbies at the suggestion of an old mentor of mine. I have found them to be enjoyable and a good outlet for stress. But more than that, as he implied, they are excellent opportunities for relational ministry and evangelism. We have found this particularly true with our people groups. Indeed, these hobbies are one of the ways that Alana and I have found to balance our desires to be missionally incarnational (bringing the gospel to where people are at) and at the same time reflect the kind of sincere authenticity that is both personally healthy and appealing to postmoderns. To be a missionary to any people group you have to engage people in their daily activities, ministering to people in their daily lives. The postmodern people group, however, is very adept at discovering people who are feigning interest in something. They find any kind of personal fa├žade nauseating. As a result, to be missional with them you must examine their culture, find things you actually like, and connect with them in that way.

What are some activities people in your community enjoy doing? What are some of those activities that are both morally acceptable and personally enjoyable? What are some ways you could begin to develop relationships with your pre-Christian neighbors and co-workers? If relational evangelism truly is the most powerful evangelism in our changing culture, what are you doing to be intentional about building evangelistic or discipleship relationships? Hobbies can indeed be evangelistic opportunities.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Missional Parenting

My wife and I just had our first child. She's almost 2 months old now. As a result, I've been doing a lot more thinking about the daunting task of parenting. Several months ago I saw a title for a book that caught my eye - The Danger of Raising Nice Kids: Preparing Our Children To Change Their World by Timothy Smith (IVP, 2006). I purchased the book and have read most of it. The front cover says it all - a white, fashionably dressed, family of four standing in front of their stylish suburban home. The kids have bright smiles and appear well behaved.

Is this the American Christian Dream??

I don't just want to raise a "nice" kid that gets good grades and doesn't smoke pot. I don't wan't my goal for my children to just be: go to a good school, get a good job, marry a good spouse, and have "nice" kids. I want (to the best of my ability and with God's help) to raise my new daughter to "change her world." I want her to be a better missionary than I am. I want her to know the security of a mom and dad that loves her and a church community where she's safe and ultimately a Lord who has been a dwelling place throughout all generations (Ps. 89:1), but I also want her to know how to move adeptly in a culture that doesn't know God, how to be friends with someone who has a totally different worldview than her, how to go to parties where there are non-Christians and not feel totally awkward. I don't want to sacrifice my children, but neither do I want to shelter them. I want them to be missionaries who can critique and contextualize and bring the gospel to their world. I want my daughter to be as innocent as a dove, yet wise as a serpent (Mt. 10:16). And I want to parent in such a way that models this kind of missional mindset.

Everything must be missional. Including parenting.