Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Wednesday Wonderings

A couple of things I had filed away over the past week. Blue Like Jazz Debate: Apparently there's been some hassling going on about Mark Coppenger's recent lecture about Donald Miller's Blue Like Jazz. Timmy Brister and David Brandt posted two very different (though similar in some respects) reviews of the lecture, but both pointed at this review of the lecture, supposedly contributed to by Miller himself. Now, the biggest question for me is whether or not Miller actually did contribute to this article. It reads like some immature high school freshman's journal about how uncool and stupid he is compared to the glorious seniors. More disturbing is how Coppenger is caricatured by the author (authors?) and aspersions cast on his character. If Miller actually did write what's attributed to him, I'm not too sure I want to spend the time to read his book once the semester is over. Is this really the best that postmoderns can do? If all they can do when critiqued is throw mud, maybe they don't have as firm a foundation as they would have us think. Reminds me of the "Testimony Tussle" this blog recently experienced. Sad. Or as someone else said elsewhere in relation to Mark Driscoll, "if all you can take issue with is his tone rather than his content, why are you even bothering to argue?" These guys are real mature "Christians" if all they can do is throw mud at a seminary professor over a silly lecture. That brings me to a second thing I filed away: Emergent Movement: The boys at Fide-O have been looking at the Emergent Movement in this post and in others along the way. They presented a pretty good summary of what the Emergent Movement professes (according to Emergents themselves), and this sparked some volume of commentary. In the course of the meta, Jason Robertson recapped the points he listed as thus:
1. The emerging church phenomenon is exploring fresh ways to revamp and recontextualize the gospel message to postmodern people. The people are sovereign in the EC. They belive that we should edit (revamp) the message to match the people, rather than ask the people to change to match the message. 2. The emerging church phenomenon has placed a long-awaited emphasis on community and relational faith. The EC puts religion into Christianity, almost like cults rather than church. This is even evidenced in the way that they fight to protect their "personal beliefs." 3. The emerging church phenomenon has placed an emphasis on rethinking the modern church . . . its methods, its programs, its traditions, and its structure. The EC is very method-driven and steeped in pragmatism. 4. The emerging church phenomenon has placed a new emphasis on the Jesus of the Gospels opposed to the exclusive emphasis on the Jesus of Paul’s writings. The EC is anti-doctrine. 5. The emerging church phenomenon has placed a rightful emphasis on the importance of Body functioning. The EC is anti-authority. 6. The emerging church phenomenon has placed a new emphasis on the importance of narrative. The EC is filled with talk and no action. It is the Oprah generation who thinks just talking about it and telling your story heals the soul. *insert gag here* 7. The emerging church phenomenon has dumped the modern penchant to always be certain in answering every spiritual question under the sun. Instead, it has rested content to embrace mystery and paradox in our God. The EC is anti-intellectual. And the reason they do not like to answer questions because they do not like the answers. 8. The emerging church phenomenon has re-ignited a healthy interest in the Christian mystics who emphasized spiritual encounter over against mere academic knowledge of God and the Bible. Since objective truth is out of the question because of the anti-intellectualism, anti-authority, and anti-doctrine positions, the EC has turned to its only other option -- mysticism. Their religion is based upon their feelings. The people are sovereign and their feelings control them. And they will probably get really really mad at my comment and say that I just don't understand them. *insert group hug here*
That's a pretty strong indictment. While I might take issue with a couple of throwaway remarks in there, the more I read things from postmoderns, Emergents in particular, the more I find myself coming to the same conclusions Fide-O does here. Don't get me wrong, this movement is filled with good intentions and good people. But when Mark Driscoll (who has been pointed to as one of the originators of the "emergent conversation") distances himself from this movement, something isn't quite kosher. Now, I'm going to echo Brian McLaren's silly comment from a couple of months ago and say we need to seriously study this issue before making any pronouncements. I've deliberately withheld judgment on the whole Emergent issue for this reason--I've not read enough to know how I think one way or the other. But if what I have read is any indication, my final decision isn't going to be favorable. One More thing: Shane Morgan and I were talking at work last night, and he was telling me about Dr. Mohler being on TV last night to talk about comments by Pat Robertson and Franklin Graham about Islam being a "demonically inspired religion." I've been trying to find this show but can't think straight enough right now (I just got out of bed a couple hours ago) to find it. But the gist of the show (as Shane was telling me) was Dr. Mohler basically saying, "Um yeah, it's a demonic religion. You thought I was pluralist or something silly like that?" That was great. I wished I'd seen it. Dr. Mohler has been a staunchly consistent defender of the exclusivity of the Gospel, and it makes my heart warm to know that he's responsible for the high view of Scripture our school espouses the instrument God used to get a high view of Scripture here. Praise be to God. Anyway, just wanted to clear the brain of a couple of stray thoughts. Join me this weekend (hopefully Friday) as we delve into Limited Atonement!


Blogger Adam Winters said...

Great thoughts in this post, but I really think that the website was just presenting a hypothetical D.Miller response in a very tongue in cheek manner. Looks like one big satirical joke to me that might not have been made clear to everybody.

3/23/2006 12:18:00 AM  
Blogger Timmy said...

For what its worth, this is what Miller said on his website:

"There’s also plenty of light-hearted stuff, including my response to Mark Coppenger’s recent lecture criticizing Blue Like Jazz."

This quote can be found at:

Taking Miller at his word, the remarks were his. I get the satirical joke part of it, but don't get the reasoning behind it.

3/23/2006 01:53:00 AM  
Blogger Jason E. Robertson said...

I hope that final year is going well at SBTS! May God's grace be sufficient.

3/27/2006 09:04:00 PM  

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