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Ministry/Church Related
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Subject Topic: The Great Emergence, book by Tickle
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Tim P
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Posted: Feb-08-10 at 6:17pm | IP Logged  

I just read an interesting book called The Great Emergence, by Phyllis Tickle.  Anybody in the Shack read it.  If so, I'd be interested in interacting with you on it. 
I found the book to be pretty insightful as to where the Church (visible on earth) is coming from and heading to in the future.

Tim
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gregoryfl
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Posted: Feb-08-10 at 7:37pm | IP Logged  

Hey Tim,

I have not read the book, but am familiar with the roughly 500 year cycle with major Jewish events that is alluded to. If you wanted to interact on it, let me know. :)

Ron


      

What do you see when you look at me? Not the visible me that your eyes can see. For in Christ I am dead, yet alive and free. Free to be it all, as he lives in me.
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Simpleton
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Posted: Feb-08-10 at 8:39pm | IP Logged  

Hi Tim:

When I read your post I wondered if the title of the book indicated a relationship to "The Emerging Church" movement of which I am somewhat familiar. Some research online informed that indeed it does. On the Amazon site I was able to read some excerpts from it and found this one interesting:

"Literalism based on inerrancy could not survive the blow (though it would die a slow and painful death); and without inerrancy-based literalism, the divine authority of Scripture was decentralized, subject to the caprices of human interpretation, turned into some kind of pick-and-choose bazaar for skillful hagglers."

As much as I don't think inerrancy has suffered a fatal blow, the above statement does seem to accurately reflect what is being experienced in the visible church. We are cuurently going through the book of Revelation where this very thing is seen in every generation of the ekklesia starting with Origen and his attempt to synthesize the Gospel with the best of pagan philosphy.

In listening to "personal theologies" I'm finding more and more that what a person believes has as much to do with their personal preferences as it does with "objective" Truth (from God's side of the equation). Again a quote from the book:

"What, he said, if Jesus of Nazareth and the Jesus of Western history and thought are not the same?"

Even when we say things like "it's all Jesus" we often mean many different things! Anyway, as much as I'm pretty sure I will not end up agreeing with where the author of the book ends up, it looked to me that her survey of church history from a new age perspective, would be helpful in understanding the attraction of the emerging church and more importantly the plight of those who unknowingly get caught up in all this. For that reason I'm ordering the book tonight.

I'm tempted to go on but this is probably enough given I haven't even read the book yet! Tim, what are thoughts on the book as you read it?

Fred


      

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Tim P
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Posted: Feb-08-10 at 8:41pm | IP Logged  

Hi Ron.
It was the first time I had heard anything about 500 year cycle of events.

I am definitely coming from a Protestant, sola scriptura, scriptura sola perspective and have been frustrated over the past few years in trying to interact with some people who say that they believe that the Scriptures are inerrant and are our authority yet it when we try to discuss a particular passage it often comes down to an impasse from what they think the passage says and what I think it clearly says.  After reading this book I am beginning to understand why this is the case.  It's a matter of different views of authority and where we believe it comes from.  Sola scriptura... is not sufficient to explain this, though it has been what I have held to for so long.
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Tim P
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Posted: Feb-08-10 at 8:51pm | IP Logged  

Hi Fred.  I appreciate your jamming in on this and think you have drawn some quotes from the book that highlight what I was trying to explain to Ron but feel so inadequate to do by typing.

Why do you say her survey of church history is from a New Age perspective?  That did not stand out to me in my reading.  Not to say it may not be there.  I'm not that discerning on things like this.

In my experience in dialoguing with Christians on Genesis 1-11, in particular, I think that sola scriptura has indeed suffered a stunning blow over the past 200 years that I fear it will not recover.  The belief that God created in 6 literal days and that Noah's flood was a global catastrophe was widely held by the church until the advent of old earth geology.  But I have argued for what I believe is biblical integrity on these things with some until I was blue in the face and to no avail.  We use the same words, but they have completely other meanings to each of us.  And this is only one area.

Maybe your library has the book and you won't need to to buy it.  That's where I stumbled across it.
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Simpleton
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Posted: Feb-08-10 at 9:13pm | IP Logged  

Hi Tim:

I made the New Age connection simply because of the author's support of The Emerging Church which I think of as New Age. Perhaps a couple of years ago I was reading some strange ideas under the banner of Christianity which I was able to eventually source in New Age concepts. Since then, understanding New Age influence within the church has interested me but it is still very much a work in progress on my part so maybe after reading the book I will be of a different mind. I'll try to remember to update you after I read the book.

When I think of inerrancy, I simply mean that the scriptures say what God meant them to say. That isn't necessarily "literal" as such. That distinction is important as it keeps us from confusing type, shadow and symbol for Reality. The bible is a wonderful tool in the hands of the Spirit but can be quite dangerous in the hands of our imagination .

Thanks for the exchange,

Fred


      

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Tim P
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Posted: Feb-08-10 at 10:31pm | IP Logged  


Hey Fred.
I don't know a lot about the Emerging Church, but when I read the book I thought how the Shovel and Shack look what might be included in the Great Emergence.  Many who meet here have really no ties to a local body of believers nor is sola scriptura a big issue here.

Inerrancy means simply that the original autographs are without error.  However, in order to say that the Scriptures are without error demands first that we know and understand what they say, or what God said.  If we do not understand what they say or mean, then how can we say they are without error.  They just might be.  Follow me?

For example, Genesis 1 and Exodus 20:8 seem clearly to communicate that God created in six normal "evening and morning" days.  Is this right; did He?  If we concede that no one can know for sure then how can we say that they are without error.  I am not saying that this is what you believe or don't.  I'm trying to say that the whole demand that the Scriptures are without over error cannot be proven, even though I do believe they are without error.  Now is that confusing or not.

So, what place do the Scriptures take in our lives.  If they are not true in all points, then how can we be sure that they are a reliable shadow of reality at all.  These discussions seem to be very much a part of the Great Emergence and it seems to be going on all around us, like it or not.

Tim
 
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Simpleton
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Posted: Feb-15-10 at 6:14pm | IP Logged  

Hi Tim:

I have finished reading “The Great Emergence” by Phyllis Tickle. I also have briefly reviewed a book call “Everything Must Change” by Brian McLaren whom Tickle refers to as the Luther of the Great Emergence!

The content of the book, especially the historical survey, was quite interesting and I can agree with you when you write:  “I found the book to be pretty insightful as to where the Church (visible on earth) is coming from and heading to in the future.” However it also seems that the visible church she is observing is NOT the church that Christ is building. There was nothing in the book to indicate that she is involved with that church. So while her 500 year cycle theory might be valid, she says nothing of the scarlet thread of the true gospel of Jesus Christ that originated in the first century which God has woven through every generation right up to our day. There are several good books on this subject including “The Torch of the Testimony” by John Kennedy available through Amazon. It’s well worth reading.

This supposed “Great Emergence” doesn’t just challenge the authority of the Scriptures as you mentioned in your posts but also such things as the need for forgiveness of sins, the atonement & the second coming of Christ.  The crucifixion of Christ becomes a moral example of self-sacrifice and service.  The Emerging Church, for the most part, is universalistic welcoming other religions and practices under the guise of “all truth is God’s truth.” It is there that I made the New Age connection but it is probably more accurate to characterize the Emergent Church as the humanistic Borg assimilating everything in its path including New Age, Christianity and a pseudo-gospel.

A few years back I listened to an online lecture about how the historical death and resurrection of Christ was not all that relevant because what Jesus did on the cross was to “demonstrate” the path of growth through death and resurrection even implying that the process was necessary for  Jesus’ growth or maturity!

This morning I read a few words that so completely summarize my understanding of the Christian life: “it is simply the Gospel of Jesus in action, the original, authentic Gospel first changing a man’s life, and thereafter moulding all his thought.”  For me the changing of my life was the forgiveness of my sins, my co-crucifixion with Christ wherein my old self was crucified and I died to sin, the law, the flesh and the world. Paul says I am no longer of the flesh but of the Spirit. I’m in Christ and He is in me. We are in union. This is the foundation I stand on: Christ my life, I have no other. Standing on this foundation, He moulds my mind or as Paul says, renews my mind, so that I might increasingly be conscious of our union (transformation). That is the Gospel of Jesus Christ as I understand it and I’ll leave the Great Emergence to others!

Fred



Edited by Simpleton on Feb-15-10 at 6:15pm


      

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gregoryfl
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Posted: Feb-15-10 at 6:20pm | IP Logged  

Fred,

I appreciated your summary of the book, and find it discerning.

Ron


      

What do you see when you look at me? Not the visible me that your eyes can see. For in Christ I am dead, yet alive and free. Free to be it all, as he lives in me.
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Tim P
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Posted: Feb-18-10 at 12:24pm | IP Logged  

Hi Fred.  Sorry to get back to you late on this. We were on a road trip for a week.

Simpleton wrote:


The content of the book, especially the historical survey, was quite interesting and I can agree with you when you write:  “I found the book to be pretty insightful as to where the Church (visible on earth) is coming from and heading to in the future.” However it also seems that the visible church she is observing is NOT the church that Christ is building. There was nothing in the book to indicate that she is involved with that church. So while her 500 year cycle theory might be valid, she says nothing of the scarlet thread of the true gospel of Jesus Christ that originated in the first century which God has woven through every generation right up to our day. There are several good books on this subject including “The Torch of the Testimony” by John Kennedy available through Amazon. It’s well worth reading.

Tim: No, there's nothing in the book to indicate she is that involved in the propagation of the gospel and Church.  Yet, I think she has made some good observations and it seems at times that those who are not in the middle of the trees are able to see the forest much better.

This supposed “Great Emergence” doesn’t just challenge the authority of the Scriptures as you mentioned in your posts but also such things as the need for forgiveness of sins, the atonement & the second coming of Christ.  The crucifixion of Christ becomes a moral example of self-sacrifice and service.  The Emerging Church, for the most part, is universalistic welcoming other religions and practices under the guise of “all truth is God’s truth.” It is there that I made the New Age connection but it is probably more accurate to characterize the Emergent Church as the humanistic Borg assimilating everything in its path including New Age, Christianity and a pseudo-gospel.

Tim: The challenge of the authority of the Scriptures has been occurring in earnest for at least 200 years, already.  Consider the encroachment of old-earth interpretation of Genesis 1-11 during that time.  Before then it was widely accepted by Christians and Jews that the earth was no more than 5,000-6,000 years old.  Why did this change?  Better biblical scholarship?  No, science so-called, particularly the newer "science" of geology began to rule.  Psychology has also usurped the authority of the Scriptures in the eyes of many who would still swear on a stack of Bibles that the Bible was their authority.  I think Phyllis just makes astute observations of what is indeed occurring.  I agree, having been involved in teaching for some time.  I see these things even among missionaries.  What is becoming the "authority" for Christians? 

A few years back I listened to an online lecture about how the historical death and resurrection of Christ was not all that relevant because what Jesus did on the cross was to “demonstrate” the path of growth through death and resurrection even implying that the process was necessary for  Jesus’ growth or maturity!

This morning I read a few words that so completely summarize my understanding of the Christian life: “it is simply the Gospel of Jesus in action, the original, authentic Gospel first changing a man’s life, and thereafter moulding all his thought.”  For me the changing of my life was the forgiveness of my sins, my co-crucifixion with Christ wherein my old self was crucified and I died to sin, the law, the flesh and the world. Paul says I am no longer of the flesh but of the Spirit. I’m in Christ and He is in me. We are in union. This is the foundation I stand on: Christ my life, I have no other. Standing on this foundation, He moulds my mind or as Paul says, renews my mind, so that I might increasingly be conscious of our union (transformation). That is the Gospel of Jesus Christ as I understand it and I’ll leave the Great Emergence to others!

Tim: However, we will need to explain the Gospel and why we believe to those who do not hold to the same basis of authority we hold.

Fred

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Simpleton
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Posted: Mar-12-10 at 10:28am | IP Logged  

Just read an article on a website Mary directed me to. It is quite thought provoking and related to this thread. For anyone interested the link is http://freebelievers.com/article/the-coming-evangelical-coll apse-why-its-going-to-happen Any thoughts on it?

Fred


      

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Tim P
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Posted: Mar-12-10 at 1:37pm | IP Logged  

Simpleton wrote:
Just read an article on a website Mary directed me to. It is quite thought provoking and related to this thread. For anyone interested the link is http://freebelievers.com/article/the-coming-evangelical-coll apse-why-its-going-to-happen Any thoughts on it?

Fred


You may be interested in knowing that the author, Michael Spencer, is dying of cancer at the age of 53.  His website is http://www.internetmonk.com/.  There you can likely find the article you linked to in it's original posting and how he followed up to it.

I think what he wrote is somewhat related to the Great Emergence, but not exactly.  But I did not read Spencer's article fully again.  What do you think, Fred?
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Simpleton
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Posted: Mar-12-10 at 2:58pm | IP Logged  

Hi Tim:

Briefly, I found the article to be quite different from the Great Emergence in that the article, to me anyway, seemed to be addressing the decline of "Christianity without substance" as a vital force in North America while at the same time seeing a tough road ahead for the true church. In the Great Emergence I saw more of a vision that future Christianity was evolving and becoming more inclusive of just about everything. I'll read the article again when I get a chance...

I've bookmarked the Michael Spencer web site for later when I have more time - thanks for the link...

Fred


      

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