Archive for March 19, 2007

Emerging Churches & Southern Baptists Redux

Here is a link to Dr. Mark DeVine’s blog post where he discusses the emerging church as it relates to the Southern Baptist denomination (h/t Tall Skinny Kiwi). There is a link in this post to an article he wrote for the Midwestern Journal of Theology. In it he cites Bolger and Gibbs’ book, Emerging Churches: Creating Christian Community in Postmodern Cultures and Scot McKnight’s article from Christianity Today, “Five Streams of the Emerging Church: Key Elements of the Most Controversial and Misunderstood Movement in the Church Today.”

Interestingly he notes the emergent critique of evangelicalism is similar to several movements, including Methodism (something noted by Adam Hamilton some time back). Of course you will find yourself disagreeing with DeVine on several points about the emergent movement, but I still believe it is helpful to examine his look at the emergent movement.

In the end, I’m still confident that United Methodists have the right “DNA” to minister from the emergent paradigm and reach postmodern folks. It remains to be seen how these will fit into our structural arrangement with itinerant ministers and connectionalism.

March 19, 2007 at 11:12 am 2 comments

The Movement of the Father

Yesterday I preached on the Prodigal Son. I noticed something interesting that didn’t make it into the sermon, so I thought I’d post it here. There are two verses that really caught my attention.

So he set off and went to his father. But while he was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him. Luke 15:20

Then he became angry and refused to go in. His father came out and began to plead with him. Luke 15:28

Both verses emphasize the movement of the father. The father moves out to embrace the sinner, and he moves out to embrace the bitter firstborn. What does this tell us? This father isn’t passive. This is a father who won’t let his status stand in the way of reaching out to those he loves.

There can be no doubt that this is a reference to the God Jesus prayed to as Father. He reaches out to the flagrant sinner; he embraces the bitter hardworking firstborn. He does this all on the terms of those who are lost, rather than on the terms of his own status.

So, who are we called to be? We’re called to be those who “go,” and this shouldn’t be a surprise. After all, from Abraham to Jesus, God’s people have been called to go. Abraham was called to go and form a new nation blessed to be a blessing, and Jesus calls his disciples to go into all the world making disciples and baptizing them (Matthew 28:19). A missional God will lead to a missional Church.

March 19, 2007 at 4:53 am 9 comments


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