Saturday, January 27, 2007

Sell crazy someplace else; we're all stocked up here.

A well known acrostic is that of T.U.L.I.P., often referred to as the most beloved flower in the Lord's garden.

It refers to the "Five Points of Calvinism," which Spurgeon labeled a nickname for the Gospel.

But, were you aware of the new TULIP?

There is much discussion about the Emerging/Emergent church and what that entails and/or implies. Like most anything, there are some pros and cons, some good and some bad, some compliments and some criticisms.

This is a fun little whammy putting together some criticisms in another acrostic, the new TULIP.
Thanks to Steve Camp for
The Emerging T.U.L.I.P., pretending to be orthodox.

1. Total Ambiguity
Methodology over message
Truth is abstract; fluid, and liquid
Conversation over gospel proclamation
Ecumenism over doctrinal unity
Contantly inventing a new spiritual meta-narrative

2. Unconditional Pragmaticism
Seeker sensible and seeker sensitive
Whatever works—do it
Numbers justify everything
Program enriched
Felt need, culture-driven

3. Limited Theology
Doctrine diminished and not primary; it is the afterthought
Truth claims remain vague and undefined
No definitive agreed upon statement of faith
Very little biblical definition of ministry
Recommended reading lists of their networks remain liberal and pragmatic

4. Irresistible Contextualization
Truth must be adapted to and defined by culture
The audience, not the message, is sovereign
The focus is to be relevant and relativistic
Being missional is marked by methodological inroads, conversation, and cultural discernment of the times - not the proclamation of the gospel
Speak of the humanity of Christ in crude terms to make Jesus relatable over reverence of the transcendence of Christ

5. Postmodern Perverse Speech
Being known as the cussing pastor is good
Unwholesome talk is cultural not biblical
Coarse scatological speech is a matter of personal taste
It makes you cool to other Emerging/Emergents
If you challenge it, you are labeled as Victorian and out of date
This is an interesting take on the effects of postmodernism on the church, and I'm sure advocates thereof are not hearing such criticism for the first time.

It seems to me that postmodernism presents new challenges as well as new opportunities. As that's part of my dissertation research, I'll try to share some in this venue from time to time.

Personally, by way of preview, there is much to embrace with regard to postmodernism in what it is not. It is not modernism. The problem is that so much of our Christian worldview has been tainted by modernism that we tend to reject things because they're not modern, more so than because they're not Christian/biblical.

This is tantamount to the cry, "We've never done it that way before!" often heard in churches, a perspective we mock when we're not saying it.

The Emergent/Emerging church is one means of response to the changing trends in our world, but make no mistake ... your world has changed. The question is, do you need a new church? And, if so, what will it look like? What must change? What can never change?

Leaders of churches, in particular, must attempt to answer such questions. I love church history and love the good ol' days, but they're never coming back (if they ever were).

More to come ...


At 30 January, 2007 01:37, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find this new acrostic incredibly simplistic. Anyone can throw around generalizations and make them stick. That is why people fall for fortune cookies and horoscopes even though they are nonesense.

I am not defending the EC movement but Camp lumps Emerging and Emergent together. He clearly lumps McLaren in with Driscoll.

Just a few examples:
Under Unconditional Pragmatism
he says Seeker Sesible/Sensitive
Two of the first Emerging leaders Dan Kimball and Tony Jones have made it very clear that they reject the pragmatism of the seeker sensitive models that have built boomer mega-churches.

Limited Theology:
book lists are liberal and pragmatic , yet he gives no examples. In fact no where in the post does he give any examples. Except when others comment on Driscoll and Piper.

Pervasive Postmodern Speech:
Cussing is a postmodern development? Has he not read Paul's "coarse" language? In a response to a readers comment he references Isaiah 6:3-5, the unclean lips. This has nothing to do with the fact that Isaiah is repenting of coarse language. He is repenting of his sinfulness even as one who spoke on God's behalf. So the lips were the most obvious representation of total cleansing and needed cleansing before he could speak to God. Which he was about to do! But not because he used 'dirty' words but because his heart was wicked and fallen and as a sinner he needed to repent not of words only but thoughts and deeds as well.

Even though he claims to have read much of the movement his broad general brush strokes of say the missional movement in particular seemed very uninformed and patently wrong.

Paul contextualized the gospel to the Romans at the Aeropagus but now suddenly it was supposed to stop being contextualized in what the 1930's, 1950's, 1970's?

I do not agree with everyone in the movement and your comments say there are pros and cons. However, Camp only seems to see it as one big negaitve. I just wish with such a broad stroke he would have provided some references and examples.

At 30 January, 2007 07:48, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I'm looking forward to your future posts on this subject, especially as I think Steve has overreacted to the Emerging sector with over generalizations (i.e., the meaning of "missional").

At 30 January, 2007 18:03, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Alright Mister Hartman-

Let me get this straight,

Democrats just want to kill babies and give Cadillacs to welfare moms?

Republicans just want to make money for big business?

Reformed theologians just want everyone to live-out their God-given script as robots so there's no point in evening trying to witness?

All generalizations too gross to derive value from.

The smart part of your post was this paragraph:

"There is much discussion about the Emerging/Emergent church and what that entails and/or implies. Like most anything, there are some pros and cons, some good and some bad, some compliments and some criticisms."

It's a mix of good and bad. As for the discussion about what it entails and/or implies, what else would you expect for an ongoing phenomena unfolding?

Don't become a Johnny Mac on me, with the constant need for a bogey man (i.e. charismatics, Christian counseling, ECT, church growth movement, Willow Creek, Purpose-driven church, emerging church) to scare the supporters!

Still your friend!

At 30 January, 2007 18:45, Blogger GUNNY said...

According to Newton:
"For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction."
-3rd Law of Motion

According to Gunny:
"For every action, there is an equal and opposite overreaction."
-3rd Law of Emotion

At 31 January, 2007 12:05, Anonymous Michelle said...

I am still trying to understand the characteristics and differences of Emergent/Emerging and how to properly distinguish between the two; I look forward to future posts on this topic. I will say that I do not understand nor welcome this new trend of the "cussing Christian" but have found it present in many of my friends and acquaintances.

At 31 January, 2007 14:28, Anonymous Michelle said...

Check out my blog for preliminary thoughts and a feeble attempt at muddling through the vast world known as the emerging community. (just click on my name)


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