Eddie and Sue Arthur

DA Carson on the Emerging Church

Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church: Understanding a Movement and Its Implications

If you are interested in the Emerging Church (note the capital letters), a Christian critique of post-modernism or a critical review of Steve Chalke’s new book, then this is probably a good place to start. The chapter titles give you a good idea of the content:

The Emerging Church Profile.
Emerging Church Strengths in Reading the Times.
Emerging Church Analysis of Contemporary Culture.
Personal Relections on Postmodernism’s Contribution and Challenges.
Emerging Church Critique of Postmodernism.
Emerging Church Weaknesses Illustrated in Two Significant Books.
Some Biblical Passages to Help Us in Our Evaluation.
A Biblical Meditation on Truth and Experience.

Carson points to some fairly serious theological weaknesses in the Emergent scene and this book doesn’t always make comfortable reading. I’ve not read enough by the Emergent authors myself to say whether or not I agree with the criticisms Carson makes, though he does document his sources very thoroughly, so I assume that his criticisms are accurate. That being said, I found that this book left me wanting more.

To be a little provocative: I am increasingly convinced that Churches whose primary mode of functioning is the traditional service (with the vast majority of people sitting in pews facing the front and one or two people teaching and leading from the front) are not going to make an impact on post-modern society. I think we need to seriously rethink how we experience church. I am not convinced that the pattern of service that dominates Church life in the UK and elsewhere is Scripturally ordained and I believe that a style of worship and teaching that is more dialogue and participation based is much more appropriate in our culture. This does not mean that I want to ditch the traditional service format, but I would like to sideline them somewhat in the life of the Christian community.

The reasons I am attracted to what I have read from Emergent is that here there is a group of people who are willing to reconsider how Christians should relate to one another and how they should grow and express their faith. However, as Carson points out, the Emergent school is not just rethinking the way that the Church lives out its life, they are also rethinking other areas which I am less comfortable with.

So, for me one big question remains unanwered. Is it possible for Evangelicals to radically rethink the way that the Church works while remaining Evanglicals?

I’ve tried to allow comments on this post, so if you feel that you would like to comment please give it a try.

This post is more than a year old. It is quite possible that any links to other websites, pictures or media content will no longer be valid. Things change on the web and it is impossible for us to keep up to date with everything.

Holiday Photographs

If you would like to see a few more of the Arthur’s holday photographs, you can do so by clicking here. There are a few panoramic pictures of Lake District scenes that I’m really pleased with, but there don’t seem to be many pictures of the family, David and I being particularly noticable by our abscence.

This post is more than a year old. It is quite possible that any links to other websites, pictures or media content will no longer be valid. Things change on the web and it is impossible for us to keep up to date with everything.

Missiological Myths

The AIM Summer Magazine has a number of excellent articles including one by John Brand, the UK director. On page ten of the magazine, John looks at the suggestion that the world needs the Western church in order to know God. In a short, but very instructive article, he points out the importance of cross cultural mission to the life of the church.

I am more and more convinced
that we need the rest of the world in
order to know God properly. What I
mean is this – the more we are
exposed to and interact with what
God is doing among the peoples of
the world, the greater will be our
appreciation and experience of the
grace and majesty of God.

There are a number of other articles in the magazine that are well worth a read.

This post is more than a year old. It is quite possible that any links to other websites, pictures or media content will no longer be valid. Things change on the web and it is impossible for us to keep up to date with everything.

Christians Quoting

Christians Quoting

I’ve often found helpful quotes for sermons and talks at Graham Week’s page which has recently moved to a new server. If like me, you can’t be bothered to read the complete works of Shakespeare, but you still want to quote the Bard, then Graham’s website is just the place for you.

This post is more than a year old. It is quite possible that any links to other websites, pictures or media content will no longer be valid. Things change on the web and it is impossible for us to keep up to date with everything.

Post-Christendom

I’ve just finished reading Post-Christendom by Stuart Murray. It’s well worth a look if you are interested in the state of the Church in the UK. The publisher’s blurb says

Drawing on insights from the early Christians, dissident movements and the world church, this book challenges conventional ways of thinking. For those who dare to imagine new ways of following Jesus on the margins, it invites a realistic and hopeful response to challenges and opportunities awaiting us in the twenty-first century.

Publishers are paid to say nice things about books, but in this case they are right. Murray starts from the standpoint that Christendom, the strong overlap and co-identification of the Church with the political and social power of the state which occured when Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire was not a good thing. His view is that over the years the Church has traded life and effectiveness for power and prestige. However, Christendom is in its death throes and the Church is losing much of the influence that it once held in Western Countries. Murray encourages us to grasp this new opportunity and to once again find the authentic, prophetic voice of the Gospel and to rediscover the true life of the Christian community, unencumbered by the trappings of state and tradition.

In some ways, this book comes to similar conclusions as The Shaping of Things to Come, which I reviewed for Facing the Challenge, but Murray takes a broader look at the issues and is less proscriptive in his solutions for the life of the Church. I very much appreciated that a lot of the argument in the book is presented in bullet points, making it easy to follow where he is going. Most chapters end with a series of discussion questions – I’d love to have some of those discussions if anyone is interested.

Murray gives less attention than I would have wished to the influence of Christendom thinking and attitudes on world mission – but you can’t have everything, and I am distinctly biased. All in all, it’s a good book and worth buying.

This issue of Christendom and world mission is high on my agenda this week because I’m due to give a seminar on the subject next week at a translator training course. I am convinced that Bible Translation, by valuing the local culture and promoting autonomy of the national church apart from the influence of expat missionaries, has the potential to be one of the least colonial/christendom aspects of modern missions. The role of the Bible translator is to give the local church the tools they need for growth and development on their own, not to stick around and lead the Church. When I get my seminar sorted out, I may post it here so that others can download it.

This post is more than a year old. It is quite possible that any links to other websites, pictures or media content will no longer be valid. Things change on the web and it is impossible for us to keep up to date with everything.

God Speaks To All People

For anyone who is interested, I’ve just developed a short web page with links to a presentation I’ve written for a Christian Conference later this week. You can download the Script, Powerpoint and a handout. There are also a number of links to resources which might be of interest. Though some of my sermons have appeared at Bible Today. I’ve not put many of my talks here on Kouya.net. You can find the new material here

This post is more than a year old. It is quite possible that any links to other websites, pictures or media content will no longer be valid. Things change on the web and it is impossible for us to keep up to date with everything.

Hello World

Welcome to this new section of the Kouya Chronicle. The idea of this ‘blog’ is that it should be easier to update our family news and photographs. It will be interesting to see if it works. I’ll also try and use this as a place to put some more profound thoughts and ideas, but they will have to wait until I have any. In the meantime, here is the Arthur family on top of Scafell Pikes, the highest mountain in England, in July 05.

The Highest Spaniel in England

You can tell from the shade of red we had all developed that we had picked the hottest day of the year for such a long walk. Not a good idea!

This post is more than a year old. It is quite possible that any links to other websites, pictures or media content will no longer be valid. Things change on the web and it is impossible for us to keep up to date with everything.
scriptsell.neteDataStyle - Best Wordpress Services