A friend responded to my post, A New Convergence, by stating that what he read there doesn’t reflect biblical Christianity. He asks some good questions, and while I have my own thoughts (and will respond), I wanted to open it up to the broader community to respond, as so many of you commented that you really resonated with the earlier post. Please consider posting a thought, a link, or a comment in response to one or all of his points. Here we go.
Bryan, these observations are likely true about a new emerging spirituality. But this new convergence doesn’t resemble biblical Christianity. And that is awful sad. Feel free to get rid of the bathwater, but babies are cute and important.
Here are a few questions with comments sprinkled in for good measure. I’m afraid this will be long.
- What is orthodox, biblical Christianity? This is the kind of question that can and should be answered, because Paul was always interested in preaching, guarding, and passing on “the faith.” So what is “the faith”? This new convergence doesn’t seem to have a sense of this. It doesn’t have to be a bounded set; it can be a centered set, as Tim Keller and others have worked hard to show.
- Why is it arrogant to be certain? And when did being agnostic equal being humble? Wasn’t the NT written so we can be certain of specific spiritual truths? Faith isn’t some blind leap of faith; it is being certain of something not attained, “the *assurance of things unseen” (Heb 11:1). G.K. please step up to the mic: “Modesty has moved from the organ of ambition. Modesty has settled upon the organ of conviction where it was never meant to be. A man was meant to be doubtful about himself, but undoubting about the truth: this has been exactly reversed. Nowadays the part of a man that a man does assert is exactly the part he ought not to assert-himself. The part he doubts is exactly the part he ought not to doubt.” Indeed!
- What exactly is “the new convergence” converging around *that is new*? And what could be so new that thousands of years worth of fire-forged orthodoxy is lacking? I am baffled at how many proponents of the new convergence jettison parts of historic Christianity (yes, there is a strong and steady stream of this) for their own formulations. While evangelical conservatives have been arrogant, no doubt, it is hard to say that we are the only ones in view of this.
- Not a question here, but an observation. I am much more motivated and energized to love my gay neighbor, be civil to those outside the Christian faith, and embrace a prayerful orientation towards scripture (a few examples) when I meditate on, rejoice in, and live out of the historic Reformed truths of the gospel than when I read McLaren, Jones, Elnes, or yourself. So why should I bother with y’all? I guess there was a question there after all.
- How do you read the book of Acts, other than a wonderful story of the church exploding through bold, controversial preaching (of specific, historical truths) which shook up the world with persecution and turmoil? Did Paul and others forget to follow Jesus’ passive example before Pilate? Oops. Another related question: in what ways can believers imitate Jesus and in what ways is it impossible to imitate Him because of His unique place in the universe? The failure to see this distinction in biblical interpretation/application can be devastating.
- One more. I agree: claiming that I understand everything about God is arrogant and foolish. But isn’t fudging or rejecting uncomfortable scriptural teachings about God and the things important to God also arrogant? Ironically the latter is happening today far more than the former.
Thanks for reading and interacting. Peace.
He asks some great questions, and they deserve some thoughtful responses. Let’s give him some.