I am not a little out of the loop when it comes to the various labels that are assigned to today’s theologians. I never learned about ‘emergent’ theology in college. I never even heard the word ‘emergent’ until I started visiting this blog a couple of years ago. Then I read this and I realized that there was more to this story than I had been hearing; more to this theology than I had been taught.

What sort of theology is it, then, that would cause God to send such a shocking message to the ‘emerging church’ and, presumably, to those who practice ‘emergent’ theology? So many are so quick to label and be afraid of what they don’t understand. For a long time I was too. I used to comment and blog positively about SOL and AM three years ago. Then I learned the truth.

I’m not trying to open up a can of worms, or revisit those things that make us uncomfortable, but I am trying to discern what all the hubbub is about when it comes to theology and especially the emerging kind. The only reason I link to the above ‘essay’ is because the music I refer to below was written by a band who had a close association with the church and the pastor about whom the above ‘essay’ was written. See here. (And, to be sure, it happened a long time ago and has been hashed and rehashed here numerous times and I am not particularly interested in re-re-hashing it again. It is only a segue to the lyrics and theology below.)

So I was on my way home today, from Cleveland State, and I was listening to David Crowder Band, paying particular attention to the theology that undergirds his music. Here’s what I heard:

I am full of earth
You are heaven’s worth
I am stained with dirt, prone to depravity
You are everything that is bright and clean
The antonym of me
You are divinity
But a certain sign of grace is this
From a broken earth flowers come up
Pushing through the dirt

You are holy, holy, holy
All heaven cries “Holy, holy God”
You are holy, holy, holy
I wanna be holy like You are

You are everything that is bright and clean
And You’re covering me with Your majesty
And the truest sign of grace was this
From wounded hands redemption fell down
Liberating man

You are holy, holy, holy
All heaven cries “Holy, holy God”
You are holy, holy, holy
I want to be holy like You are

But the harder I try the more clearly can I feel
The depth of our fall and the weight of it all
And so this might could be the most impossible thing
Your grandness in me making me clean

Glory, hallelujah
Glory, glory, hallelujah
You are holy, holy, holy
All heaven cries “Holy, holy God”
You are holy, holy, holy
I want to be holy, holy God

So here I am, all of me
Finally everything
Wholly, wholly, wholly
I am wholly, wholly, wholly
I am wholly, wholly, wholly Yours

I am wholly Yours

I am full of earth and dirt and You

–David Crowder*Band,  A Collision, ‘Wholly Yours’

Yes, indeed. That is a theology that we should be frightened of, and one, I’m sure, the Lord himself finds profoundly offensive. This is a truly emerging, and offensive, Gospel.

There’s some blood for you.

“And ‘forty’ days was the number of years the people wandered in the wilderness, and a ‘kingdom’ of priests was God’s desire in Exodus 19, and ’suffering’ was what Moses said in Deuteronomy 30 had to happen so that the penalty could be paid for infidelity and the people freed for a new exodus.”

–Rob Bell, Jesus Wants to Save Christians, 95

There’s some profound ‘emergent’ theology for you.

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This entry was posted on Saturday, October 3rd, 2009 at 2:44 pm and is filed under Church and Society, Emergent Church. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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7 Comments(+Add)

1   nc    
October 3rd, 2009 at 4:59 pm

i think we just have to be careful about assuming that there is a coherent, cohesive “theology” that is “emergent”.

just like there are streams of “reformed theology”…

it’s like that whole “Why we’re not Emergent” book…

the problem right from the start was the subtitle: “From two guys who should be

nobody has ever said there are people or persons who “should be” emergent or anything else…

so it was a fart in the wind right from the start.

“emergent” is really about “practice/praxis”…and what that practice communicates theologically…

again, it’s not a definable, coherent systematic approach and never set out to be.

So it can’t be criticized for “not being systematic” when it was never part of the goal.

when people criticize “emergent” what they really need to do is criticize particular voices on particular points…because i think we’d be hard pressed to write off 100% of what any particular writer offers…and even if you did, you’re only really speaking about that author

even D.A. Carson of that paperback dung thing about “being conversant” admits as much and then still goes on to paint with a broad brush.

for all the tantrums over “truth”, you’d think people would have a little integrity…

but you can’t when “truth” is really a foil for “control”.

2   Neil    
October 3rd, 2009 at 5:26 pm

In a recent blog and broadcast from Ingrid and Chris R. they admitted that they were nit interested in distinctions and definitions.

That pretty much sums it up.

Now, if you bother with such things one would fine much to be concerned about as well as much to be encouraged by – ’tis the nature of the being Christian.

3   M.G.    
October 3rd, 2009 at 5:55 pm

I think that the “should be” comment is an implicit recognition that the emergent movement is as much cultural/generational as it is theological.

I’m constantly surprised by how many of the criticisms pointed at emergent-types focuses on appearance, and specifically, eyeglasses.

Who cares about eyeglasses? Apparently, a lot of people. I wear contacts.

4   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
October 3rd, 2009 at 7:39 pm

Just remember that Luther endorsed the murder of those who had different theology than him. It shouldn’t surprise us that those who idolize him treat those who disagree with them as such scorn. Perhaps we should consider ourselves lucky to be alive…

5   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
October 4th, 2009 at 9:00 pm

“And ‘forty’ days was the number of years the people wandered in the wilderness, and a ‘kingdom’ of priests was God’s desire in Exodus 19, and ’suffering’ was what Moses said in Deuteronomy 30 had to happen so that the penalty could be paid for infidelity and the people freed for a new exodus.”

–Rob Bell, Jesus Wants to Save Christians, 95

There’s some profound ‘emergent’ theology for you.

suffering…as in penal?

6   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
October 5th, 2009 at 8:35 am

Yes, I actually put a comment up about this a while ago when I first read JWTSC. Bell does advocate a Penal Substitution model in the book. He advocates a view that places in its correct covanental and historical context, though, unlike the neo-Reformed folks today who try to say that the Father is still pissed off and wants to kill everyone today.

7   Jerry    http://www.dongoldfish.wordpress.com
October 5th, 2009 at 8:51 am

It’s all rather brilliant, isn’t it Phil, when one reads a book and tries to understand what the author is saying.