Saturday, January 14, 2006

Emerging Question #7

Q7 - How many emergents have actually read Reformation classics like John Calvin's Institutes or Martin Luther's On Christian Liberty or The Westminster Confession of Faith?

(This question is just as applicable for pre-emerging evangelicals.)

My point is not that any of these are infallible, or even beyond improvement. They do however, represent high water marks of Christian traditions in the past, and if we are serious about taking our past seriously, we should at least be reading them before simply dismissing them as products of modernity.

As one who actually appreciates both Calvin and Luther, I get a sneaking suspicion at times that many of my evangelical friends who simply dismiss Reformed theology as a product of modernism, haven't even read what they are disparaging.

It's kind of like the my daughter with something new on the dinner menu - she is sure she doesn't like it even before she's tasted it...


At 2:31 PM, Blogger jazzycat said...

The Bible is infallible and if and where the emerging church movement departs from this orthodox teaching, then it is into false teaching. The New Testament is absolutely full of warnings about false teaching and the need for discernment. My site has a link to my Photo Meditations which is based on reformed theology.

At 2:40 PM, Blogger Christian said...

Hi jazzycat. I'm not entirely sure I follow how your comments connect w/ my post. I _wasn't_ saying that the emerging movement thinks the Bible is fallible (I think most of them actually have a fair measure of respect for the authority of the Scriptures). My question was more along the lines of "Have any of them actually _read_ any of the reformed classics (or early church fathers)".

At 3:28 PM, Blogger jazzycat said...

I guess I was vague as I was trying to sugar coat my thinking on this movement. I am very suspicious of this movement when I read the kind of explanation they give about themselves from their own sites. Such as:

New ways to do theology!!! Replace systematic theology!!!
As you know the New Testament is full of warnings about false teachings.

At 12:01 PM, Blogger Dan Passerelli said...

I can't speak for others, but as one who resonates w/ a lot of what is being said by people in the Emergent US conversation, I'll give you my two cents:
I have read Calvin's Institutes (in the 1800's translation, no less) and find it helpful. I've read less Luther, though I have spent considerable time reading other reformed thinkers like John Owen and Jonothan Edwards.
One other interesting note:
I just returned from the 2006 Emergent Theological Conversation. Miroslav Volf was the featured theologian, and we had to read two of his books beforehand. In his latest book "Free of Charge", he makes considerable and favorable use of Luther, and specifically Luther's understanding of Justification as the free gift of God. Not that Volf is identified with Emergent, but he's a major theologian that the Emergent guys are listening to.


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