Philosophically bankrupt evangelicalism is no match for either modernism or post-modernism. Without the epistemological insights of a Bernard Lonergan or foundations in Aquinas or any pillar of Western thought, the evangelical’s world implodes with one intro class in modern philosophy. Enter the Emergent Church.
From Disengaging the Bible:
Brad Cecil has started blogging in defense of the Emergent church. He has a list of points that the Emergent church is founded on. I’m copying them here for discussion.
The Nine Foundational Pillars of the Emergent church
1. Post modern refers to the period after modernity. It appears to “us” that a significant epistemological shift is occurring – the likes of which we haven’t seen in 400 years.
2. Language is limited
3. Human concepts are limited
4. There is no place of irreducible certainty (foundation)
5. Considering the above it would be very difficult to convey absolute meaning using language and human concepts
6. Christian theology has become enslaved to the 1st order assumptions of modernity and is far more Cartesian than Christian and has become ashamed of faith
7. A Reformation of recognition and repentance is needed
8. New theological thought is needed to free Christian theology from the enslavement of modernity and enlightenment assumptions and conversation and friendships would be more productive than developing imperatives.
9. This is just the beginning of the transition and a great deal of work and theological thought lay ahead for those who desire to join the conversation
Catholicism has been dealing with these problems for over a century.
The insistence of many emergents that this is all something new and that it is “post modern” simply underscores the fact that evangelicals have been absent from the intellectual and academic developments of Western Civilization since Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason 221 years ago in 1787. If evangelicals are going to get educated, they will have to engage Catholicism’s answers to these “new” epistemological quandaries, or they will lose their faith entirely. If the above is what is emergent, then “church” will soon be a complete misnomer.
Evangelicals would do well to read Pope Benedict XVI’s Jesus of Nazareth where he addresses modernity and biblical interpretation with aplomb.