September 14, 2008

Emerging Church Fundamentalism

I wonder if the way the church is talked about in the emerging missional church (EMC) conversation is related to fundamentalism. Because the emerging church can be complex and multifaceted, I'm not necessarily talking about any one thing. As a matter of fact I'm not talking about a thing or doctrine at all, but rather a way of thinking. Truly that's what fundamentalism is, a way of thinking (as noted by Pete Rollins in How (not) to Speak of God).

Rollins describes fundamentalism as holding a "belief system in such a way that it mutually excludes all other systems, rejecting other views in direct proportion to how much they differ from one's own." From my own experience in the EMC conversation, it seems that many who are going through the deconstruction process or are simply in the conversation can be the most excluding group of people when it comes to ecclesiology, writing off in a reactionary fashion any forms of the modern church.

Could it be possible that we've been so careful to have a generous orthodoxy, that we cannot have a generous ecclesiology toward the churches and institutions that have parented our faith. In a forthcoming post I'm going to bring together the thought of Bonhoeffer who claims the church is revelation and thus Christ and Peter Rollins who claims that Christians must be a/theists and "not master theology but be mastered by it." Or maybe that Christians must not master the church, but be mastered by it.

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