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Apr 21, 2008


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I've enjoyed reading this series very much, Michael. I think your "suicide machine" comment is spot on, and I remain concerned about the political siren song by which McLaren (and so many emergents) seems to be mesmerized. The faith expressed (whether explicitly or implicitly) in human institutions, centrally controlled or constrained economies, etc. is a bit bewildering given both their historical track record, as well as the Christian view of human nature.

Michael W. Kruse

Thanks Van. You hit one of the more perplexing aspects of this for me. The critique of the "institutional church" by many emergent folks leads them to a free church ecclesiology. Yet asking the same question of economic-governmental aspects of society you would think a great many emergent folks would end up as raging libertarians. Instead, they swing just the opposite direction toward centralized institutions. I’m still listening and learning, trying to understand why this is.

For me, emergent feels very much like a free church movement with a squarely Mainline (I’m PCUSA) view of social justice.


I think that perhaps the most straightforward way to at least understand (not logically resolve) this rather glaring inconsistency is to view the emergent movement as a political movement as much as it is theological or ecclesiological. If one adopts the working theory that McLaren and his followers as motivated by a desire to displace, or at least offer an alternative to the religious right to evangelicals, then both the critique of the institutional church and it's traditional doctrine, and the rather left wing view of economics and government would follow. It's just a working hypothesis, mind you...

Michael W. Kruse

Something like you describe has been my sense of it as well. But I keep thinking I must be missing something.

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