Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Why I am Southern Baptist, bible believing and into the emerging church

(Or a Biblical word of encouragement to tallskinnykiwi and a Biblical word of admonition to the notion that the Emerging Church is a threat to the gospel).

OK, I pastor a Baptist church and I live in in Southern Hemisphere. This clearly makes me a Southern Baptist and able to enter the debates here and here. I note the following Biblical texts, that have converted me to being a Southern Baptist emerging church disciple.

Firstly, (we are post-Easter after all), take Luke 24 and the Emmaus Road story. Jesus preaches, and the disciples don’t get revelation. Jesus preaches the Prophets and the Law. I mean, that is one BIG expository sermon. And still the disciples don’t get it. It is not until they are in community with Jesus, eating supper, that Revelation occurs.This Biblical text calls for repentance from expository preaching and a commitment to finding God in community. (Don’t get me started on Biblical scholarship that suggests the two disciples were husband and wife and thus woman were equal participants at the table of Jesus.)

Secondly, take Colossians 1:15. Christ is the Image of God. Move over word-bound, propositional theologies. Christ can also be revealed in images. This Biblical text calls for repentance from solely word-bound, propositional theologies and a commitment to image-based, multi-media worship.

These Biblical texts have converted me to being a Southern Baptist emerging church disciple. I have repented of my expository preaching. I am seeking a Bible based ministry of multi-media worship, sharing food among a community of friends.

Posted by steve at 11:09 PM

15 Comments

  1. im southern too, but living in the north

    Comment by andrew jones — March 31, 2005 @ 1:30 am

  2. I guess I would argue that Jesus’ preaching on the Road to Emmaus provided the content of the revelation, while the experience in community provided access to that content. It does not seem to be an either/or but rather a both/and. Either extreme (word-bound or experience-bound) gets us into trouble.

    Comment by Laura — March 31, 2005 @ 6:36 am

  3. Laura,
    Firstly, structurally, the revelation in community is the centre, the heart, of the Emmaus narrative;
    a – 2 disciples depart Jerusalem
    b – Jesus comes
    c – Jesus not recognised
    meal and conversation
    c – Jesus recognised
    b – Jesus disappears
    a – 2 disciples return to Jerusalem

    Secondly, the verbal repetition of “with us/them” (3 times) enhances a community argument.

    Thirdly, the “heartburn” in Luke 24:32 can also be translated “veiled” or “blinded” ie as Jesus preached/as we got content were our hearts not veiled – in contrast to the revelation in community at the centre of the text.

    Fourthly, I could dump a whole lot of commentary/scholarly quotes if you really want.

    Does that help? steve

    Comment by steve — March 31, 2005 @ 11:24 am

  4. So after Jesus preaches an expository sermon He commanded people to repent of expository preaching? Should Jesus repent?

    Comment by Roger N Overton — March 31, 2005 @ 6:23 pm

  5. Yes, Roger, he realised that he should have stuck to all those tricky parables that he used so well earlier in the gospels!

    More seriously, your reply does show me as guilty of a slight use of hyperbole in asking for repentance from exposition. I repent (of hyperbole)! but remain committed to the Biblical exploration of revelation through community, narrative and parable.

    Are there any others who use exposition only also brave enough to join me in acts of repentance?

    Comment by steve — March 31, 2005 @ 9:07 pm

  6. First off, thanks for stirring stuff up.
    Second, I stand by (and may expand upon) my original argument that Jesus’ preaching was the content. Two reasons (at least).
    First reason, structure:
    A (v13-14) two disciples talk to each other about Jesus
    B (v15-16) two disciples are kept from seeing the appearing Jesus
    C (v17-27) their non-hearing is exposed, rebuked, and corrected by Jesus’ words
    B’ (v28-32) two disciples see the disappearing Jesus and his words in the breaking of the bread
    A’ (v33-35) two disiples talk to others about Jesus

    Their non-hearing is called ‘foolishness’ by Jesus in v25, which ties in well with the parable of the rich man and Lazarus in chapter 16–if they don’t listen…they won’t believe. The structure of the entire chapter supports the connection between seeing/hearing and believing (I may post this on my site).

    Second reason, the term kaio. Having read every occurence of the term in the LXX and NT, the translation as ‘veiled’ does not hold up. In every other instance, the term is used in the context of fire or light.

    I also “remain committed to the Biblical exploration of revelation through community, narrative and parable”.

    By the way, I happen to be working on a philosophy of ministry and our discussion has added a heap of fuel. Great stuff!

    Note: feel free to post some of those scholarly quotes… ;-)

    Comment by Laura — April 1, 2005 @ 3:42 am

  7. “but remain committed to the Biblical exploration of revelation through community, narrative and parable.”
    So there has never been revelation outside of community, narrative, and parable? What do you mean by community and narrative? (I’m just trying to figure out where you’re at.)

    Laura’s right about kaiomevn. I know of no usage even outside the NT in which it means “veiled” or blinded.” Kaiw is the common word for fire. The plain reading of the text is that the disciples experienced something when Jesus taught that they could only express as a burning in their heart (Thayer’s says this means “they were greatly moved”).

    Also, there’s no indication that the disciples did not understand Jesus’ “sermon.” Rather, it appears that when they went back to the other disciples they repeated what Jesus told them (v35). Is this not revelation?

    Comment by Roger N Overton — April 1, 2005 @ 8:06 am

  8. “but remain committed to the Biblical exploration of revelation through community, narrative and parable.”
    So there was never any revelation outside of community, narrative, or parable? What do you mean by community and narrative? (I’m just trying to figure out where you’re at.)

    Laura’s right about kaiomevn. I know of no usage even outside of the NT that means “veiled” or “blinded”. Kaiw is the common word for fire. The plain reading of the text is that the disciples experienced something they could only describe as a burning in their heart, or according to Thayer’s, “they were greatly moved.”

    There’s no indication that the disciples did not understand the “sermon.” Rather, it appears that they repeated what Jesus said when they returned to the other disciples (v35). Was the sermon not revelation?

    Comment by Roger N Overton — April 1, 2005 @ 8:10 am

  9. Sorry for the double post. It didn’t show the first time so I though I had to re-write it.

    Comment by Roger N Overton — April 1, 2005 @ 8:11 am

  10. Roger you write “There’s no indication that the disciples did not understand the “sermon.” I wonder if we are reading the same bible? In v.31, after breaking the bread it reads “Then their eyes were opened.” and then in verse 35 the disciples explain “how they recognised the Lord when he broke the bread.” Surely that’s Jesus being revealed around table?

    And Laura, I don’t get your assertion of a rebuke for non-hearing when Jesus rebuke comes before he starts preaching (v.27).

    And I am enjoying hearing the pages of the Bible rustle and turn, yes – on a Emerging Church website – I must be a bible believing Southern Baptist :) tee he

    Comment by steve — April 1, 2005 @ 9:50 pm

  11. The revelation you’re referring to is them realizing it was Jesus speaking to them. That has nothing to do with whether or not they understood the sermon. Aren’t the words of Jesus just as valuable as fellowshipping with Him?

    The “rebuke” in v25-26 is for disbelief, not for non-hearing. They heard and repeated the content of what had happened, they had fellowshipped with Jesus for three years as His disciples, and yet they did not believe. That’s why they’re called foolish. Blessed are those who believe without seeing (John 20:29).

    This is the first discussion of a passage I’ve had with someone in emergent. Thanks :)
    (I ordered your book from Amazon last night)

    Comment by Roger N Overton — April 2, 2005 @ 5:33 am

  12. Actually, the rebuke of which I spoke was for not hearing the testimony of the women and of the prophets. Verses 1-12 support the focus on hearing versus non-hearing by contrasting the response of the women with the response of Peter and the other disciples. The entire chapter has a lot to say about the necessity of recognizing God’s Word and responding in faith. (btw, by hearing and seeing, I do not mean perceiving with the ears and eyes, but with the heart; I think the passage–and all of Luke–support this).

    This passage is definitely on my study list now. It’s odd how you read something a number of times then all of a sudden you see it… kind of like the two, eh?

    Comment by Laura — April 2, 2005 @ 5:56 am

  13. Roger, I’m glad you’re finding this discussion helpful (and my family are glad you’ve ordered my book.) Part of the reason I posted was because I was concerned about a stereotype of emergents as not being bible-based or able to dialogue or gospel focused.

    I would be very uneasy about separating the words of Jesus and the recognition of Jesus as present Risen Jesus. It feels like a dualism. I am certainly happy to concede (as I have done above in the comments) that the Lukan text does not negate exposition.

    But surely you have to agree that the text supports the Risen Jesus being recognised among food and in the community of friends. Thus threads of the emergent movement, that might meet in homes, or move toward dialogical preaching or embrace hospitality and food as key spiritual disciplines are in fact biblical manifestations of the Emmaus text.

    Comment by steve — April 2, 2005 @ 4:32 pm

  14. Laura, if you are going to widen the discussion to all of Luke, then you need to consider that time and again in Luke, Jesus speaks life and truth around food. Truth in community. I have preached about this in relation to the Emmaus text here – http://www.emergentkiwi.org.nz/archives/writing/jesusandfood.PDF- and it is also in my book – out of bounds church.

    Comment by steve — April 2, 2005 @ 4:37 pm

  15. Steve,

    I totally agree on truth being preached in the context of food and community (in fact, this is the normal practice in my ministry with collegians). I guess I see that as an overaching truth in Luke (along with his highlighting Jesus’ reaching the outcasts), while the focus of chapter 24 seems to be comprehending that truth and then telling others about it. I’ll definitely look at the pdf, and have put your book on my wish list for summer reading.

    Thanks for the great discussion, as always.

    Comment by Laura — April 5, 2005 @ 3:40 am

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