John Piper addresses “Emergent Christians” at last weekends Desiring God conference, which I blogged about back in February. Sounds like the conference was a big success and a boon to reformed folk - especially in light of their current trendiness. Piper has a warm tone and fatherly heart for the “emergents” in the audience and his message deserves to be heard, even if his description of the “postmodern mind” does not fit. It doesnt fit me either, but there is still value in listening.
- John Piper's address for emergents is online. The MP3 has far more detail and includes some healthy banter with Mark Driscoll - who was also presenting.
- All conference talks are available here [Thanks guys]
- Challies blogged the conference.
My take after listening to John Piper's message:
- It sounds like Piper is addressing those who
a) minimize propostitional truth and biblical theology.
b) don't believe in hell or penal substitution
c) those in the Emergent Village group in USA and probably not the global emerging church movement (D.Dash is asking)
- I feel expository preaching is not the only way to preach. I agree with Tim Keller's comments on this, recorded in a recent interview with Justin Taylor.
- I was assuming that their definition of postmodern world would be more holistic than just a point of view, a “postmodern mind”. Because after listening to them expound the postmodern mind, I dont see myself in their definition but I AM still living in a postmodern world. I am not “post-propositional”. God revealed himself through incarnation, proposition, narrative, parable, demonstration of power and other means. And I want to honor and expound the Scriptures in their given genre. Preaching expository sermons out of Proverbs or Revelation or Psalms may be doing violence to the text if the books are not treated in their historical and literary context.
- I believe in the supremacy of God in equal measure to John Piper and was brought up to be reformed in theology. And yet here I am serving the emerging church. Is it possible that the straw man under scrutiny is a few straws short of complete?
- I believe in “statements” and “statements of faith” - I even see value in affirming them and promoting them as i do with the Lausanne Covenant - but I am not a credalist. And as a missionary, I have seen the damage done when one country forces another country [or culutre] to adopt their statement. I am naturally suspect of man-made constructions of theology. I will not trust the sweetest frame but will only lean on Jesus name. Does that make me a postmodernist? What would John Piper say about being “post-colonial”?
- I am glad Mark Driscoll was invited because he's a lovely guy and a good friend. But if they want a reformed-theology-embracing leader inside the emerging church, then there are plenty out there starting churches that are not based on the inherited, attractional model like Mars Hill. I wish every success for Mark' s church, and have enjoyed my visits there, but there is a danger in reinforcing the idea that the residual model of church that has worked so well for hundreds of years, has plenty of milage, which I dont see as a viable reality for the future of the American church.
I would be curious to hear how you experienced the conference.
Piper on the supremacy of Christ
- Related: John Piper and a Postmodern World where I quote an artist saying
“the term 'postmodernity' describes the condition of the accelerated, played out and media saturated times we live in. Dont confuse it with Postmodernism, the short lived collage-based design and literary movement prevalent in the 90's.”