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Letters, We Get Letters

Dear Tony,

I’m currently reading through your book “The New Christians.” It is my first real introduction to the emerging movement from the perspective of an emergent.

Wow! It’s great!

A little of my background. I’m a Presbyterian raised lad, taught the ways of Calvin and co. My father is a Prezzy pastor a straight down the line conservative, though with a twist. I’ve completed an undergrad degree in philosophy and since changed to the Vineyard Church.

I’ll get straight to the point: what you’ve written about has put into words a lot of the stuff I’ve been thinking about over the past few years. So I guess I owe you a thanks.

Being the philosophy undergrad and all, I wanted to share with you an argument that I think buttresses your hermeneutic of humility (which I whole-heartedly agree with, having once been an arrogant young know-it-all type).

First, to your reasoning. You state in your book (I’m too lazy to reference it ) that many people in the theological landscape have changed their minds about theological issues such as slavery, so how, really, can we know that what we think about now is, in fact, God’s super-truth. True truth.  This is, I think, a powerful argument. Here’s mine.

I don’t think we even have to reference changes in theological beliefs over time to prove your point. I think we can simply look at the vast plethora of differing interpretations that exists now and stand in awe of the complexity of theology.

I compiled a list of “views” books, you know, like those Zondervan books that have four views on blah blah blah. My argument for a hermeneutic of humility would be:

If there are so many views argued so well, by godly, intelligent men, who all think they have the correct interpretation, doesn’t that imply a humility of sorts? And boy, do these guys argue well for their views! How the bleep, then, can one claim so dogmatically and with such over-arching certainty, that their view is the one!  Here’s my list:

As of 19 Jan, 2006

Zondervan

http://www.zondervan.com/books/search.asp?Criteria=counterpoints

Who Runs the Church? 4 Views on Church Government

How Jewish Is Christianity? 2 Views on the Messianic Movement

Remarriage after Divorce in Today’s Church. 3 Views

Are Miraculous Gifts for Today? 4 Views

Evaluating the Church Growth Movement. 5 Views

Exploring the Worship Spectrum. 6 Views

Five Views on Apologetics.

Five Views on Law and Gospel.

Five Views on Sanctification.

Four Views on Eternal Security.

Four Views on Hell.

Four Views on Salvation in a Pluralistic World.

Four Views on the Book of Revelation.

Show Them No Mercy. 4 Views on God and Canaanite Genocide

Three Views on Creation and Evolution.

Three Views on Eastern Orthodoxy and Evangelicalism.

Three Views on the Millennium and Beyond.

Three Views on the Rapture.

Two Views on Women in Ministry

Sub Total: 19 topics, 77 views (Incl. extra views by different publishers on same topics, below)

IVP

Four Views: Psychology and Christianity

* (4V Zondervan) Two Views Of Hell

In Search Of The Soul: Four Views Of The Mind-Body Problem

Four Views: God and Time

Four Views: Meaning Of The Millennium, The

Four Views: Science and Christianity

* (3V Zondervan) Four Views: Divorce And Remarriage

* (2V Zondervan) Four Views: Women In Ministry

Four Views: Divine Foreknowledge

Sub Total: 25 topics, 101 views

Kregel

Three Views On The Origins Of The Synoptic Gospels (Kregel)

Sub Total:  26 topics, 104 views

Thomas Nelson

* (4V Zondervan) Four Views: Revelation

Youth Specialities

Four Views Of Youth Ministry And The Church

Sub Total: 27 topics, 108 views

Paternoster Press

* (See IVP above) Four Views: Divine Foreknowledge

* (See IVP above) Four Views: God and Time

Broadman and Holman

* (4V Zondervan) Perspectives On Church Government: Five Views Of Church Polity

Perspectives On Spirit Baptism: Five Views

Sub Total: 28 topics, 113 views

Brazos Press

Christianity And The Postmodern Turn: Six Views

Sub Total: 29 topics, 119 views

That’s an incredible 119 views on just 29 topics! What’s a layman like me to do? Throw some dice, choose a view, and loudly proclaim it as the only interpretation, and my detractors be damned to hell?  I think you get my gist.

Anyway, I’m still trying to digest all the new thoughts in the emergent stuff, but I’ve already come to a few of your conclusions, even before I knew that emergent views existed.

Thanks for your book,

Jonathan



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