My copy of the July/August 2005 Modern Reformation magazine came today. It is on the Emergent Church movement. I was thumbing through it and ran across a “bullet” quote that struck me:
The Emergent movement has discovered something I think that the prior generation has forgotten. There needs to be a connection between doctrine and practice.
One can well wonder how the Emergent movement can speak of “doctrine” in a meaningful fashion, but, leaving that aside, it seems that possibly some in the Emergent movement are responding against “dead orthodoxy.” But if that is the case, why paint with this kind of broad brush? I preached last evening on the close, intimate, necessary connection between the highest forms of doctrine and the practical, every-day application in Colossians 3:1-3. Anyone who has read the Puritans knows this was their emphasis as well.
Ironically, I just got my copy of John Broadus’ Jesus of Nazareth: His Character, His Teachings and His Supernatural Works from Solid Ground. I just happend to flip it open and my eyes fell on this paragraph:
We all condemn the fanatics who would make religion sufficient without ethics. Some teachings of this sort are absurd, and some disgusting. But on the other hand, shall we think it wise to regard ethics as sufficient without religion? Is it not true that he who would divorce religion and morality is an enemy to religion, and at best only a mistaken friend to morality? (p. 40)
The Emergent movement is just another example of the pendulum principle: over-reacting to the fact that because we live in a fallen world we will see imbalances and failures in the church. “I feel like my church was obsessed with sound doctrine but I didn’t feel loved, therefore, sound doctrine is irrelevant and is up for grabs.” No, the failure is in not seeing that sound doctrine leads to sound attitudes and sound behavior!