An open letter to the emergent movement


To Whom It May Concern:

Back when I was struggling in my life, reading some of your books (Messy Spirituality, Adventures in Missing the Point, A New Kind of Christian, etc) provided me an escape from the fundamentalism I had come to loath. I attended a church where every week I heard the pastor rail against women who got abortions, bash homosexuals (in private he called them “fags” and didn’t want them in the church), harp on liberals, and repeat that cycle Sunday after Sunday. All the while, I had no spiritual nourishment, so I grew bitter.

Your books, at the time, were a breath of fresh air. I saw Christians who, rather than rant and rave against the ills of the world, actually taught that we should be the solution. This meant quite a bit to me.

But as time has moved on, I have read more and, to be quite frank, I no longer see the difference between the fundamentalism I came to loath and the Emergent movement I see before my eyes. I appreciate the call to justice, I appreciate pointing out the flaws of conservative Christianity, which has become and is becoming a dead orthodoxy, but my concerns with you far outweigh the positive aspects I see.

Please, don’t take this open letter as a power play on my part, or a mockery of the Emergent Conversation. These are genuine concerns. The fact is, Christianity in the West is in desperate need for an authentic movement, but this movement must have its foundation in authentic doctrine and authentic actions. If either is missing, the movement will fail – either because it lacks the substance to hold it together (proper doctrine) or because it lacks the heart to carry on (proper actions).

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A reply to a Muslim – the Deity and Death of Jesus


A while back, a Muslim (Paasurrey) posted a comment on my site addressing some of the problems He saw with the Christian belief concerning Jesus. Unfortunately, I didn’t notice the comment until yesterday. For whatever reason, it slipped through the cracks.

To make up for this, I am posting my response here and posting a link of my response on Paasurrey’s own site so he knows that I have responded to him. Though this is meant for him, I am making it public so anyone who has questions about Christ can hopefully find answers.

Paasurrey,

Assalamu alaikum. I hope this response finds you well.

I apologize for not responding sooner (over a year) as I never saw your comment until the other day. I have done my best to offer a concise reply to your objections. Please let me know what you think. I look forward to friendly dialogue with you on this issue. I have put what you said in quotes so you know what I am responding to when I write.

“I respect your religion; but I have my own free opinion. I think it to be too cruel for a father (God) to sacrifice/kill his beloved one (son) for others imaginary sins.”

If this were done against the will of Christ, then I would agree that it would be cruel. However, Jesus is part of the Godhead (we’ll get to that), thus as being God He planned on sacrificing Himself from before He even created the world, and as being a person in the Godhead, He willingly went to the cross.

Though He did ask for an alternative measure the night of His capture, He also said, “Not my will, but Your will be done.” Thus, Christ went willingly to the cross, which makes the claim of God’s “cruelty” a bit suspect.

Furthermore, sins are not imaginary. They are offenses to God. God, being infinitely good, takes our offenses against His will seriously. Any violation of His goodness is likewise infinite – how can temporal beings possibly pay off a debt that is infinite? This is why Christ died – only an eternal being can settle an eternal debt (amongst other things; this is not the only reason Christ died, but one of the biggest reasons).

The philosopher Abu Nasr al-Farabi wrote in his book al-Madinah al Fadilah (Virtuous City) that the “First Being” (God: al-Awwal) is perfect. So it is common between Christians and Muslims to agree that God is a perfect being and eternal (the “most ancient” as al-Farabi describes Him). He is likewise a person, meaning He can have offenses against Him. Any offense against Him would subsequently be eternal as God is eternal. The remedy for such a thing would also have to be eternal.

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