An Ancient Future Church? Deconstruction is Painful and Can Be Frightening A lot of Christians assume that leaving Christianity, or thinking about leaving, is an easy, quick, and simple thing. As John Caputo argues in What Would Jesus Deconstruct?, deconstruction is the essential tool of the Christian. Maybe instead of asking why God allows these things to happen, we should ask ourselves why we allow suffering to continue? For Emerging Christians, the Christian institutions they experienced had little “wiggle-room” for belief and practice. Indeed, that is a good rule of thumb in deconstruction. The second pillar is: Eternal Torment [Hell]. Although we can confidently say that the emerging church movement is probably not a secret subversive society, it shows how radical some of the views of its proponents are, that they must remain secret to avoid a modern day Inquisition in their home denominations. Why? For some, Hell is their first thread of doubt and once they realize that most of those verses in the New Testament that we were told are about Eternal Torment aren’t actually about where anyone goes when they die, the rest of their faith starts to buckle. Also, send me the Progressive Christian Newsletter. Sure, there are instances when one's spiritual journey may lead them away from the faith altogether. Expected features of emergent gatherings. Which brings me the fourth pillar: Suffering in the World. Preachers were adamantly preaching against the “mixing of races” and also against women having equal rights. The denial of absolute truth is a logical fallacy because it is a self-contradictory statement. The Bible, the goodness of God, sin, heaven/hell, the purpose of the church, prayer… Just about every aspect of my faith. The Emerging Movement seeks to push against this. By blurring ecclesial lines, emergents feel free to pick and choose whatever liturgical traditions they would like to co-opt to their worship services, “draw[ing] freely from strands of Christian traditions in a shared desire to create tradition-rich, yet culturally relevant, local church experiences… re-creating liturgical formats that mix different types of musical instrumentation and new media technology.” It is in this sphere, along with the aforementioned engagement with the arts, that ECM has stood out most, particularly in its incorporation of club culture and contemporary dance and rave music, something which has been strongest in the UK and European movements, with communities such as the Nine O’Clock Service and the Late Late Service incorporating both dance music and contemplative liturgical music into their services, accompanied by state-of-the-art graphics, media and film clips. It is not something they embark on lightly. It is this incorporation of traditional rites and rituals with modern (and post-modern) elements which has given rise to the ‘Ancient-Future’ moniker put upon them. Therefore, once you start to doubt their claims that the Bible is inerrant and infallible, the rest of your faith is soon to crumble. Their choice of the term “movement” allows them to include a wide spectrum of beliefs and practices, and to capture the overarching feature of Emerging Christianity as a religious orientation built on a practice of deconstruction. It’s not an easy one to answer, I’ll admit. Their entire religious orientation as an Emerging Christian necessarily resides in relation to conventional Christianity. It’s what happens when the questions you’ve pushed down your whole life finally bubble over the surface, and you’re forced to stare honestly at your doubts. Follow the link above to start from the beginning of the series. Emergents have attempted to blur the boundaries of theological and ethical viewpoints, again in order to foster ‘conversation,’ particularly in the realm of social justice, such as LGBTQ issues, where they have striven to remain, to a large extent, inclusive as possible. Unsurprisingly, it is not long before the Church emphasizes the solemnity and de-emphasizes the everyday, and what once served as a central sign of Christ’s gift becomes a redefined version of the gift itself. Deconstruction and Reconstruction. PSA would never have been formulated if not for those previous theories of Atonement which came before it, as each of those theories tended to develop after various theologians wrestled with the implications of the existing atonement theory of the day. https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-3wh9e-ef90a0 Pastor Courtenay and Pastor Erik are back with more discussion of the effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Church. Once you start to doubt the absolute accuracy of the Scriptures, it’s a short walk to questioning the validity of Eternal Torment in Hell for those who don’t pray the prayer and join the Christian club. As a sociological term, ‘deconstruction’ has been described as “a form of micro-politics in which actors establish competitive arenas in response to pressures for conformity.” Marti and Ganiel go on to define the focus of this, in the emerging church context, as taking place in the personal religious lives of members of the movement, stating that “Emerging Christians create ongoing opportunities to push off religious pressures to comply with standard narratives.” This boils from the feeling that the ‘pre-packaged’ answers to life’s questions found in Protestantism are not enough to deal with the complexities of our time, and indeed Christianity, if they are even correct in the first place. In this view, Jesus mostly saves us from His Father, not from our sins or from hell. With this being the case, younger people are encouraged, or even expected, to assume leadership roles, or at least positions of responsibility within the community, and their input to the ‘conversation’ is appreciated. For some, the Church pillar falls because they just get tired of being abused by those in authority over them, or called “Heretic” for asking too many questions, or labelled degenerates for being LGBTQ, or turned off because of the political entanglements they see in their fellow Christians. The authors continue: Deconstruction, then, represents an opportunity for actors to “irritate, if not overthrow” an overarching régime “by pointing to its contingent and arbitrary status.” In this way, we understand that members of the emerging movement actively deconstruct congregational life by placing into question the beliefs and practices that have held sway among conventional Christians. It is the view of many within the emerging movement that, in our post-modern cultural context, foundational Christian doctrines and practices are no longer assumed or relevant. Keith Giles was formerly a licensed and ordained minister who walked away from organized church 11 years ago, to start a home fellowship that gave away 100% of the offering to the poor in the community. Yes, I want the Patheos Progressive Christian Newsletter as well, Identity Politics vs. Transactional Politics. They argue a 'new reformation' is taking place as they voice their doubts and embrace a process known as theological deconstruction. Evangelical Protestants decry the emerging movement as a heresy. Once these pillars begin to crumble, the entire structure starts to fall apart. Please share in the comments below. There is a subtle, but dangerous movement in the Church today that is referred to as “theological deconstruction.” It sounds very intellectual, or at least thoughtful. Please help us create quality Much of the language of deconstruction almost makes emergents sound like a ‘Protestants Anonymous’ or a religious detoxification program. "The Deconstructed Church is a pivotal contribution, not only to work on the Emerging Church, but also to the study of Christianity and new religious movements." So, if your Pastor has ever told you that the Bible was 100 percent accurate about everything and if even one thing was proven false then the entire Bible would be worthless [and I have heard exactly that on numerous occasions from the pulpit], then it only takes one of those examples above to start pulling on the thread that eventually unravels your entire Christian faith. Lynch likens this to a process of grieving and wrote a pastoral book intended to guide people through this process. This also paints God as a monster who responds to his children with anger and fierce violence rather than with love and compassion. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “Jesus Unveiled: Forsaking Church As We Know It For Ekklesia As God Intended, Inclusive 2021: A Christian Conference For Everyone, EXPOSED: The True Dangers of Progressive Christianity. There is some necessary deconstruction, sure, and the Christian life can be full of doubt. Their theory is that God is love and that perfect love is not coercive or controlling. As an example, many stories of people who come to Orthodoxy from Protestant or Catholic backgrounds are filled with references to learning more about Christianity, fulfilling their faith, deepening their spirituality, and gratitude towards their former sect for at least setting a foundation for them to build on. By blurring ecclesial lines, emergents feel free to pick and choose whatever liturgical traditions they would like to co-opt to their worship services, “draw[ing] freely from strands of Christian traditions in a shared desire to create tradition-rich, yet culturally relevant, local church experiences… re-creating liturgical formats that mix different types of musical instrumentation and new media technology.”. Although the truth is that the age range is much broader than imagined, however young adults do constitute the majority of emergents. I know one person who started to examine the traditional doctrine of Eternal Suffering and totally left the faith after realizing: *The Old Testament never mentions this doctrine at all, *The doctrine of Eternal Torment originated in the Intertestimental Period [between the OT and the coming of Jesus], *The language often used by Jesus to talk about worms that do not die and fire that is not quenched are actually borrowed language from OT prophets like Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel who said exactly the same thing to those in Egypt, Syria, Edom and Jerusalem – but in every case those prophets were speaking about invading armies who would take them into captivity, not about where they go after they die, *The Pharisees embraced the doctrine of Eternal Torment after picking it up from pagan sources which gained influence in Rabbinical teaching after the OT was written, *Jesus would have never taken his views from the Pharisees, especially if their views weren’t supported by the OT prophets and originated from pagan sources. This one is a little broad. This is a theory that is relatively new and was only arrived at after several centuries of Christian thought and debate on the topic. [Not to mention all the words intentionally left out of the text or mistranslated to oppress women and demonize homosexuality, or the handful of epistles in the New Testament that are most certainly forgeries or pseudapigripha, for example]. Some recent theories have made giant strides towards reconciling a loving God with suffering and evil, as the one set forth by my friend’s Thomas Jay Oord and Mark Karris. TRENDING: Taxpayer-funded Preschool in New York to Teach "Queer Rights" and Victimology to Four-Year-Olds “ECM would not be able to maintain its emphasis on deconstruction if it became more “institutionalized, because the very process of institutionalization would by definition mean that more rigid boundaries must be drawn.”, “Emerging Christians actively seek to avoid entrenched power structures by bringing young adults into leadership and decision-making in their local church context.”. For emergents, ‘church’ is something that needs to be changed, overhauled, and deconstructed. As an ideal, it shares more with the Anabaptists of the radical Reformation than with more conservative, ‘magisterial’ Protestantism. The deconstructionist approach to interpreting the Bible comes out of postmodernism and is therefore simply another denial of the existence of absolute truth, which is one of the most serious logical fallacies anyone can commit. According to “the naked pastor,” Can a dian ex-pastor, author and cartoonist David Hayward, there are (at least) two different elements of the … The work of the church is the proclamation of the Gospel, over and over again. In this episode, I rant about the great deconstruction of Biblical Christianity and American, why they go hand in hand, and sadly, the church’s complicity in the project. Later in our nation’s history, we were faced with racial tension in the civil rights movement; the women’s equal rights movement shortly followed. In comparison the Deconstruction/Dechurched movement is growing at at least double the rate of the evangelical church  Deconstructing Christians often pay a great price in undergoing deconstruction. Whenever deconstruction finds a nutshell—a secure axiom or a pithy maxim—the very idea is to crack it open and disturb this tranquility. This emphasis on relationships has been defended by Tony Jones, using the unlikeliest of sources. The desire to ‘renegotiate’ doctrine and practice would quite rightly cause consternation in any serious religious community. Among ‘Catho-mergents’ this would probably be exemplified by the ‘Spirit of Vatican II’ that has generated a significant amount of controversy in the liturgical sphere. I know people who read Frank Viola’s book “Pagan Christianity” a few years ago and ended up quitting their pastoral jobs and eventually left the faith altogether. We’re talking about a process called deconstruction—an academic term for the systematic pulling apart of the belief system you were raised in. Also, send me the Progressive Christian Newsletter and special offers. : An Orthodox Examination of the Post-modern Christianity of the Emergent Church Movement. Worth quoting in full is the following passage detailing the process of personal deconstruction: Emerging Christians publicly discuss this process of destroying and re-building their religious lives; people like Lee, a young woman who shared at an ECM gathering how she went through what she called “the demolition experience.” She said, “My entire life came crashing down. The intent of this is to maintain ECM’s ‘shift’ from generation to generation, with the younger generations steering the community in the direction of their culture. Predominately rooted in their reaction against the modernism inherent in evangelicalism and mainline Protestantism, deconstruction is the movement’s way of subverting, for want of a better term, many of the concepts, practices, and even beliefs of conventional Christianity in order to create a space to form a new kind of community immersed in emerging thought and practice. Simply put, the PSA theory says that God’s wrath was so great against mankind’s sinfulness that Jesus had to come and take a bullet for us – receiving the full fury of God’s burning wrath on the cross – so that now God can love us and forgive us. Deconstruction is the opposite of both construction and destruction; it is the responsible identification of the constructed elements of one’s faith and then taking them apart in order to see the underlying layers of construction wondering what might be useful again and in what configuration. The phrase, "separation of church and state," appears nowhere in the Constitution and the Founding Fathers saw nothing wrong with having religion in American culture, according to an expert. Many within the movement have adopted this term as a way of describing how they view their purpose and role within Christianity. In accordance with their inclusiveness, participation is highly valued, as well as input from the congregation itself. He is quoted as ‘tweeting’ this on his Twitter page: “The Church is not a doctrine, not a system, and not an institution, The Church is a living organism, an organism of truth and love, more precisely: truth and love as an organism.” It remains to be seen, however, if Jones realized that this quote, from Alexei Khomiakov (1803–1860), was about the Orthodox Church alone, and in no way included heterodox groups and movements like his own. Marti and Ganiel provide a comprehensive panorama of the Emerging Church Movement (ECM). They now endeavor to use the arts to facilitate individual spiritual expression.”, This is not limited to modern (or post-modern) arts, although they did pioneer the use of contemporary graphic and video media in their services, as ancient sacred arts are often incorporated into their worship, including icons, liturgical chant, incense and other traditional rituals, as well as less common but equally ancient practices such as prayer labyrinths. It's about growing INTO your faith, not out of it. The researchers continue: “Within the emerging movement there is a considerable openness among leaders for creating small, informal, and non-hierarchical assemblies that are not connected to sanctioned theological seminaries or staffed denominational structures.”. One of the most popular postmodernist tendencies within aesthetics is deconstruction. It will almost always cost them their church community and often cost them various friends and family members. It is in this sphere, along with the aforementioned engagement with the arts, that ECM has stood out most, particularly in its incorporation of club culture and contemporary dance and rave music, something which has been strongest in the UK and European movements, with communities such as the Nine O’Clock Service and the Late Late Service incorporating both dance music and contemplative liturgical music into their services, accompanied by state-of-the-art graphics, media and film clips. The researchers continue: “Within the emerging movement there is a considerable openness among leaders for creating small, informal, and non-hierarchical assemblies that are not connected to sanctioned theological seminaries or staffed denominational structures.” Communication is maintained between these groups by means of conferences and networks, increasingly held online via various internet channels, allowing these groups, although remaining localized and independent, to share ideas and conversation with a wider (and increasingly global) community of like-minded emergents. American Evangelicalism, the Marketplace and the Medieval Roman Catholic Church It is true that many emergents mention their disdain for evangelical ‘heresy-hunters’ in their talks and writings. If you live long enough, like me, you’ll start to notice an embarrassing yet consistent string of failed prophecies concerning the return of Jesus and the End of the World. I’d love to hear your thoughts. Once these pillars begin to crumble, the entire structure starts to fall apart. This month’s issue of Credo magazine is about missions and the church. I’m sure there are many others who are in the same boat. Emerging Church Movement (ECM)Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary (Jordanville)Monk Theodore (Holy Trinity Monastery: Jordanville, NY)Series: An Ancient Future Church? Deconstruction Of Church Tradition Under Pope Francis After the grotesque display of satanic idolatry at St Peter's Basilica on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, we continue to see increasingly blatant attempts to deconstruct Church teaching. This emphasis on relationships has been defended by Tony Jones, using the unlikeliest of sources. This article constitutes the fifth installment in a series adapted from the author’s undergraduate thesis, An Ancient Future Church? Sadly, my friend abandoned their entire faith – the Gospel, Jesus, the Resurrection, the Incarnation, etc. So much of their ‘conversation’ is built around and based upon shedding previous beliefs and breaking old religious habits, while very little seems to be about what the end result is, other than a fuzzy ‘openness’ and ‘inclusivity.’ Ganiel and Marti dedicate a whole chapter of their study to interviews with members of the movement, and it features phrases such as ‘recovering Christian’ or ‘deconverting’ rather frequently. This list, although not exhaustive, reads like a serious attack on the traditional hierarchical structure of Christianity, with its strong clerical leadership in the form of the threefold ministry of bishop, priest, and deacon, and the maintenance of tradition and ritual as a means of ensuring continuity of faith and practice. Many of the social initiatives are cross-denominational, drawing in emergents who attend both denominational and denomination-less communities, and frequently even interfaith. In this regard, it does not help ECM that the man seen as their own Martin Luther is, Support our work with you monthly pledge @. and stresses the uniqueness of the Orthodox Church as the ‘One Holy.’ Khomiakov’s view on the Church is concise and unambiguous: “Emerging Christians’ approach to issues ranging from salvation, sanctification, and eschatology – especially alongside a great concern for social justice – encourages a form of ecumenism that transcends many theological and ecclesial boundaries.”, Many of these approaches are in reaction to the perceived rigidness and aggressiveness of mainstream and evangelical Protestantism, as we have mentioned above. A much needed deconstruction inside American Christianity was shaking our nation and our churches…. Although "church" has come to mean a building or organization, the original Greek ekklesia meant "a gathering, assembly" and is the basis for our word "congregation." Church & Theology. Church and ministry leadership resources to better equip, train and provide ideas for today's church and ministry leaders, like you. Because that book, and others like it, showed them that Church-As-We-Know-It was inspired by Pagan worship practices and modeled after a system of hierarchy and control; and looks nothing at all like what Jesus and the early Christians actually practiced for the first 300 years. How to use church in a sentence. Because Christians tend to base their faith on the Bible, they also feel the need to overstate its importance, making it the linchpin for everything they hold dear. As an ideal, it shares more with the Anabaptists of the radical Reformation than with more conservative, ‘magisterial’ Protestantism. It's about coming to terms with what you believe outside of your inherited beliefs. Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary (Jordanville), Monk Theodore (Holy Trinity Monastery: Jordanville, NY), St Ignatius (Brianchaninov) and His Spiritual Heritage in Our Time, An Orthodox Response to the Emerging Church Movement, The Essence and Meaning of Asceticism, Part 2, The Essence and Meaning of Asceticism, Part 1, The Concept of the Person in Orthodox Theology, ROCOR Synod on the Ecclesial Catastrophe in Ukraine.