I know some who throw in with the opponents of the Emergent conversation. They are “good and godly” people, as I heard one of them say about Christians who disagreed with each other. They truly, honestly, sincerely seek to honor the Word of God and protect the tenets of the faith from misguided teaching.
For them, that sort of teaching currently comes in the form of the emerging church—the relatively recent phenomenon within evangelicalism where questions are being asked about traditionally held beliefs within the system.
Those bloggers who are ardent supporters of Emergent have embraced a blog-badge which says, “Friend of Emergent.” It’s got a clever little “e” logo, made to look like a leaf, conveying some of the environmentally friendly values common among emerging church leaders. It also communicates the types of individuals who embrace Emergent: generally artsy or literary, cultured and urban.
Balancing out the spectrum are those who have badged themselves as “Friends of Discernment.” They, too, have come up with a clever knock-off of the emergent logo. The logo is benign to the Emergent illiterate. But this Discernment badge seems to suggest a few things:
(1) It’s likeness to the Emergent logo is clear and unequivocal. It is obviously meant to remind us of that logo. And in so doing, it is meant to point out everything they believe Emergent is not.
(2) The “Friend of Discernment” badge, not so subtly, suggests that you’re either emerging or discerning, that you can’t be both. To be a friend of Emergent is to be an enemy of Discernment. That is the clear statement of this mocking badge (like JOakleys were to Oakleys, "BELIEVE" was to "LIVESTRONG," VH1 is to MTV, THE MESSAGE is to the King James Version.)
(3) Those who are “Friends of Discernment” clearly pray in a better temple to a greater god. They know their Bibles and are careful in their exegesis. They believe the right things and are certain in all their knowledge.
(4) Those who are “Friends of Emergent” have turned from the true faith by asking questions and are indeed heretical in their conclusions. They are unthinking (“carried along by every wind of teaching”), unlearned in Scripture, and unwilling to live by its teachings.
It is unfortunate that the often good exegesis and often clear-thinking of those who call themselves “discerning” have failed to discern the meaning of their own logo. Those who have sought it out and put it on their blogs, do so with the express purpose of mocking and likely an attitude of spite and ridicule.
This failure in discernment is quite the failure. It betrays the fact that while they may easily conquer the textual analysis of a biblical passage, they are not applying it to their lives as they should. They are not examining their hearts to find that they “have not love.” They are not hearing the words of our Savior: “Woe to you hypocrites for hating those who honestly search for the kingdom of God and indeed prevent them from doing so. Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall weep. To everyone, you appear righteous, but inside you are full of hypocrisy.”
To those who are being mocked: “Blessed are you who hunger now: you will be satisfied. Love your enemies; do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you; pray for those who are mistreating you.”
If I have offended you, I hope that your anger will reveal you to yourself. If I have offended you, I hope it is an offense that will rebreak the bone that it might heal right. I do not think you hypocrites are wrong in your theology; you “know all the mysteries and all the knowledge” but you “do not have love.”
You know how it ends.