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And just so politics doesn't intrude on a friendly little religious discussion, I use "conservative" and "liberal" in reference to approaches to religious doctrine and practice, not in terms of political affiliation or philosophy. One can be a religious liberal but a political conservative, and vice versa. I'm not really concerned about the political labels, which get plenty of airtime at other blogs.

I'm a bit confused. You say the writer cited historical differences of opinion in his apparent attempt to make the case for the group he prefers. Did he ever cite Christ himself at all? "Straight is the way and narrow the gate?" I find it a sad development that even those trying to argue for Christianity avoid referencing their founder's words.


If you're at all familiar with the work of the Jesus seminar you'll discover that the group thinks very few of the words attributed to Jesus were actually spoken or believed by Jesus. The specific reference you cited falls into their category of "He did not say it and did not think it." Borg also happens to be one of the more liberal thinkers in a group that is extremely liberal.

PDoE, there are two separate steps: First, he was citing historical differences to support his contention that there is not a single "right way" to approach Christian belief and practice. I think he does that to defend his "emerging paradigm" from conservative criticism that it is just an apostate modern approach to Christian belief.

Second, in the balance of the book, he argues in favor of his "emerging pardadigm," not as the single right way of believing or being Christian but as a defensible way of believing for people who are unhappy with or uninterested in the traditional approach to Christiainity. Obviously, I see some similarity between his approach and the way Mormon liberals try to carve out some space within Mormonism.

There are 2 kinds of people; people who think there are 2 kinds of people, and people who don't.

I'm not much of a scriptural scholar. I'm saying this so you know I'm not being snarky or facetious. Can someone please explain to me the point of Christian scholarship that starts by throwing the foundation out the window? He said and did these things or He didn't. If He didn't then what's the point of studying Christianity at all? (Other than from an anthropological viewpoint, I suppose.)

Emerging Christianity and Liberal Christianity are definitely not the same thing, as a quick wikipedia search will show.

Borg isn't actually just using new terms for old divisions, either (i.e., relabeling conservative and liberal Christianity, same old thing in a new package). Or if he is just using new terms for old divisions, then he doesn;t understand what the emerging conversation is actually about.

Also, the book you cited by Borg is pretty old in relation to the emerging movement/conversatio, so it's possible that things just didn;t "emerge" exactly the way Borg thought they would. Some of the things Borg mentions (the emphasis on Christianity as relational rather than propositional, the Bible as a narrative rather than as a book dictated by God), but some of the others, like the extent of pluralism, is just liberal Christianity repackaged.

Liberal Christianity has been around for awhile and is arguably on the retreat, so it can hardly be described as emerging. But like I said, the book you're reviewing is almost twenty years old, and most of what has happened in the emerging conversation has been since then.

For a much better view on what emerging Christianity is about, read Brian McLaren or Donald Miller.

PDoE, I think his response would be that there are different scholarly (and authentically Christian) views on what exactly the "foundation" of Christianity really is. It obviously wasn't the New Testament, which only came into being over a period of centuries. And Borg makes the point that what he calls the "earlier paradigm" was actually a product of the Englightenment's emphasis on historical, factual interpretation.

"If you're at all familiar with the work of the Jesus seminar you'll discover that the group thinks very few of the words attributed to Jesus were actually spoken or believed by Jesus"

*church lady*

How.. con ... vinient.

*/church lady*


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