Many within emergent Christianity do not like propositional language, saying they prefer framing Christianity as a relationship instead, but how do we have a relationship without knowing things (propositions) about the person we want a relationship with – in this case with Jesus.  These propositions about Jesus, the Bible, God is what we call doctrine.  This disdain of prepositional language is one reason why some in the movement are not high on doctrinal statements and creeds. 

G.K. Chesterton in his work, Orthodoxy, observed that while doctrine may make walls, they are the walls of a playground.

We might fancy some children playing on the flat grassy top of some tall island in the sea.  So long as there was a wall round the cliff’s edge they could fling themselves into every frantic game and make the place the noisiest of nurseries.  But the walls were knocked down, leaving the naked peril of the precipice.  They did not fall over; but when their friends returned to them they were all huddled in terror in the centre of the island; and their song had ceased.

Walls can be very good if we are kept safe and free by them.

10 comments
  1. Makes me think of Ephesians 3:

    19So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household,

    20having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone,

    21in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord,

    22in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.

    We need the bricks and walls of the church body to continue building what Christ started and what He is head of.

    AndyCs last blog post..Some People Are Tough

  2. Makes me think of Ephesians 3:

    19So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household,

    20having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone,

    21in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord,

    22in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.

    We need the bricks and walls of the church body to continue building what Christ started and what He is head of.

    AndyCs last blog post..Some People Are Tough

  3. I was thinking about Colossians 2:8 as well and meant to include it in the post, but hit the publish button a little too fast.

    “See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ,” (ESV).

    Kind of what happens without doctrine, no?

  4. I was thinking about Colossians 2:8 as well and meant to include it in the post, but hit the publish button a little too fast.

    “See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ,” (ESV).

    Kind of what happens without doctrine, no?

  5. Shane–

    This is an especially important post given the recent comment by Tony Jones:

    “I think those of us committed to the social web will become the new magisterium.”

    That’s right: the folks with the most friends on Facebook get to determine the doctrine. I am not sure that Jesus felt that the tenets of the faith get to be continually redetermined by popular vote.

    Jeff Angelos last blog post..Let my child eat her sea kittens in peace

  6. Shane–

    This is an especially important post given the recent comment by Tony Jones:

    “I think those of us committed to the social web will become the new magisterium.”

    That’s right: the folks with the most friends on Facebook get to determine the doctrine. I am not sure that Jesus felt that the tenets of the faith get to be continually redetermined by popular vote.

    Jeff Angelos last blog post..Let my child eat her sea kittens in peace

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