An elder recently told me my former pastor who used Donald Miller’s story theme in his sermon as well as using the same terms as Michael Frost while presenting missional lamented our critique of his sermon. He commented that it was strange to have a critique like ours when he had finally used “contemporary authors.” He also commented that he could buy into one idea of an author without becoming like them entirely…truth is truth. In other words, he could buy into the idea of “story” taught by emergent leaders and yet not be emergent himself. This may be so, but I don’t buy it. He used terms in different sermons such as wholly other, at one ment, god consciousness, and christ coursing through (his) veins. Those terms were not all scripted, but some were boldly written into sermon notes. I believe he has not only bought the story idea from Donald Miller, he has become a lot like Donald Miller. He has himself become very much emergent (or whatever we can call them, I think New Age is probably the proper term). He has likely had a mystical experience or several. I cannot be certain, but I believe he didn’t just pick up that one single idea.
Suppose he did agree with this one concept of “story.” I find it offensive enough by itself. God is not writing a story when he deals in our lives. We cannot “take the pen” and write our own story. How crazy is this? We are not part of a story, we are part of God’s creation and our lives are real if only a vapor. What’s more, Christ is real and not a character in a play God created. He’s not a even God acting in our world. How ridiculous. Christ died for our real sins, and we are made alive in Him for real if we have real faith which He gave to us as a gift. It’s not just a story which we can write better if we would just try. Our job is not writing some story, our life is meant to give glory to God. We fall short every day, but by the grace of God and by His mercy, we are saved, forgiven. We who repent and who rely on God for His salvation are not just characters, we are His people.
Beyond this, suppose I read a book written by a Mormon. I find something I like in the book. Am I to quote this author from the pulpit without some sort of disclaimer? Would it not be better to quote the Bible itself if the concept was true? I believe it’s unwise for a leader in the church to go around quoting people without carefully considering who they are quoting and what that person believes. Also, it’s important to clarify if you only “buy into” one part of their beliefs to the congregation. If you are trying to distance yourself from the emergent church, it’s wise if you use emergent authors to state what is good in the quote you are using (it was actually most of a sermon) and to point out the error for the congregation. Just my opinion.