[color=#0000FF" size="3" face="times]Some things in life are like a train. A powerful engine pulls a multitude of cars behind it. In religion, powerful leaders, ideas, or practices bring with them numerous other doctrines or practices.
The engine pulling the train is "The Emergent Church" Movement. When it appears, it will be towing some or all of the following practices: Taize worship (candlelight meditations), centering, labyrinths, breath prayers, Lectio Divina (meditation on a particular verse or word), Eastern mysticism, Orthodox and Roman Catholic mysticism.
Like a train emerging from a tunnel, the above items are those we can see. Other cars are yet to be revealed. Those engaged in Catholic mysticism will eventualy feel the need for aids to assist them in their spriritual exercises. Some will need rosary beads for prayer, crucifixes to wear about their necks, and the sign of the cross. Others will desire images of Christ and other spiritual heroes to bow before and adore. Some will have stations of the cross to aid them in their contemplation, holy water to help them purify their thoughts, cassocks and habits to remind them of their dedication, relics and pilgrimages to fulfill their spiritual hunger. For those embracing the more exotic Eastern mysticism, there will be mantras, yoga, altered states of mind, and ultimately panentheism and pantheism. The final step is belief that, through mysticism, men of all religions can find God and be acceptable to Him. You might say, "Oh, that will never happen!" Ten years ago no one thought the concept of the Emergent Church, with its contemplative spirituality, would ever surface among our brethren. It has arrived!
Should the more adventurous and enterprising change agents decide to do some or all of these things, on what basis could any of their comrades object?[/color]
- [color=#0000FF" size="3" face="times]They could not object that the Bible says nothing about such things. They have already decided that the silence of the Scripture is permissive, not prohibitive. They did this to justify their use of instrumental music.[/color]
- [color=#0000FF" size="3" face="times]They could not argue that it is denominational. They see nothing wrong with being denominational. In fact, they long to be recognized as denominational.[/color]
- [color=#0000FF" size="3" face="times]They cannot complain that it might lead to New Age religion, Catholicism, or Paganism. They have already conceded that spiritual rewards can be received from using these practices regardless of their origin.[/color]
- [color=#0000FF" size="3" face="times]They cannot reason that such conduct would be unbecoming to those professing to be New Testament Christians. They long ago cast aside that claim, insisting that they could draw from the Old Testament and other meaningful sources for their worship.[/color]
- [color=#0000FF" size="3" face="times]They cannot say that to do so would be surrendering to culture. They have argued that, to survive, the church must embrace the culture in which she finds herself.[/color]
- [color=#0000FF" size="3" face="times]They cannot say it would hurt the church. They have already inflicted many painful wounds on the body of Christ without shame or regret. A few more would be of no consequence to them.[/color]
- [color=#0000FF" size="3" face="times]They cannot condemn those who might go to such extremes. Being thorough-going Postmoderns, they cannot bring themselves to pass judgment on the beliefs and practices of one of their own.[/color]
John Waddey, Editor
Christianity: Then and Now