How to have a conversation? One of my personal complaints is the tone and tenor when it comes to those in the Church having a conversation where opinions differ. While the context is certainly different, I am reminded of Romans 14 where opinions are to be held with the other person in mind. Despising and judging leads to fragmentation. I do not think Paul suggests an “agreeing to disagree.” Instead, he eventually comes down noting opinions will be addressed with a bowed knee and not to another person, but to Jesus. It is a scary thought that both could be right. In fact, in my tribe that approaches heresy. But, in the case of strongly held positions neither weak nor strong were celebrated by Paul. Rather they were both given instruction to regard as brothers/sisters those with whom our opinion varies.
Many will contend the theology of the emerging church – whatever that is and determined by whom – is in error. Better to have a conversation about it rather than make summary judgments about brothers and sisters without a conversation. Too many have already committed that error. In fact, the practice does not stop with determining what is and how we agree with those in the emerging church, but recent Lifeway research (and a few conferences) point up this is the case with the current Reformed trend among Southern Baptists.
In this piece I think Ed comes close to describing the kind of conversation that should be shared among brothers/sisters noted by Scot McKnight. And, since I am reading Rollins and cannot get his theological proposal out of my mind, I would add we must all be careful of ideological idolatry when speaking about God – while revealed in Jesus, the Triune God is also concealed in Jesus.