As the call to papers for the synchroblog about “Emerging heresy” came out, I was having a conversation with Deborah on my Beowulf post. Early on in the conversation Deborah said:

Be wary of the Emerging Christian doctrine that you mentioned in your post. It’s as false as the liberal propaganda that comes out of Hollywood. I would advise always, always to measure what you read or view in this world against the pure doctrine of God’s holy word.

I still haven’t found exactly what she has refered to, but maybe it was another post, since I didn’t refer to anything “emerging” in the post. The conversation went on for pages and pages, and I guess I knew from the start that the chances was very unlikely that we would find some common ground, but as I explained previously, I still consider fundamentalism as an ecumenical challenge, so I continued the conversation. May I just mention that Deborah do not consider herself to be a fundamentalist, her reaction to my mention of the word was:

Now, let’s get to the bias you think me to have. Am I evangelical? No. Am I a fundamentalist? No. Now, again, that could depend upon your definitions, but according to my definitions, the answer is “No.” As far as being a fundamentalist, I think of Islamic terrorists as fundamentalists. So, no, I’m not a fundamentalist. Evangelical? In what sense? Do I go out and evangelize? No. Do I believe in preaching the Gospel? Yes, for that was Christ’s Great Commission (Mar 15:16). But that makes me doctrinal, not evangelical.

I don’t think the conversation was a success, maybe I should even be ashamed of the things I’ve said. But I do have some thoughts on how conversations may continue. I’ve had some friends who are very comfortable with the evangelicals, and we had loads of very constructive conversations, and others that we couldn’t even get through a cup of coffee. So, if you have some emerging friends you think might be heretics (whatever that may mean, give your interpretation to this word), but still want to be “conversing with the heretics”, here are my thoughts:

  • If your heretic friend consider him/herself to be a Christians, try to consider them as Christians
  • Remember that both of you have biases, and that you can maybe help each other notice them
  • Try focusing on social justice, you might find you both want to help the poor and suffering, although you differ on some theological stuff
  • Remember that you may be wrong, both of you, remember that just maybe you are wrong! I guess this is the most difficult part. I’ve written some more on this here.

Just one of these can sometimes provide an entry point for some good conversations, without the need to give up dearly held beliefs. Oh, and by the way, don’t ever mention that you have a direct link with God which mean that you are definitely right, no matter what anyone says. This tends to kill a conversation, because you can’t really fight with God.

Well, maybe I’m too demanding. But I am serious to keep the conversation going. If you think I should back down on some points, tell me, if you think I should add some, also leave a comment. And maybe you have some things which you think your heretic friends should also keep in mind when the attempt at conversation is made, please make a mention of those as well.

Well, you can read the conversation between myself and Deborah here, and you’re welcome to give some pointers where you think the conversation could have been done better (especially if I should have done thing differently). But I must say, it’s gonna be a loooong read if you do read this.

Well, that’s my thoughts for the day, also read these other fine sychrobloggers!

Aratus – The Gender of the Creator and Face forward
Cobusvw – Conversing with the heretics
Liquid Light – Coming out a heretic emerges
Nic Paton – The Lif Cycle of Heresy and The Blessings of Heresy
Roger Saner Towards a heretical orthodoxy
Ryan Peters – title not cited yet
Steve Hayes no title cited yet
Tim Victor – Confessions of a heretic