Today, Scot McKnight wrote a post on his blog in which he raised a question which I believe exposes the heart of much of the emerging/emergent/missional/post____/(fill in the next emerging title) church’s theology, perspective and modus operandi when approaching the Scriptures. In this particular entry, McKnight writes of a person named F.W. Newman in times past who was “disenchanted” with evangelicalism. The truth of the matter is that the guy couldn’t stand the doctrines of the Gospel, its truth claims, over a long process of entertaining personal doubts about their very truthfulness.
In a rant against doctrine itself (that is, propositional truth claims-such as, Jesus is Lord, He died in our place, He literally rose from the dead-something our culture abhors), Newman said, “Oh Dogma! Oh Dogma! How dost thy trample under foot love, truth, conscience, justice!” He couldn’t stand the justice of God as explained by Scripture (probably unlovingly by evangelicals, I grant that … though that doesn’t negate the truthfulness of the doctrines), substitutionary atonement, original sin, which inevitably renders the historic Gospel of Christ null and void. For the good news of the Gospel assumes there is a “bad news” backdrop that makes the good news, well, really good.