Spiritual Formation and the Emergent Connection
I am all for spiritual formation, but it is some of the methods that concern me. Not to mention some of the underlying theology of some of those involved. Simon Chan who I quoted in the last post make makes a statement similar to Tony Jones regarding Justification and Sanctification being two sides of the same coin. As I already mentioned in a previous post, this has some serious consequences on the doctrine of justification.
Today was the first day of the Spiritual Formation Forum, and my suspicion was confirmed regarding the connection between the Emergent Church and spiritual formation. Though it may not be a direct link (meaning that not all emergents are into spiritual formation and not all into spiritual formation are emergent), there are a lot of similarities. To my surprise there was an afternoon meeting on spiritual formation and the emergent conversation. The conference involved six emergent leader the two most well known being Spencer Burke who runs the ooze, and Todd Proctor from Rock Harbor.
As the S.F. leader asked questions of the E.C. leaders, there seemed to be a lot upon which they agreed. One of the main questions that was asked was, "what is spiritual formation to the emergent church? The unanimous answer seemed to be that spiritual formation is growing to be more like Christ within your context. Spencer Burke had been saying that each community will set the rules as to how that will be accomplished and what it will look like. They had been comparing different "Christian" communities such as Evangelical, Mainline Protestant, and Roman Catholic. So I had to raise my hand and ask, “Who is Jesus, and what if some of the rules the community sets up are wrong?” The amazing answer was, "how will you know if they are wrong." My response was "the Word of God." They then asked me, "who is right, the Pentecostal or the Baptist." I responded, "Where they line up with the Word of God, they are right." Someone followed my lead and asked about the Jehovah's Witness community and if there rules where wrong. I was amazed when I heard that they are not going to focus on what aspects we are against their theology, but what aspects we agree, such as our agreement on helping people.
This is the main concern I have with the Spiritual Formation Forum. No one wants to make any substantial claim as to what we are to be formed into. They will all agree that we are to be formed into the image of Jesus, but since doctrine seems not to be favored, I'm having trouble getting any clear answer as to what that means, just like the emergent church.