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Dave

A "new monasticism!" UGH> Well, at least these guys are taking this to its logical end. As you say, back to the dark ages of the Medieval Church to "emerge into the context of America..." Embracing the "Gospel Life" to go into the "needy places..." This is psycho-babble without content. This is NO BETTER than the old evangelical desire to show everyone else how "perfect a Christian" they can be! It just has all this "emergent lingo" to make it sound "new" and "spiritual." BAH! Give me the freedom of the Gospel anyday over this re-warmed road to hypocrisy>

Doug

What is wrong with lives centered on contemplative prayer, social justice and radical hospitality. What's wrong with intentional community. What's wrong with going into the needy places. This is called putting your faith into action (faith without works is dead) and not sitting around in your church social club codemning all who are outside its walls.

Matthew 25:34-46

34"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

37"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

40"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

41"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'

44"They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?'

45"He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'

46"Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."


This is social justice and radical hospitality. When you have a community 'intentionally' doing this, God can break down many barriers to the Gospel. I don't see what is wrong with what this guy is saying.

jared

I would say that this is not the negative that it is being portryaed as in this website. These groups are taking what the bible says seriously. This new monasticism is not about hiding in large monastaries instead it is about deing in the world and shining the light of christ to the darkness arround you. Yes it social justice, but much of christ was concerned about if we take the gospels seriously was social justice. Its in opposition to Gods will to oppress the poor. That is very evident from almost all of the OT prophets.

Doug C

What a bunch of drivel. There is nothing here, except legalism in disguise. These people are constantly reinventing church in their own image, bringing God down to their level, because they have no anchor, no history other than their own, and no knowledge of what it means to be in Christ.

They think monasticism is the answer? They have no clue as to what the monastery was really like. Proof that words have no meaning to the emergent church. Words mean what "I" want them to mean.

The monastery was was responsible, partly at least, for driving Luther to a discovery of the Gospel. I can only hope the same is true for the emergent folks. It was a hideous, lonely place for most people, not the air brushed version portrayed in the music videos.

In the end, for the emergent types it's all about "me", how "I" feel about the gospel (whatever that is) and how "I" respond to it. Get a clue. It's not about you, it's about Christ for you.

UGH is right on.

Doug

Doug C,

How is following the words of Christ in Matthew 25 about how "I" feel. Quite the contrary, it is about others, which is what Jesus was trying to say here. You are not doing anything for Christ if you are are not doing it to/for the least of these. It's nice that you can be so arrogant as to think that you are the only one who has "knowledge of what it means to be in Christ." One of the main reasons we have begun to see things such as the emergent church is because the church in America has become so self-centered and so withdrawn from the culture instead of engaged with the culture as Christ was. Jesus didn't shy away from the opressed. He sought them out and they sought Him out. They were drawn to Him. When is the last time you've seen any of the outcast of society seek out the church in America for refuge. When is the last time you went out into the highways and hedges (needy places), and compelled them to come in. The church in America just sits and waits for them to come in instead of executing the Great Commission.

btw, my last initial is "C" as well so I hope those who know me out there don't get confused :)

Steve Newell

Mark Van Steenwyk is a very poor student of history. The monastic movement didn't protect the gospel but removed the gospel from society. One of the results is a Christian "caste" system where the better Christians became part of a given order and the lesser Christians remained in their vocation. Another interest aspect of the various orders is that they tended to organize themselves around an individual's teachings.

As for a social gospel, there is no different of many "evangelicals" and the liberal Christian churches of the 20th Century. Both place "justice" and the "social gospel" place the cross in the background, not the foreground.

corey

DISCLAIMER: Friend of Mark, contributer on his blog...

For those interested in conversation about the issues, Mark has opened up a discussion in the lead post on www.jesusmanifesto.com. One important distinction is the difference between monasticism and new monasticism. They are not even remotely the same thing. New monasticism is about taking the gospel to the places and people that the church has neglected and inviting people to follow Jesus in that context. Sometimes it includes communal living as a way to be more fully present with those in need of redemption through Jesus.

Before criticizing Mark, get to know him. He has chosen to live essentially in poverty in order to live among the people that God has called him to. He is a follower of Jesus who is faithfully and compassionately expressing the gospel in very difficult circumstances. He loves Jesus. He loves the Bible. He loves the church. And he loves you.

L P Cruz

Hmmm, me thinks this will produce tiered level classes of Christians once again.

LPC

Mike Baker

Mr. Cruz is absolutely right. That is the problem with this.

Corey said, "One important distinction is the difference between monasticism and new monasticism. They are not even remotely the same thing. New monasticism is about taking the gospel to the places and people that the church has neglected and inviting people to follow Jesus in that context. Sometimes it includes communal living as a way to be more fully present with those in need of redemption through Jesus."

...so there is no difference, but it is just a restart from the very beginning. That was the exact reasoning behind the establishment of monasticism in the first place. It looks like this New Monasticism is an exercise in wheel reinvention... without understanding that the same mistakes have a very high chance of being repeated. New monasticism is not new at all. In fact, it is a return to the ancient roots that created the horrible traditions of midevil monasticism. Those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it.

"In Augustine's time they were free associations. Afterward, when discipline was corrupted, vows were everywhere added for the purpose of restoring discipline, as in a carefully planned prison. Gradually, many other observances were added besides vows. And these fetters were laid upon many before the lawful age, contrary to the Canons." [Augsburg Confession XXVII:2-4]

"As monastic vows directly conflict with the first chief article, they must be absolutely abolished. For it is of them that Christ says, Matt. 24, 5. 23ff : I am Christ, etc. For he who makes a vow to live as a monk believes that he will enter upon a mode of life holier than ordinary Christians lead, and wishes to earn heaven by his own works not only for himself, but also for others; this is to deny Christ. And they boast from their St. Thomas that a monastic vow is equal to Baptism. This is blasphemy against God." [Smalcald Articles XIV:1-3]

J. K. Jones

Do we have to create new monastic orders / organizations to emerge to show the church how to do something as simple as help the poor? Do we not have opportunity to do this every day near where we live? Can we not find various international relief agencies to support (i. e. World Vision, Compassion International, Samaritan’s Purse, and many others)? I like the Nike slogan: "Just do it."

Arguably Luther’s greatest contribution to society at large was to destroy the distinction between secular and sacred work, to build a work ethic based on the idea that all vocations are sacred and can be devoted to God. We can employ this old-fashioned protestant work ethic, go out and get real “secular” jobs, do them well, make lots of money, and give it to the poor. That’s the way to show the church how it is done.

Dave

I couldn't agree MORE with J.K.! A Christian that is truly engaged in BOTH Kingdoms through one's work on earth (vocation) ARE the true leaders of the Church and "just do it" by the free grace of God!!! No need for new emergent orders or groups...

Rick Frueh

It all sounds so good, except the Scriptures give no command or even suggestion about monasticism. It is curious that so many times these movements end up tampering with the gospel and Biblical truth. Our lives are to exhibit the light of Christ right where we are, not in some speparated living arrangement.

I am still bewildered at how many movements today are crushed with the burden of world hunger and injustice, and yet are tearless concerning the eternal condition of the lost.

Ian

This is all very interesting but let us know the Father's good pleasure in this issue before we condemn this poor fellow. (".. for the letter kills but the Spirit gives life.") From one talk how can we make such amazing conclusions without knowing the man.

Jesus did what he saw the Father doing - no more, no less. Let us embrace the freedom of the cross by following Jesus by individually joining the Father in what He is doing around us. This means some will be evangelists, some will be hospitable, some will be administrators etc. Together we are the body of Christ each playing our separate important part so that the world will know that we are Jesus' disciples as we love one another.

As an aside: JK your protestant work ethic theory is interesting. However Jesus gave up carpentry to wander Israel and teach people about the Kingdom of God, not a work ethic (which could be seen in some circumstances as "dead works" - Heb6v1). As part of the kingdom message He taught us how to rely on the Father.

Andy

Ian, I think you missed JK's point. Most believers are neither called nor have the opportunity to be itinerant preachers and good-doers like Jesus was. JK's point is that, since most of us will find ourselves in the employment world, we should carry out that employment in the Spirit of Christ and then be generous with our incomes. How was that not clear?

liz c

I was saved in my childhood. I realised that I was an out and out sinner against God, I repented and put my trust in Jesus to save me because I understood that He had payed the price for my sin with His own blood. After that I got baptised by immersion and started reading my Bible regularly and praying. I attended a local church that taught obedience to scripture, and the need to become more Christ like with the help of the Holy Spirit.

Can somebody out there, either emergent or traditional tell me where I went wrong?

queenbee

As Doug #1 stated..."What is wrong with lives centered on contemplative prayer, social justice and radical hospitality. What's wrong with intentional community? What's wrong with going into the needy places? This is called putting your faith into action (faith without works is dead) and not sitting around in your church social club codemning all who are outside its walls".

I find it exciting that some of my 'family' are taking a bold risk and living out their faith in the world as a direct command of our Lord. I live in a city well-known for its downtown eastside. Am I likely to be living in community in this drug and rat infested, sleazy underbelly part of the world? No, because I don't think (at least at this moment) that God is calling me to this type of service, but there are others in my 'family' who do. As Ian stated..."Together we are the body of Christ each playing our separate important part so that the world will know that we are Jesus' disciples as we love one another".

Am I missing something here? How can this be 'dark' when you are reflecting Jesus' light right in your own little corner of the world?

Ben

Goodness gracious, so much dribble drabble and CRAP from a bunch of people who want to be "right" on an issue that has no "right" or "wrong" side, except to say one is "right." I am so sick of Christians doing this crap. What is wrong with someone choosing to live in a New Monastic community? NOTHING. Some of them are doing amazing work. In fact, it is AWESOME that they are willing to NOT find themselves in the American employment machine, and give all of that up to live like Christ. On the other hand, it's perfectly fine that others choose to live and work, and do so in Christ-like manner, and NOT enter into New Monasticism. Why is one the dark ages? Why is one wrong? This is ridiculous and i wish everyone who tried to say one way was right and the other is wrong would SHUT UP! Get over yourselves and rejoice in others living out their lives for Christ, HOWEVER they choose to do it.

p.s. Luther didn't "find" the Gospel. I am sick of that type of talk. The reformers didn't find the truth about Christ, it had been around for 1500 years before them. They simply corrected errors which had been running rampant at the forefront of Christianity. With that, came many of their own errors. There are those now who are trying to correct many errors which have been running rampant at the forefront of Christianity for years now... they have some errors of their own. One day, when we're with Christ, we'll get it all right... For now, give each other a break, help one another out, and join in the dance of joy, grace, and life with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

p.p.s. The cross shouldn't be at the FOREFRONT of christianity, and i'm sick of it being there... It should be our secondary symbol. An Empty Tomb belongs at the forefront because i serve a God who is NOT dead, but is alive and working in his people!

Paul L.

Ben said, "The cross shouldn't be at the FOREFRONT of christianity, and i'm sick of it being there"

Yeah, Saul of Tarsus, get with the program:

"For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified." 1 Corinthians 2:2

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