Bad Questions

Glorifying Doubt by David Cloud

July 7, 2015 Way of

The following is excerpted from What Is the Emerging Church?, which is a new approach to missions and church life among some “evangelicals” that is influencing many fundamental Baptist churches. The author has made a great effort to understand the emerging church, having read more than 100 books and many articles by emerging church leaders, having visited influential emerging congregations as well as attending with media credentials a large emerging conference sponsored by Zondervan and InterVarsity Press. In reality, the emerging church is simply the latest heresy within the broad tent of evangelicalism. The Bible does not warn in vain, “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners” (1 Corinthians 15:33). Chapter titles include the following: What Is the Emerging Church? A Great Blending and Merging. The Liberal Emerging Church. The “Conservative” Emerging Church. 489 pages, available in print and eBook editions from

The glorification of doubt and questioning is part of the deconstruction aspect of the emerging church. They aim to deconstruct traditional theology with the objective of reconstructing something different, something allegedly more fitting for “these times.”

Rob Bell says that God gives men “the invitation to follow Jesus with all our doubts and questions right there with us” (Velvet Elvis, p. 28). He says, “We sponsored a Doubt Night at our church awhile back. People were encouraged to write down whatever questions or doubts they had about God and Jesus and the Bible and faith and church” (p. 29). He says, “Questions bring freedom” (p. 30), and, “Questions, no matter how shocking or blasphemous or arrogant or ignorant or raw, are rooted in humility” (p. 30).

Tim Condor, pastor of Emmaus Way and member of the coordinating team for Emergent Village, says there must be a “climate of theological openness” to allow people to express their doubts (An Emergent Manifesto of Hope, p. 106). He says there should never be a punitive consequence or exclusion for expressions of doubt and questioning of even the most cardinal of doctrinal truths.

Adam Cleaveland says that churches should be “open to critique and deconstruction” (An Emergent Manifesto of Hope, p. 125). He says there should be safe places “where people can come and be involved in the process of deconstructing ideas and practices, all while remaining open to the new movements and new waves of the Spirit.”

Barry Taylor says, “Christian faith is open to discussion. Historically it always has been. It can be questioned and reinterpreted. In fact I would argue that it is meant to be questioned and reinterpreted” (An Emerging Manifesto of Hope, p. 167).

Brian McLaren says that we should welcome “the disillusioned and the doubters” (A Generous Orthodoxy, p. 172).

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