Category Archives: Emerging Church

What Was the Colossian Heresy and What Can We Learn from it?

In comments on the last post Philip mentioned Milton Jones’ interpretation of the Colossian heresy as something comparable to post-modernism. I have a great level of respect for Milton Jones. I haven’t read his book (that Philip linked to in his comment) but I did think this would be an interesting point to respond to in a post rather than a comment. In January I started writing curriculum on the prison letters of Paul. I really believe it is important to understand the occasion of an epistle if we are going to spend time teaching it and discussing it. So I really wrestled with the Colossian heresy for a while. After sitting at the feet of everyone from N.T. Wright to Benny Three Sticks and Peter O’Brian via their excellent commentaries, here was my take on the Colossian heresy from my Prison Letters of Paul small group curriculum,

“The Jews believed angels were involved in giving the law (Gal 3:19 for instance). It seems false teachers had come in and said that it was necessary to please these angels, principalities and powers if God was to hear their prayers (see 2:16-23). In order to please them they were taught to follow strict dietary (2:21)and holiness guidelines as well as the observance of special days (2:16). Paul is teaching them that such teachings are false and that Christ is still supreme with full authority over everything in creation that they don’t need to lean on such hollow and deceptive teachings (1:15ff, 2:8).”

I can’t say with certainty that I have it all right but that is the best I can come up with thanks to borrowing from a few scholars I highly respect and trying to put these pieces together in my own mind. It seems more appropriate to me to read their Jewish worldview into the text rather than to read a 21st century worldview into it. It makes more sense that Paul would be referencing things from their culture and not ours. Application can certainly still be made and the parallels connected appropriately to teach us something today about our own world. But as for interpreting what the actual heresy was we have to be careful to read the text from the right direction and not interpret it in light of the first “hollow and deceptive” teaching that we can think of in the world we live in.

If this interpretation of the heresy is correct, how do we make application in our world today? First, we have to listen to what Paul did say about the truth concerning Christ because Paul believed that if we have the truth we won’t be led astray by false teachings (Col 2:8-15). Postmodernism in and of itself is not a false teaching, as some have claimed. It is a worldview. It can lead to false teaching but it can also lead to some very profound insights regarding our faith. We cannot let our worldview “kidnap” (Col 2:8) us by leading us away from Christ and to something claimed superior or more sufficient than Christ. If we allow any worldview to do that we are in grave danger. That can happen with postmodernism but it can happen with any worldview, even modernism. You can get so caught up in figuring everything else, from the modern perspective, that you fail to see a need for Christ in your life. That is Paul’s point in the next verses (Col 2:9-10). The Gospel doesn’t need anything more to make it sufficient to bring us life and godliness because Christ is head over all things. In Col 2:11-15 Paul lays out all that Christ has done for us. When we read through that great list we should realize that our worldview must draw us closer to God and not further away from Him.

PS – If you don’t read Philip’s blog you should have a look. He is a great friend and a very insightful guy.

Free e-book on Emerging Church by Mark Driscoll

Preaching and the Emerging Church by Mark Driscoll [HT: Dan Kimball]

The Shortcut of Changing the Labels – Christian vs. Christ-follower

In John 10 Jesus has some tough words for the Pharisees in response to their poor reception of the man he healed from blindness in John 9. I wrote up quite a lengthy post detailing what was going on in John 10, Jesus as the good shepherd and the gate and all the rest…context, historicalContinue Reading

A Couple Notes of Interest

Jay Guin has a fabulous post on CENI with some great followup comments by Edward Fudge and John Mark Hicks. If you know what CENI is then you probably want to read it. If you don’t have a clue what CENI means then move on to the next link. Imonk, Michael Spenser, has highlighted ChurchContinue Reading

Addressing Changing Ways Young Adults Envision a Biblical Model of Church

I think this quote from Dan Kimball’s Emerging Worship says it well, More and more emerging generations who were raised in the church are saying that there must be something more to “church” than what they have experienced. The systems we use to teach them how to be disciples of Jesus are not connected withContinue Reading

Emerging Church and the Church of Christ – Links

I have had several people ask me for more information on people who are writing about Emerging Church from a Church of Christ perspective. Here are some links that might be helpful. Books: Fred Peatross’s book Tradition, Opinion, and Truth: The Emerging Church of Christ Wade Hodges: 7 Part Series on Emerging Church (see alsoContinue Reading

Fascinating Emerging Church Discussion on Facebook

If you are on facebook, have a look at the discussion we are having regarding the Gospel Advocate’s recent issue on the Emerging Church. Feel free to comment there if that interests you. Here is the link.

Is Associating Yourself with the Emerging Church Alright?

More on the background of this poll in a forthcoming post. For now we will leave it as the simple question… If you wish to comment on why you voted the way you did, feel free!

Willimon’s Thoughts on Reaching Emerging Generations

I found this helpful as he cites a study done by Wuthnow and some statistics on demographics of congregations successfully reaching young adults. Here is the link. If I can get my hands on the study I will post more specifics on it here.

A Bunch More Emerging Church Links

Rob Bradshaw posted a bunch of emerging church links. Have a look.