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Thread: The Emergent Church

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    The Emergent Church

    The Emergent Church

    What do we really know about this movement ? (details)

    My brief confused thoughts about what it might be:-

    Forged in the minds of the business sector, and brought in through the back door of sterile religion, to incorporate ideas that would be discarded by the Lord in a few words of authoritive rebuke...?

    A combination of sensationalistic and performance orientated messages, designed to placate the ever increasing need for superficial, immediate thrills in a world of the quick fix, the now, the bandage which brings bondage...?

    The religion of man, developed as the religion of God...disguised, remodelled, beautified, churchified, christianeezed, and set on a pedastal before the world as the answer to community, society, order from above to be relevant to meet the actual psychological, metaphysical and so-called spiritual needs of the world, by helping it to fulfill it's dreams of self-discovery....?

    or...

    The New Reformation, that our fore-father's prayed for, died for, shed blood for, agonised in the mission fields for.

    The ultimate synergy of man's power, merged with the power of the Gods to fulfil the deepest need for fulfilment in our world. Global Evangelism.

    The last generations effort at gathering in the harvest of the gentile nations, that precedes and speeds on the coming of Messiah in clouds of glory to set up his earthly Kingdom.

    or.... ????? What is the Emergent Church....(details please)

    Okay, I need to say why I want to know what it is:

    Well, I recently read through first an address by a leading evangelical, who has made a stand against it, and has caused a gigantic rupture in a mainstream denomination. Followed by a second article explaining that a conference to discuss these matters...I still do not have a clear definition of what the Emergent Church is, and what it is not....

    Anyone ?

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    Re: The Emergent Church

    Quote Originally Posted by katoikei
    The Emergent Church

    What do we really know about this movement ? (details)

    My brief confused thoughts about what it might be:-

    Forged in the minds of the business sector, and brought in through the back door of sterile religion, to incorporate ideas that would be discarded by the Lord in a few words of authoritive rebuke...?

    A combination of sensationalistic and performance orientated messages, designed to placate the ever increasing need for superficial, immediate thrills in a world of the quick fix, the now, the bandage which brings bondage...?

    The religion of man, developed as the religion of God...disguised, remodelled, beautified, churchified, christianeezed, and set on a pedastal before the world as the answer to community, society, order from above to be relevant to meet the actual psychological, metaphysical and so-called spiritual needs of the world, by helping it to fulfill it's dreams of self-discovery....?

    or...

    The New Reformation, that our fore-father's prayed for, died for, shed blood for, agonised in the mission fields for.

    The ultimate synergy of man's power, merged with the power of the Gods to fulfil the deepest need for fulfilment in our world. Global Evangelism.

    The last generations effort at gathering in the harvest of the gentile nations, that precedes and speeds on the coming of Messiah in clouds of glory to set up his earthly Kingdom.

    or.... ????? What is the Emergent Church....(details please)

    Okay, I need to say why I want to know what it is:

    Well, I recently read through first an address by a leading evangelical, who has made a stand against it, and has caused a gigantic rupture in a mainstream denomination. Followed by a second article explaining that a conference to discuss these matters...I still do not have a clear definition of what the Emergent Church is, and what it is not....

    Anyone ?
    Sorry gentle folk,

    I am really getting stale at discussion forums. Normally I have a look at places like Wikipaedia, though I think this interpretation might be a little on the stale side, with the rapid growth of this movement...

    Wikipedia says...(obviously there is more, follow the link at the end)

    EMERGING CHURCH:

    The emerging church or emergent church is a diverse movement within Christianity that arose in the late 20th century as a reaction to the influence of modernism in Western Christianity. The movement is usually called a "conversation" by its proponents to emphasize its diffuse nature with contributions from many people and no explicitly defined leadership or direction. The emerging church seeks to deconstruct and reconstruct Christianity as its mainly Western members live in a postmodern culture. While practices and even core doctrine vary, most emergents can be recognized by the following values:

    Authenticity
    People in the postmodern culture seek real and authentic experiences in preference over scripted or superficial experiences. Emerging churches strive to be relevant to today's culture and daily life, whether it be through worship or service opportunities. The core Christian message is unchanged but emerging churches attempt, as the church has throughout the centuries, to find ways to reach God's people where they are to hear God's message of unconditional love.

    Missional living
    Christians go out into the world to serve God rather than isolate themselves within communities of like-minded individuals.

    Narrative theology
    Teaching focuses on narrative presentations of faith and the Bible rather than systematic theology or biblical reductionism.

    Christ-likeness
    While not neglecting the study of Scripture or the love of the church, Christians focus their lives on the worship and emulation of the person of Jesus Christ.

    Emergent Christians are predominantly found in Western Europe, North America, and the South Pacific. Some attend local independent churches that specifically identify themselves as being "emergent", while many others contribute to the conversation from within existing mainline denominations.
    LINK

    And curiouser, curiouser he grew.....

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    Re: The Emergent Church

    Ahhhh...viola!

    Beginners Guide

    Just what I needed to get a handle on this every changing process called 'emergence'

    If you are a specialist on the Movement I would welcome a little guidance, for the present I am doing the Beginner's Guide....

    Peace.

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    Re: The Emergent Church

    Good Morning,

    To conclude my discovery of the meaning of the Emergent Church (UK), this excerpt though resembling 'wooling' certainly explains a facet of 'emergence' that is intrigueing. (link below)

    What makes emerging church different to traditional church?
    The essence of emerging church is a heartbeat rather than a formula. Emerging church does not declare, 'We've done this. It's tried and tested. Take the model away and adapt it.' It is more tentative, experimental and varied. Many involved are hesitant, unsure whether they have got it right and reluctant to make bold claims.

    Not every seeker service, cell church, base community or whatever else is fashionable becomes a true expression of emerging church. Emerging church is genuine when it flees franchised, look-alike church in favour of more bespoke versions of Christian community. Some leaders spy something new and exclaim 'That must be emerging church!' But emerging church is more than a new form of church: it is a culturally authentic expression of church.

    Emerging church is a mindset ('we'll come to you') rather than a model. It is a direction rather than a destination. It rests on principles rather than a plan. It arises out of a culture rather than being imposed on a culture. It is a mood, scarcely yet a movement.

    Stuart writes: 'Hesitancy and humility are encouraging characteristics of many of those who are emerging churches, aware that they are exploring and experimenting. This is a refreshing change from those who advocate 'this-is-the-answer' solutions, which have plagued churches in recent years. But tentative claims should not be interpreted to mean that they are playing at church - many are passionate, serious and courageous.'

    Sometimes people remark, 'Traditional church serves people in their culture, so it's emerging church too!' The Book of Common Prayer can be an entirely authentic Christian expression of that particular congregation. But what prevents traditional church from becoming emerging church is the mission assumption - 'come to us as we are'.

    When church members ask instead, 'How can we remain true to ourselves but also sponsor a different expression of church alongside us, suitable for this group we don't reach?' then traditional church changes gear. It begins to move from inherited to emerging mode. Might the time come when Christians can say, 'We are all emerging church now'?
    LINK

    Over to y'all...peace

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    Re: The Emergent Church

    Paul had some finally's...so here comes mine. After reading through a segment by Christianity Today, titled Emergent Mystique by Andy Crouch... I stepped back for a serious breath of fresh air...

    ......but the Jesus Movement, largely composed of converts, was generally unconcerned with theology. Emergent, whose leaders are evangelicalism's own sons and daughters, may yet contribute something more profound than one more fleeting form of cultural relevance.

    At least that's what Rob Bell hopes. "People don't get it," he told me. "They think it's about style. But the real question is: What is the gospel?"

    That question, of course, is not new. It was asked by, among others, a devout young German monk named Martin Luther who found church increasingly dissatisfying. His answer, rooted in Scripture, changed the direction of Christian history at a moment of epochal cultural change.

    Is it possible that a compelling new answer could emerge from McLaren's "conversation"?
    Also a link to what Theopedia has to say about 'THE EMERGENT CHURCH'...I shall return in a day or two to see if anyone has got something that is current on this ....'CONVERSATION' (as it is so called)....???

    Good Morning America.

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    Re: The Emergent Church

    Okay, I'm done reading up the Theopedia definition of the 'Emergent Church' or conversation. Before I say another word about this, please read this quote from the same, and if you have not read the entire article, I suggest you do:

    Narrative over propostional truth

    Brian McLaren believes that "Christians should present Christianity through loving attitudes rather than logical arguments." Furthermore, "[t]he gospel is made credible not by how we argue and make truth claims. But it’s made credible by the love and the good deeds that flow from our lives and our community." [9] McLaren's statements overlap with the prevous section in that proponents of the EC tend to reject a Christian faith that is made up of "logical arguments" and propositional "truth claims." Instead, those in the EC want to belittle the idea of arguing for the truth and logical consistency of the Christian faith, and simply live the Christian faith. Thus, what develops is a faith that is only lived while little attention is given to what one actually believes. Biblical Christianity denies (nor belittles) neither, and encompasses the reality of living out that which one believes is true.

    Adam Bradley writes that "PoMo (Postmodern) churches tend to shun reductionist approaches to Scripture in which a story is reduced to doctrines and principles but stripped of its tension and human drama." [10] A "reductionist approach" would be where a Pastor looks at a passage and draws out, for example, that Jesus is indeed God from John 1:1. Those in the EC desire, instead, to focus on a practical approach to Scripture rather than one that draws out propositions.

    It should be stated that proponents of the EC do not reject propositional truth altogether, yet it remains near the bottom of the priority list when EC Pastors preach or when the gospel is shared with an unbeliever.
    What is truth ? Has already been addressed and is answered in the Bible, and will always be something that is either examined systematically or deviated from into some for or other of speculative conversationalism....blah, blah, blah.... Mod or Pomo, muppet singing his songo, I got go now and get me a nice big cuppa coffee or tea....o


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    Re: The Emergent Church

    If you want to understand where the movement is coming from I would recommend two books in particular written by those within the movement. A Generous Orthodoxy by Brian McLaren and Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell. For a critique of McLaren's work D.A. Carson's book Becoming Conversant With the Emerging Church does an excellent job. It is also interesting that McLaren claims to be writing in the same spirit as G.K. Chesterton. I would also recommend reading Chesterton's works Heretics and Orthodoxy. You'll find the two are going in completely opposite directions.

    I've read all the books above and am considering writing a book-length critique of McLaren and Bell's books. I've got plenty of notes. Here are just a couple of observations.

    Both came more or less out of the framework of evangelicalism. Their critiques of evangelicalism are often valid. But their corrections for these errors that they find in evangelicalism are at times worse and sometimes better but without a real solid Biblical basis.

    With evangelicalism they share a pretty weak understanding of the Trinity. We read statements like "God was in Christ in an unprecedented way" which make me want to throw-up. McLaren seems to sympathize with almost everyone but Calvinists whom either truly misunderstanding or deliberately misleading he lumps in with fundamentalists. It is interesting because only classical reformed thinking really offers the answer to all the real problems that are being spoken of. Although McLaren claims to define Christianity earlier in the book as being in harmony with the Nicene creed, he talks about how Calvin gained too much power and had fellow Christians put to death who disagreed with his doctrines. I'm pretty ashamed at the editors at Zondervan for letting a statement like this pass through. Only one person was executed for heresy while Calvin was in Geneva (not plurality of people) and that person was Michael Servetus--an anti-Trinitarian. He was a troublemaker and the Roman Catholic church was going to put him to death as well.

    There is a serious desire for true community in the emerging church movement and that is one of the few things they have gotten right. They complain of individualism in the church and they are right in doing so but their writing is also very individualistic. In Heretics Chesterton mocks a particular author for not being able to talk abstractly and speaking of everything in relationship to himself and this is a strong characteristic of the emerging church authors. They believe that personal testimony (along with much evangelicalism and Mormons) is the way all evangelism should be done. Both lack a proper Christ-centeredness. It's not, let me tell you what Christ did, it's let me tell you about what happened to me.
    For whatever strength of arm he may have who swims in the open sea, yet in time he is carried away and sunk, mastered by the greatness of its waves. Need then there is that we be in the ship, that is, that we be carried in the wood, that we may be able to cross this sea. Now this Wood in which our weakness is carried is the Cross of the Lord, by which we are signed, and delivered from the dangerous tempests of this world.--St. Augustine

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    Re: The Emergent Church

    Thank-you so much for answering my rather extended consideration of the what Brian McLaren expresses in his books and nervously expresses in lectures.

    His epistimology, which he says was 'ideas drive civilization' but now is 'Social History is the engine and intellectual history is the coal car that gives the fuel to the social history to help the social history do what it must do.' (The way he rattled this off, it sounded more like a creed or a quote from someone else)

    I found his thinking rather scattered and his arguments very immature and lacking in a sound knowledge of Scripture.

    His reference to South Africa, 'Calvinists gave white South African's phenomonal confidence to create the system of apartheid', very revealing, seeing that I am a 48 year old white South African who lived through the apartheid regime and wonder where he got his South African History 101 from.

    He loosely quotes Nelson Mandela and Bishop Desmond Tutu, and in the end seems to be more politically intoxicated, as he revealed his priority listing: Poverty, Racism (which he spent some time addressing), Sexual Immorality and Violence and Materialism.

    I was largely puzzled by his down playing of doctrine and continual focus on what I am inclined to call, 'McLaren's gigantic hot air balloon'

    Thank-you for reminding me of reading GK's work, I have been so deep into a study of the Old Testament, that I just do not have time for doing much else.

    I wish that McLaren would spend more time studying instead of reading Scripture, than filling his head with stuff about the uselessness of ad-hominen in Philosophy 101 which he certainly uses effectively in his own presentation as he attacks Calvanists, Racists and I forget...placing them within the box of irrelevant gospel preachers, preaching a message of fear.

    I think McLaren needs to do more open debates with people that understand his intellectual gospel, which is meant to hold some relevance to the people who he explained need a simpler ...whatever... I think I got lost listening to him, that is until I read what you wrote. Glory to God !

    My sixteen year old has been jamming my thinking airwaves with one word, 'Humanism'....(for about a week)...and when I heard Brian McLaren's challenge that Christians debate the following. 'What is the Gospel? - is it 'penal substitutionary atonement' or 'The Kingdom of God' - Let Jesus tell us what the gospel is', I wondered seriously what this 'edge' is that he keeps talking, and talking about...

    Here is a link to the set of lectures by Brian McLaren and others, maybe others will get a better summary out of the new spokesman for God.

    LINK

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    Re: The Emergent Church

    Wildboar: 'In Heretics Chesterton mocks a particular author for not being able to talk abstractly and speaking of everything in relationship to himself and this is a strong characteristic of the emerging church authors. They believe that personal testimony (along with much evangelicalism and Mormons) is the way all evangelism should be done. Both lack a proper Christ-centeredness. It's not, let me tell you what Christ did, it's let me tell you about what happened to me.'
    I know this is my second response to what you initially wrote, but it is really good, that you not only accurately pin-pointed the ghost in the machine, but provided me with a really great reading sourse. So many have quoted GK Chesterton, but I am really looking forward to making time to read 'Heretics' and then 'Orthodoxy'... (Infact I am going to load up 'Orthodoxy' right now, and then see where I put 'Heretics')

    In Christ,
    Katoikei

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    Re: The Emergent Church

    The emerging church movement is correct in saying that evangelicalism is wrong in saying that the atonement is only about salvation of individuals. Creation will certainly be redeemed but certainly not by the questionable science of modern environmentalists. We certainly must be good stewards of our resources. Towards the end of Velvet Elvis Rob Bell (who does a good deal more quotation of Scripture than McLaren does) talks the redemption of the creation by citing where Paul says that Jesus is the firstfruits. What he doesn't site is the rest of the verse where it says "the first fruits of those who sleep." There are other passages which could be validly sited to show that Christ has redeemed all of creation but this particular passage is clearly dealing with human beings. We are dealing with the same bad principles of interpretation in which single verses or even fragments of verses are sited to support a person's opinion by ripping them out of the context. We find the same thing in certain Calvinistic circles especially on the internet where people want to make every verse in the Bible a defense of the TULIP doctrines rather than gather all the precious jewels found in the Bible.
    For whatever strength of arm he may have who swims in the open sea, yet in time he is carried away and sunk, mastered by the greatness of its waves. Need then there is that we be in the ship, that is, that we be carried in the wood, that we may be able to cross this sea. Now this Wood in which our weakness is carried is the Cross of the Lord, by which we are signed, and delivered from the dangerous tempests of this world.--St. Augustine

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    Re: The Emergent Church

    I agree, you are correct. This is where I step back, and take a deep breath and smile, bobbing my head up and down. (With the old grey beard look twinkling in my eye)

    When the Scriptures are used as a text book, to glean appropriate quotes for one's theory, gross errror is inevitable. I can only suspect that the ground level teaching of such individuals, is rooted in a strong disregard for the absolute authority of the Scriptures.

    Perhaps the merging of philosophical and political ideas and agendas, and the 'passion' of the world's way of thinking is still too much alive in the theories that demand to be accepted, and the 'good book' is used as a sword of a different sort, to add 'more power ta ya' new reformation, which is not a reformation at all.

    Sola Scriptura

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    A theory.

    The whole name "Emergent Church" seems to touch on a fact that most of the of the reformation is now adopting an almost Catholic stance to deny. Some Christians are outside the "Visible" Church. There is a yearning to get on with the business that I think the reformation has failed with, that is making the Church more on this earth, as it is in heaven.

    A sort of critical mass will happen if the Visible Church does not attend to the necessity to be mostly like the Invisible Church, which is God's true Church. The Invisible church should be identical to the Visible one but we know it is not nor will it be on this earth, but we can be approaching that goal. Some of the Invisible church exists outside the Visible. The more people who are part of the Invisible, that are not part of the Visible, the greater the fuel for reaction. Eventually something will happen and there will be a break between the traditional denominations and the Invisible and real center or Christianity.

    Hugh McBryde
    "Every word of God is tested; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him. Do not add to His words Or He will reprove you, and you will be proved a liar."

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    Re: The Emergent Church

    Nicely put. I look forward to your bibliography.

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    Murky...

    Quote Originally Posted by katoikei
    "Nicely put. I look forward to your bibliography."
    This is based entirely on experiences with persons trying to claim to be in favor of the "Emergent Church" and on the clear teaching of the traditional reformation regarding the "Visible" and "Invisible" church. Emergent Church people are a bit fuzzy on things.
    "Every word of God is tested; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him. Do not add to His words Or He will reprove you, and you will be proved a liar."

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    Re: The Emergent Church

    .....clear teaching of the traditional reformation regarding the "Visible" and "Invisible" church
    Do you have any specific references? I would be interested to read your sources.

    In Christ,
    Katoikei

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    Such as it is.

    For the Westminster Large Catechism, here and here. I'd have to get you a recording of the Sunday School class I was in at Gallatin Valley Presbyterian church, maybe they have an MP3 file on their website or I might be able to obtain it for you. I participated in a Visible Church/Invisible Church discussion in a Sunday School class there as a member of that class. The Gallatin Valley Presbyterian Church's website is here. The Emergent Church references as I said are general experiences I have had with them. There is a discussion forum that leans towards a sort of "Acts 2" church flavor, and it is here.

    Hugh McBryde
    "Every word of God is tested; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him. Do not add to His words Or He will reprove you, and you will be proved a liar."

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    Re: The Emergent Church

    Thanks Hugh,

    Thanks for the effort. If you do find the Visible Church/Invisible Church discussion you participated in, I would really enjoy listening to it thanks.

    Peace,
    Katoikei

    I enjoy the Westminster Confession, it is my current favourite. That forum is scary, I don't know how long I could last with that sausage shaped object following me around....

    When I read 'Sunday School' I thought you were making a joke, for out here Sunday School is only for toddlers....

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    Re: The Emergent Church

    For those who might be following this thread; here are the links to the two books by GK Chesterton.

    Heretics
    and,
    Orthodoxy

    (right click and save target)

    It is time for me to step back a bit from posting for awhile so I can get into some serious reading of these two books.

    Peace, Katoikei

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    Re: The Emergent Church

    'Both Purpose Driven and the emerging church promote contemplative spirituality, which is a belief system that is contrary to biblical Christianity. Popular authors such as Richard Foster, Brian McLaren, Rick Warren, Henri Nouwen, Brennan Manning and many others teach contemplative spirituality (also known as spiritual formation).'
    Does anybody have any idea what exactly 'contemplative spirituality' is, or 'spiritual formation' is ?

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    Re: The Emergent Church

    For the unintiated... This link might aid one to understand what 'contemplative prayer' is supposed to be:

    LINK

    In Christ,
    Katoikei

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