Home > Andrew's Blogs, Emerging Church Movement > The Very First Emergent Guy

The Very First Emergent Guy

I was doing some reading for a sermon and I ran across this creed from the Age of Reason by Thomas Paine (1737-1809).  Read it and see if you think he was the first emergent dude.Part I of the Age of Reason

I believe in one God, and no more; and I hope for happiness beyond this life.
I believe in the equality of man; and I believe that religious duties consist in doing justice, loving mercy, and endeavouring to make our fellow-creatures happy.
But, lest it should be supposed that I believe many other things in addition to these, I shall, in the progress of this work, declare the things I do not believe, and my reasons for not believing them.
I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish Church, by the Roman Church, by the Greek Church, by the Turkish Church, by the Protestant Church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church.
All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.
I do not mean by this declaration to condemn those who believe otherwise; they have the same right to their belief as I have to mine. But it is necessary to the happiness of man that he be mentally faithful to himself. Infidelity does not consist in believing, or in disbelieving; it consists in professing to believe what he does not believe.

Am I crazy or could Tony Jones or Brian McLaren have written this?

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  1. March 10, 2009 at 10:09 pm

    The denial of orthodox belief certainly resembles Jones or McLaren, as the discussion of Jones on Wittmer’s blog is evidence. However, there is a significant difference between Paine and the Emergents.

    Paine rejects Christianity because he is a rationalist and Christianity does not work with his modern, rationalistic view of the world (such as miracles are impossible). Some Emergents reject orthodox Christianity not because of their strong belief in reason, but because of their reaction against rationalistic theology. They are thoroughly postmodern in terms of being skeptical, relativism, etc.

    Similar conclusion, different paths to that conclusion.

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