John Burke’s response to Mark Driscoll’s chapter is quite good. I am not sure how these things are lived out in his own context, but they do make a lot of sense. Driscoll’s strong and dogmatic evangelical convictions may appear to be too propositional and robotic, and not leave room for the relational dimension so clearly expressed in Scriptures. My feeling is both will agree with one another, though they will differ in the applications.
Burke’s concern seems to center around the doing part of the faith. If propositions fail to be lived out in relationships, then we may be saying “Lord, Lord,” but ultimately not doing the Lord’s will” (Luke 6:46; pg. 37). Ultimately, as he puts it, “how we live reveals what we truly believe” (37).
Burke also observes that it is possible that some of the Emerging leaders are simply reacting to their fundamentalist background “that perhaps smelled more pharisaical than of the life-giving aroma of Christ” (38). This is certainly a strong possibility. When someone abandons fundamentalism, the sky is the limit. I am aware of people who have ended up in the Eastern Orthodox Church and others who have abandoned the faith altogether. Yet, Burke’s central concern seems to be with that of wrestling with the text within a community. This is certainly a noble quest as long as he is not advocating wrestling with essential doctrine as a form of spiritual high for new converts. Whereas we need to interact gently ( I Peter 3:15) with those new to the faith, we also need to be firm with those playing around with the central doctrines of the faith.