This week I had a conversation with a friend who is somewhere in the Emergent field. At one point in our discussion he said, “You probably aren’t going to like this, but I value the conversation more than being right.”
What troubles me about his comment is the phrase “more than.” If “conversation” reflects the ethical, relational side of the Christian faith and “being right” stands in for doctrine, then he essentially said that he values ethics more than Christian doctrine.
This snapshot crystallizes the problem I have with my Emergent friends. I do not understand why my friend did not stop at “as much as.” We all agree that Christian ethics matter as much as doctrine, for faith without works is dead. But once we say “more than,” we open ourselves to false beliefs that will destroy not only the Christian faith, but eventually the Christian ethics that my friend so wants to protect.
How long can we practice Christian ethics and enjoy Christian conversation once we have given up our quest for the “right interpretation of Scripture”? Can we live Christianly if we do not believe Christianly?