"The Reformed perspective is primarily engaged in Malaysia via The Agora, a ministry initiated by City Discipleship Presbyterian Church in Subang Jaya. I still am on the fringes of The Agora although my direct involvement in the discussions have essentially been zero for quite a few months. I do find myself agreeing and in sympathy with a lot of what is discussed despite not being convinced about the comprehensiveness of Reformed theology."
The blog post was really about the Gospel Coalition, and of course, the usual concern that anything with Carson and Driscoll or Tim Keller in there would be automatic suspects to "degenerate into another partisan holy huddle", "exclusive" and "pedestalic", rejecting "newer forms" of churches and believers who dun think like them. And needless to say, when it comes to Brian McLaren's projects, the coast is clear.
Dunno about this, but it does seem charitable if we would speak personally with Carson first at the KVBC to clarify if these concerns are genuine or imagined before giving the poor guy such bad press though. Have we called Carson up personally to check, Bob? Maybe we need to wait till October :)
But never mind, it's always 'nice' for the Agora to be associated with these supposedly "exclusive" folks, though we never asked for it.
There's nothing fresh or ground-breaking here actually. I am reminded of a similar conversation with Alwyn which covered the same misperceptions on the Convergence, Divergence and Submergence back in 2005! (So if you have been out of the loop, maybe those would help)
But I think some short reclarifications are in order.
1) Just because some folks in Emergent Malaysia are open theists doesn't mean that open theism is primarily engaged in Emergent Malaysia. Similarly, if "Reformed theology" refers to a full-blown TULIP soteriology, then neither CDPC nor the Agora are explicitly Reformed even though some of our blog contributors (including yours truly!) are. That doesn't mean we are relativists or postmodernists either.
We are basically evangelicals who believe in the supreme authority of Bible as fully trustworthy rule of faith and conduct, and that by Christ's substitutionary atonement on the cross, sinners could to be graciously reconciled with God through faith.(Vision Statement). In that sense, the perspectives in the AGora are about as inclusive and diverse as the evangelical family in Malaysia, with friends and contributors from EFC, Baptist, Anglican, Brethren, Assembly of God, independent charismatics and Presbyterians too. The invitation to all to come and see, bring along some "siew pao" remains wide open!
2) There is an Agora Online Forum, where we discussed about issues affecting the Malaysian church in general and some theological issues as well. Much personal contact and "providential" collaboration for ministry has sprung up from there. Are we a holy huddle? Our track record speaks for itself, we've been in partnership and supported projects from friends at GCF, OHMSI, Real Love ministry, RZIM, iBridge, Kairos, Mercy Malaysia, MCCC and other churches as well. And I could probably count with three fingers, how many times "reformed theology" (TULIP) was discussed in the Agora Googlegroup. It doesn't mean we're ashamed of it, but simply that we have much bigger fish to fry most of the times. Dun believe, ka? Join us and see la! Hehe...
We're very concerned about connecting God's word with the younger generation (the rakyat) using simple, practical and understandable language. Echoing C.S. Lewis,
I have come to the conclusion that if you cannot translate your own thoughts into uneducated language, then your thoughts are confused. Power to translate is the test of having really understood your own meaning.
3) Just because some of us dun feel too 'restricted' by some touchstones of Christian orthodoxy like the supreme authority of Scripture, substitutionary atonement, Deity of Christ doesn't make us 'exclusive' in a bad sense. Bob probably has his own 'bottom line' somewhere too. Perhaps, short creeds like "truth is personal!"
Although I'm personally not convinced that McLarenism or post-foundationalism is the best way of being missional either, I feel that it is somewhat unfair for us to label others as exclusive or guilty of partisanship, when in fact we believe that they are simply wrong. Dead wrong, perhaps. But the former labels suggests a character defect while the latter suggests a convictional error. It doesn't help to confuse the two.
Whatever it is, I wish Bob and the Parti Keadilan Rakyat all the best in the upcoming general election! Bigger fish to fry? Soli Deo Gloria!