The Emergent Church is a strong voice in today’s Christian community. And they’re talking about good things: caring for the poor, peace for all men, loving Jesus. They’re doing church a new way, not content to fit the mold. Again, all good. But there’s more to the movement than that. Much more.
Kevin and Ted are two guys who, demographically, should be all over this movement. But they’re not. And Why We’re Not Emergent gives you the solid reasons why. From both a theological and an on-the-street perspective, Kevin and Ted diagnose the emerging church. They pull apart interviews, articles, books, and blogs, helping you see for yourself what it’s all about.
For the last several years the church I pastor (Compass Point) and I have been mistakenly lumped in with the Emergent movement. It may be because Compass Point puts so much emphasis in missional, servant outreach…or it could be because I’m an occasional contributor to Next Wave. I have never been comfortable with us having the Emergent tag, though I did little to discourage it. I had always maintained a “live and let live” mentality when it came to my concerns about Emergent’s theological stance. I can no longer do that…
My previous posts on this subject include What’s Good About the Emerging Church and What’s Bad About the Emerging Church. Rick McKinley recently wrote a post about the emerging church that got a bit of flak from both sides.
I sense the ground has shifted a little. I could be wrong but here’s what I’m picking up:
- I’m finding more people tuning out what the extreme critics are saying on one end, and what some of the less orthodox emerging folk are saying. Of course, the extremes still get lots of press, but on the ground I’m finding less of an appetite for them. I’m trying not to name names here but you know who I’m talking about.
- I would still hold to my two posts (what’s good and what’s bad) but I’m much more frustrated with what’s bad than I used to be. I wish more self-correction had taken place.
- If you talk to some people who are viewed as emerging, they have concerns about some of the flakiness too. This is often missed by the critics. Out of concern for relationship they’re not as vocal as they should be sometimes.
- A nuanced view is a hard to take. I expressed some praise for the emerging church among some concerns one time and got hammered until I mentioned that I was just basically quoting D.A. Carson. Tim Keller’s example is a good one – he can express the hard stuff but still maintain a teachable spirit while doing so.
- More Reformed churches are embracing some of what’s good about the emerging church while avoiding what’s bad. In other words, they’re reformed with a missional edge. I really like this.
- A lot of us are tired of this whole thing and just want to get on with it.
One more somewhat related note: he couldn’t keep the pace going indefinitely, but does anyone else miss the old days of Tall Skinny Kiwi?
Nothing too profound here, but I sense the ground is shifting in subtle ways. I’ll post tomorrow on what I think is a more important discussion than this one.