The EMERGENT / EMERGING CHURCH / MOVEMENT
A concise summary which we have found regarding this movement appeared in the July/August 2010 issue of the ISRAEL, MY GLORY magazine, page 17, from which the following excerpts were taken:
“The emergent/emerging movement is barely over a decade old (depending on when one marks its birth), and already it has splintered and morphed in many directions. As a result, it is often difficult to determine exactly what is being talked about when discussing the subject.”
“…the emergent / emerging movement has infiltrated evangelical circles and is hardly recognizable anymore.”
The article goes on to credit pastor Mark Driscoll with the following information about the movement:
“As he sees it, there are now four expressions of the emergent / emerging church within Christianity (more may be on the way). First are emerging evangelicals who believe in basic Christian doctrine, such as the Bible being God’s Word and Jesus dying for our sins. Pastors such as Dan Kimball would represent this first wing and would at least cling to certain doctrinal positions, such as the three ancient ecumenical creeds, but would not want to drift much beyond them.”
“Next in line would be those involved in house churches. These resist creating large churches and instead form little communities in smaller settings like coffee shops or on the Internet. Perhaps George Barna, with his promotion of the “Revolution”, would be a good representative of this branch.”
“Mark Driscoll sees himself and his church [Mars Hill Church in Seattle, WA] as a third splinter of the movement. He calls his group emerging reformers who believe in all of the evangelical distinctive and embrace Reformed theological traditions. Emerging reformers also try to find ways to make the church relevant, accessible and culturally connected. Many of these tend to embrace charismatic gifts and modern prophecies (that is, they believe prophecies are still being given today, as well as the sign gifts).”
“In the fourth lane is a group of emergent liberals whom Driscoll feels have “totally gotten off the highway and [are] lost out in the woods.” This branch is best represented by Brian McLaren, Rob Bell, Tony Jones and Doug Pagitt. They reject or question even the most cardinal of doctrines, such as the atonement, deity of Christ, inspiration of the Scriptures, and the Second Coming of Christ. Today when we speak of emergent, it is this group we are referencing.”
The article then continues:
“It’s easy to see how fragmented and complicated the emergent / emerging conversation has become. As with most movements, it has changed as it has matured; and it is becoming increasingly difficult to define. Many are distancing themselves from the emergent label itself since it has become somewhat pejorative. What all lanes of emergent / emerging have in common is the desire to be relevant to the postmodern culture. Some have sacrificed the faith in this effort; others are more biblically sound. And it’s up to Christians to be discerning so they can tell which is which.” [emphasis added].
We further recommend another article entitled “The Emergent Kingdom” which appeared in the January/February 2010 issue of the ISRAEL, MY GLORY magazine. This article addresses some of the theological issues we have with this movement.
Strongly recommended reading:
FAITH UNDONE, by Roger Oakland
Churches / Ministries / Groups associated with the Emerging Church Movement At the current rate of growth, this list will quickly be outdated and too large to maintain.
Smith, Chuck Jr.