Emerging Emergency

I have avoided posting my thoughts on the “Emerging Church” so far because for one thing, I’m not totally sure what it is. Second, I’m kind of afraid of getting people mad at me. Because it seems like whenever the Emerging Church movement is mentioned on a blog someone gets mad.

But I’m going to risk it. I have to admit that at different times I’ve been both attracted to and appalled by things I’ve heard coming out of the movement. Likewise, I’ve been both encouraged and appalled by things I’ve heard on the opposing side.

I am one who takes Christian Orthodoxy seriously. Sound doctrine is very important to me. I believe in propositional truth. I treasure the doctrines of grace. I reject the New Perspective on Paul. And I don’t believe that the Gospel is clearly portrayed in The Matrix (though I did enjoy the movie).

And yet there are aspects of the Emergent Movement that seem very attractive. The community that they build within their churches, their commitment to outreach to nonbelievers. The integration of their faith into their everyday lives.

James MacDonald has written a paper, Why I’m Not Emerging: A Brief Response to the Emergent Church. I urge you all to read it. It is a thoughful, kind, and brief analysis of some of the issues within the movement. It has received mild criticism on some emergent blogs (tallskinnykiwi), but his message resonates with me.

I am also concerned with the eagerness of my fellow reformed evangelicals to so easily criticize anyone loosely associated with the movement. While I am certainly no expert , there are some “emergent” types (thought they might not necessarily classify themselves that way) such as Mark Driscoll, Steve McCoy, and Tim Keller that seem to be 0n very solid ground. On the other end of the spectrum there is Brian McLaren. I have read any of his books, but I have read some articles by him. And I’ve got to admit that I can read several pages and have no idea what he’s said (he does seem like a really nice person, though). But when his philosophy does stick in my head, I’ve got to say I often find it disturbing.

I guess for me, I’m going to try to forget about the whole “emergent”/”non-emergent” thing. I’m going to evaluate ministries based on what they do with the Gospel, not a label that may or may not describe them accurately.


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