I have a collection of interesting articles, blog posts, and comments on the emerging church that have been building up in my collection, but that I haven’t posted. Even though I don’t agree with everything I have posted here, I think that on the whole this gives a good assessment of where the emerging church is, where its problems lie, and in some cases how it can make corrections. The point is to give people a different set of lenses through which they can look at the emerging church, and also undertand with slightly greater clarity how I’ve come to look at the emerging church the way I have.
More than a Fad: Understanding the Emerging Church. Although this piece is a couple of months old, this is a must read article that includes some important insights into the emerging church.
Has Doctrine Become the New Dirty Word? This article from Biola’s Connections magazine discusses concerns about the divide between orthodoxy and orthopraxis that is often cited as a primary concern of the emerging church, and how that a concern for orthopraxis that sees doctrine as less essential leads to problems. A number of Biola faculty are cited in this excellent piece.
Steve McCoy has a post in which he links two video promos of from the Desiring God conference:
These clips are helpful, particularly the latter, in bringing some balance and sanity to our understanding on some recent issues. In particular, I think the discussion on what ‘missional’ really means brings us back to the core of the issue rather than using ‘missional’ as a blanket word to baptize things within the church, or as a way of complaining about other believers or churches. For example, it helps clarify that ‘missional’ is not about bringing zany programs into the church, but about listening to non-believers in culture, respecting their position and being sensitive to their concerns.
Also an ongoing discussion is Calvary Chapel’s statement where it outlined its concerns of the emerging church: Parson to Parson
This statement itself is not news as it came out back in May. Andrew Jones posted on his blog about it, while downplaying some legitimate concerns such as the incorporation of soft mysticism into the church. Noteably, Chuck Smith Jr. posted his thoughts as well. Yesterday Andrew added another post on his blog, How Your Emerging Church Can Stay in Calvary Chapel which is a bit of tongue in cheek and a bit of sarcasm, but in many ways it is merely a continuation of what has been said before. What is new, however, is that Marc Driscoll has posted a copy of the statement on his blog and seems to be taking the criticism seriously. I think there is an illuminating contrast in the responses, and I hope that honest concerns - both by folks who identify with the emerging church and those who don’t - will be taken seriously.
Scot McKnight recently met with TheOoze’s founder, Spencer Burke. For my part, while I appreciate much of the work that Scot McKnight has done, particularly his articles in JETS on conversions of Roman Catholics and Evangelicals, I find myself frustrated with his role as an emerging church apologist, primarily because I believe that he soft-peddles and downplays the legitimate criticisms that are brought into the emerging conversation. TheOoze, of course, has been a site that I have kept an eye toward for years, though in the last year and a half, with a new polished look for the site that diminished its charm, the embrace of Cold Fusion as the middle-layer of the site design (see here for why this is a problem), and particularly since the infamous “Response to Recent Criticisms” was posted in June of 2005, my enthusiasm has become quite tempered. With all this background in place, in Scot McKnight’s recent post of his discussion with Spencer Burke, what jumped out at me was that the core of their discussion was on what Spencer called “the post-emerging church” and how to bridge the gap between the emerging church and the institutional church. If this is indeed the case, then there is some cause for postemergents like myself to be encouraged.
John Morehead has also posted some comments on the emerging church. It is worth noting that John Morehead has interacted directly with Ryan Bolger and Eddie Gibbs in the past (see his post here). Recently he posted an article “Baptists and the Emerging Church: some critical issues” by Simon Payne and Philip Johnson (the one in Australia) that was published in Mosaic Vol. 8, No. 2 (Winter 2006). The article is in four parts (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4).
John Morehead also points to some of his colleagues’ concerns with the emerging church. Jon Trott shares some inarticulate thoughts concerning an article on the The Ooze website endorsing panentheism. Although I agree with very little of Jon Trott’s post, it is worth noting what problems he sees within the emerging church. Also, I’ve pointed this out in another post but it is worth revisiting: Philip Johnson (not the John MacArthur guy, but the one from Australia) has discussed a number of points where the emerging church needs both discernment and insight - specifically, the need for honest self evaluation in missional projects (pointing in particular to points made about how a Christian Rave experience was not received by those in attendence as Christian or as having a Christian message), misunderstanding and being unaware of the effects of esoteric spirituality in popular culture, the need for precision and accuracy in interpreting issue, and the aspects of culture that are being overlooked by the emerging church networks. Finally, Matt Stone’s post discussions concerns about misappropriating alternative spiritualities, dismissing the apologetic mandate as a fundamentalist hangover, and continuing theological forrays into panentheism.
This is in addition, of course, to other articles that I have already highlighted, such as “Absolutely Not! A critical look at the emerging church movement” by Phil Johnson, and Anton Hein’s entry in Apologetics Index titled “Postmodernism and the Emerging Church Movement.”
And finally, there a couple of telling and humorous posts: There is no such thing as emerging church (emerging and technology) and How many EC bloggers does it take to change a light bulb?
This may be quite a bit of reading, but I think taking the time to read, understand, and analyze the perspectives being offered will be of benefit to readers trying to get a handle on what the concerns are about the emerging church movement, and for those who readily identify with the emerging church to charitably understand why others do not.
Pingback on August 12, 2006 @ 11:09 pm
[…] When Scot McKnight visited Spencer Burke back in July, Spencer gave Scot a copy of his new book, A Heretic’s Guide to Eternity in bound proofs to read and review. Spencer Burke, as most readers here know, is the leading voice behing TheOoze, a website that for years has been at the cutting edge of the emerging conversation. In an earlier post, I commented that I had hope that Spencer Burke would be serious about bridging the gap between the emerging church and the mainstream of Evangelicalism, since he seemed to be leaning more toward a “post-emerging church.” Sadly, my comments were little more than wishful thinking, as Scot McKnight’s review of the manuscript has shown. […]
Trackback on March 14, 2007 @ 10:32 am