Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Observations on the Emergent Church

Several people have written on the emergent church lately. Michael Spencer has a piece about the many threads of the emerging church movement.
I thought “emerging” was an intentional effort to do church in a way that employs a non-traditional missional approach to reaching younger people in postmodern, western culture. Now it appears to mean “everything bad you can find in a Brian Mclaren book is embraced enthusiastically by everyone with a goatee.”
Long story short, the emergent church is like the Evangelical church. There isn't a single unified definition.

There is Emergent aka Brian Mclaren's group. Emergent is pretty weak theologically and it's orthodoxy might be a bit too generous. There is a lot of poor liberal theology there. A lot. John over at Locusts and Honey did a review of some of McLaren's writings a while back. I share his concern that McLaren's de-emphasis of the bible is not a good thing and will end up fostering more heresy than tolerance.

There are also various "emerging" groups who are trying to reach young people and the unchurched by updating their worship and spiritual relevance. In many ways these folks are doing good work. They are cutting away a lot of reactionary baggage from the evangelical church. That isn't unreasonable or even bad. But they are also often lacking in maturity, which I suppose they can only get in time anyway.

Travis Prinzi has a more practical tale about his visit to a local emerging church. I share a lot of his opinions. I have a lot of trouble with contemporary worship because it feels immature to me. I'm an adult and I want adult music. If you can't tell the thematic differences between "In the Secret" and "It Is Well With My Soul," then I'm really sorry for you. The comments made by some of the church's worship and pastoral staff demonstrate the emerging outlook. Whether you agree or disagree with that outlook is up to you.

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