Lots of talk about the Emerging Church
Toni and Jordon have been two of the recent posts I’ve read about the emerging church. I know the discussion has raged on in other places. People have had to try to define the EC. Some have tried to discern whether such and such a church is truly “emerging.” Because the movement is more diffused like the Anabaptists were, rather than centered on a couple of people (Lutherans, Reformed, Methodists) it isn’t as easy to truly define the practice and theology of the movement. I choose to define the EC by the people who call themselves EC, rather than the original ideals the movement held at the beginning.
The term Anabaptist was never coined by actual Anabaptists. It mean “rebaptiser” and it was an inflammatory term used by the movement’s adversaries. It became the label for any rag tag group that didn’t baptize infants. Some of them were powerful emissaries of Christ and some of them tried to form their own political kingdom with armed rebellion.
I don’t think we can reject any movement because there are people on the odd end of a theological spectrum from us. There are more liberal Christians that are disappointed in the EC because they feel parts of it are just women oppressing conservatism in hip clothing. There are more conservative Christians that are extremely uncomfortable with the liberal element of the EC. In any movement as diffused as the EC there will be people who deny Christ in their theology or in their actions.
Jordon believes that the postmodern/EC discussion started out about mission in a new culture but has become a new brand of church for the disaffected. I wasn’t around the beginning. For me the biggest issue has always been the gospel. I”ll admit this was something I thought about long before I heard the term postmodern. I felt that most of the church was preaching a Christless and powerless gospel. Because of this church people don’t act like Christ, don’t do the things Christ followers did before. For the question of mission is somewhat secondary. What good is your mission if the message you bring rarely makes a quantifiable difference in the lives of its hearers?
I fit underneath the EC umbrella, but I also fit under the Anabaptist and Charismatic umbrella as well. All those movements have elements I’m uncomfortable with but that is ok.