Fault lines in the Emerging Church
Emergent and Brian McLaren have received a significant amount of heat over theological positions that are not shared by everyone in the Emerging Church. A lot of the criticism has misrepresented positions. Some of it was accurate in direction but not in degree. Regardless there are some people in EC circles that agree with some of the points people like D.A. Carson have made.
I haven’t read Carson’s book but I did listen to some of his lectures and those of other critics. I can understand where a lot of them are coming from. I don’t sense a malicious agenda or a desire to deliberately misunderstand or misrepresent. I think that sometimes the critics have been sloppy or lazy. In turn some people have become defensive, hostile and even dismissive in return. In some circles D.A. Carson has been demonized and we have forgotten that he is part of the church.
As the different pockets of the EC progress they will solidify in different directions. The EC in Australia is very different than it is in the US. They don’t sense the same need for a “A New kind of Christian” and are more geared for a “a new kind of church.” When I was down there they used the term “Emerging Missional Church” which they distinguished from “Emergent” or “Emerging Church”. They saw themselves as “post alt.worship.” The emerging forms of church are developing differently in different countries.
As the movement progresses I find myself more and more in the simple/house church compartment if that is what you would call it. I am less and less interested in what comes out of certain authors and organizations. Much like the Roman Catholic church with it’s different monastic orders the EC is going to have accept that we aren’t all going to be on the same page. We have to be open and honest about these things.
As we do this I think we will see some subdivision along the lines of doctrine, mission, leadership, and other areas of church practice.