Fault lines in the Emerging Church
In the last little while 3 distinct groups have been identified within the Emerging Church: The Relevants, Reconstructionists and the Revisionists.
The relevants are people I’ve called the Coffee and Candles set. Take regular church and tweak the style of worship and preaching to make it more “relevant” to new generation.
The reconstructionists are generally the organic church/house church crowd who want change the way church is structured or in some cases destructure it to the bare minimum.
The revisionists are those who are more theologically adventurous.
It wouldn’t take long to figure out I’m in the reconstructionist camp. To date I’ve generally got along with those that would be considered Revisionist. Among the relevants and reconstructionists there is more theological humility than in generic evangelicalism. Up until now this humility has served as pretty good lubricant.
When I first became intersted in the EC people like McLaren were asking good questions. The same questions a lot of us were asking. I’ve found that when you ask questions without providing much in the way of answers people will generally agree with you. Everyone wants to think their answers are the right ones, so when somebody important asks the same questions and provides vague directions for answers there is a temptation to fill in the blanks with your answers. I think that is what happened to me in the early days of my involvement with the Emerging Church.
As time went on the “answers” became more clear from the revisionsists I recognized that I really wasn’t on the same page. It looks like Robby Mac has discovered something similar. Just over a year ago Forge posted a paper responding to DA Carson’s criticism of the EC and at first glance Forge seemed to be distancing themselves theologically from Emergent Village. This paper generated some controversy and was subsequently removed.
I’m relieved some of these distinctions are coming out. Ministry is hard enough by itself. I’d rather not have to explain to people that I don’t hold position XYZ that recently came to light in the latest book with an inflammatory title.