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    Tuesday, May 30, 2006

    Emerging Matters?

    We received an e-mail from a faithful reader the other day asking us what we thought about the "emerging church," and Brian McLaren. Our pursuits have mainly been outside the realm of new church movements. There is a lot of concern about some of the players in the movement and what type of theology these leaders subscribe to. We have our own concerns, but are certainly not experts in the field. There are aspects of the movement that we like, but some of the baggage that comes with the movement that is way too much to swallow

    We would like to invite some of our more informed readers to comment on the subject of the Emergent Church, the language that is sometimes used, just what it means to us as Southern Baptists and how this movement impacting in the Baptist Collegiate Ministries.

    For the record: We see a lot of what is going on in this movement as repackaged open theology and not a lot different from what we hear from our more liberal Episcopalian and Presbyterian friends.

    UPDATE: Charles Colson has an interesting column on "the emerging church"in the current issue of Christianity Today. He does not discount the movement, but expresses some confusion toward their teachings on "truth". Read it here.

    posted by Arkansas Razorbaptist at 5/30/2006 04:06:00 PM


    Blogger Paul said...

    The think to keep in mind about Emergent is that it is primarily defined by shared practice rather than shared theology. I'm sure there would be those who approach open theism, but there are non-emergents leading the way in that area at the same time. There are very diverse theologians quoted among emergents - from Stanley Grenz to Stanley Hauerwas, from Tom Wright to Brian McLaren, from Dallas Willard and Richard Foster to Robert Webber, Donald Miller and Anne Lamott (If one doesn't know the difference between Tom Wright and Ann Lamott then I'm not sure I can be of further help).

    Whether one likes the all of the answers that are being proposed it is difficult to ignore the questions being raised.

    [And I must say, despite the Southern Baptist rejection of anything left of conservative I find not a few among Southern Baptists who live out the theology of Rudolph Bultmann quite nicely - though they would reject it in theory. I would even say that the response we've seen coming out of the IMB BoT the last six months is quite postmodern in practice.]

    Tuesday, May 30, 2006 6:17:00 PM  
    Blogger Kevin Bussey said...

    I would consider myself in the emerging movement. I like some of McClaren's stuff, however he is a little left of me. We started an emergent service called "the emergent" in Mobile. (how original huh?) I was way too progressive for that city. When we moved from Atlanta to Mobile it was like going back in time 10 years. I'm glad to be back in a more progressive city.

    Emerging to me gets a bad rap as being liberal. Some are but not all. Most of us are just tired of the old way of doing church. We want to be the church not just do church. We want to be part of something bigger than ourselves.

    Tuesday, May 30, 2006 6:23:00 PM  
    Blogger steve w said...

    One thing to keep in mind is that more and more "emerging" churches and Christians do not want to be lumped in with the "Emergent" movement, and especially the "Emergent Village." No longer can the words "emerging" and "emergent" be used interchangeably.

    - Steve Walker

    Tuesday, May 30, 2006 7:42:00 PM  
    Anonymous Robin said...

    The word "progressive" can be taken different ways as well.

    Tuesday, May 30, 2006 8:36:00 PM  
    Anonymous andrew jones said...

    the other possibility is that the global emerging church movement is not being driven by any particular theology or theologian but rather by a rediscovery of the missional heart of God and a new context of ministry in which to bring the timeless gospel.

    Wednesday, May 31, 2006 3:23:00 AM  
    Blogger Jamie Wootten said...

    The main issue with any "movement" should be theological. You can be seeker/traditional/emergent/emerging or whatever you want to call yourself. There are pros and cons to each of these and if you do not like one then be a part of another. But ultimately it comes down to your theology. As long as we can agree about essentials: the authority and inerrancy of the Bible, agree that it is the absolute truth, preach about sin and holiness, accept Jesus as the only way to heaven, etc, then I think there is room under the tent for most all of us.

    The problem with emergent is that there are some who for better or worse seem to be the face of that movement that have said some theologically questionable things. That may not characterize the theology of most in that movement, but they become "guilty by association" in the eyes of traditionalist.

    We must find a way to be culturally relevant without ever compromising or hiding the truths of God's word- no matter what methodology we use.

    Just my .02 if it's worth that much.

    Wednesday, May 31, 2006 5:51:00 AM  
    Blogger Kevin Bussey said...

    I agree with all that has been said. I guess I come from a different mindset. My parents worked for YFC/Campus Life for 30+ years and now work for Campus Crusade's Military Ministry. I have always worked with other people as long as we have one basic belief that is the same--That Jesus is the way, the truth and the Life and no one comes to the Father but thru Him. I don't care about styles, $, color, etc.. as long as we can agree on that!

    Wednesday, May 31, 2006 9:15:00 AM  
    Blogger joe kennedy said...

    ARB, when Andrew Jones pipes in on your blog to tel you about the EC, you should definitely listen.

    Jamie, try to remember that when it comes to the EC, there is no real structure. And people of all theological backgrounds are a part of it. You can have emerging Presbyterians, Baptists, Anglicans, Catholics, or whatever. So it's not ALL about theology, like denominations pretty much are.

    And Steve Walker is definitely right. You can't use emergent and emerging interchangably (I think I made that word up). Emergent is emerging, but emerging is not emergent. How's that?

    Wednesday, May 31, 2006 10:25:00 AM  
    Blogger joe kennedy said...

    Colson update...

    Truth? I mean, I'm so tired of everybody using that argument against the EC.

    Give me a break. We're not all total relativists. In fact, most of us aren't. We're not so stupid that we would believe that "there is no truth." That's a logical fallacy. We know that. Yes, there are idiots who believe it. Yes, some are EC. And most of us aren't complete idiots.

    And quite frankly, that "I have a problem with their concept of truth" argument is inaccurate and foolish. And tired. Move on, Colson. Move on. When are these guys going to pick on the Fred Phelps of the world, and stop worrying about Brian McLaren and the like?

    Wednesday, May 31, 2006 10:50:00 PM  
    Anonymous The Boy Wonder said...


    I think there may be a broader confusion among some re: who makes up what has been classified as the EC. Just as there are differing opinions and factions, for lack of a better term, among conservatives re: theology - there are differing approaches and factions among the EC. Colson's piece I'm sure does not accurately reflect the whole of the movement, but rather an observation of perhaps one of the factions he has observed. That said, I think it's great that non-relativists like yourself are exploring new ways of reaching people. I think there is a lot of room for Baptists to break from rigid traditions and still maintain their principles. However, to do so, it will take an "emerging" leadership, and time.

    Thursday, June 01, 2006 6:41:00 AM  

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