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03 August 2006 

Emerging or Emergent?

So, I found a quote to sum up my position on the emerging church, and ironically (or not) it was taken from a book written by the man who has shaped most of my thinking on the subject, though I found his quote through googling "pipe smoked" on blogs. What Driscoll says here is quite in line with my feelings about emergent theology. And the distinction he makes between emerging and emergent is a notable one.

I had to distance myself, however, from one of the many streams in the emerging church because of the theological differences. Since the late 1990’s this stream has become known as Emergent. The Emergent Church is part of the Emerging Church Movement but does not embrace the dominant ideology of the movement. Rather the emergent church is the latest version of liberalism. The only difference is that the old liberalism accommodated modernity and the new liberalism accommodates postmodernity.”

Yup. I think that is the key, and again, it all comes down to labels, why must we label everthing. I listened to and read everything this man produced for more than a year before I realized that he was part of the Emerging Church. What drew me to him and his ideology was in fact his boldness in preaching Christ and loving the people and their culture around him. The turtle shell Christianity that results in closed mouthed, tight lipped communities is abhorent to me, so is the one that seeks to reach the world around it without learning how to relate to the world around it. It always irks me when Christians are accused of being out of touch, not because it is untrue but because it is true. We should make no accomodations in speaking the gospel but at the same time we must relate it in a way that the culture can understand if it is to have a hope of influencing that culture. The more I think and reflect on it the more I become convinced that the Kingdom is not only a spiritual revolution but a cultural one as well. When the culture begins to redeem things like sex, drugs, violence, language, family and food, that is when we will see real change.

It's very legalistic thought that leads one ot believe that you can ever tell someone what to do without explaining to them why they should do it and expect them to then follow you. The why is more important than the what, and the why is not "because Jesus (and I) say so" but its because Jesus loved us. Missional theology, moral thinking, cultural redemption are all borne out of the love of Christ, and any other source is destined to fail. Chad has some interesting thoughts on this movement. Admittedly he has studied and embraced it much longer than I have. He says that if he were to write a book concerning it he would title it "Reintroducing the Church to Itself" which I think is an apt statement. I personally am hoping to read a good deal on this in the coming months once I depart for Cedar Campus. Books like "The Shaping of Things to Come," "The Divine Conspiracy," and "Confessions of a Reformed Rev," I hope to have on my bookshelf and in my hands in the next months.

I believe that this is an important step for the Church to come to. I believe that its men like Dallas Willard and Mark Driscoll who need to become the outspoken advocates of Christ's body on this earth in place of men like Rick Warren and Pat Robertson and James Dobson. Christ needs to come first, not social ideology or purposeful living, or political power, but Christ, first and last. Perhaps in 300 years people may look back at this time as significant in church history, maybe not, but as long as Jesus is preached, it will not matter.

See also marshillchurch.org.

man, I really want to have a good long talk with you about this. Dang! you get to go back to beautiful Cedar Campus. :) haha. much love.


Maybe God intends for people like you and me to be the outspoken advocates of Christ on earth. I am glad you are searching and
seeking. May God bless your journey. By the way I am Chad Harts friend.



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