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Christians, let's talk about 'The Emerging Church'

 
Kay
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Christians, let's talk about 'The Emerging Church'
Here is a great article about it:

Emerging Church

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The emerging church or emergent church is a diverse, controversial movement within Christianity that arose in the late 20th century as a reaction to the perceived influence of modernism in Western Christianity.

Proponents of the emergent church embrace postmodernism and call the movement a "conversation" to emphasize its decentralized nature with contributions from people of a variety of beliefs.

The emerging church seeks to deconstruct and reconstruct Christianity as its mainly Western members live in a postmodern culture.

Membership, Ecclesiology and Structure
Emergent Christians, or emergents, are predominantly found in North America, Western Europe, the South Pacific and Africa.[2][3]

The emergent church is highly decentralized with little co-ordination. There is no mutually agreed upon ecclesiology about the role and nature of the church.

Some emergents attend local independent churches that specifically identify themselves as being "emergent" while others contribute to the conversation from within existing Christian denominations.

Denominational affiliation ranges from the Anglican/Episcopal Church to the Southern Baptist Convention while many emergent churches are non-affiliated intentional communities or house churches. [4][5]

Emergents share a willingness to challenge traditional church structures and organizations like the house church movement while respecting the different expressions of traditional Christian denominations. [6]

Values and Characteristics

While practices and even core doctrine vary, many emergents can be recognized by the following values:

Missional living

While emergents place great emphasis on their own communities, they believe the purpose of their communities is to change the world around them. Sometimes their approach to missional living emphasizes social activism. Some "emerging" churches emphasize that their missional purpose is evangelism of the lost.

Narrative theology

Emergent teaching generally focuses on narrative presentations of faith and the Bible rather than systematic theology or propositional exposition which they believe to be a form of reductionism.

Some "emerging" churches incorporate systematic theology into their teaching but present it in a less propositional manner.

Generous Orthodoxy

An understanding of doctrine which claims to move beyond the conservative versus liberal impasse in Christianity to incorporate elements of both. It also continues the Christian ecumenical movement by incorporating some beliefs and traditions of premodern, modern and postmodern Christian denominations. [7]

For some within this movement such as Brian McLaren, this generosity also extends to dialogue with non-Christian religions and non-religious people. There has been criticism and disagreement among some in the movement about this point.

Christ-likeness

Emergents seek Christ-likeness primarily through the virtues of humility and kindness. [6]

Biblical Interpretation

Emergents reanalyze the Bible within varying contexts with the goal of revealing a multiplicity of valid perspectives rather than a single valid interpretation. The influence of postmodern thinkers such as Jacques Derrida and Stanley Fish can thus be seen in the emergent approach to interpreting Scripture.

Emerging Church groups also typically emphasize the following elements:

A flexible approach to and continual reexamination of theology which causes them to see faith as a journey rather than a destination, and to accept differences in beliefs and morals.

A missional identity that emphasizes the need to reach out and be "missionaries" to the culture around them.

A non-confrontational approach to other religions with an emphasis on dialogue.

A belief in creating communities built out of the creativity of those who are a part of each local body.

A holistic view of the role of the church in society. This can mean anything from a higher degree of emphasis on social action, building relationships with the surrounding community, or Christian outreach.

A more minimalist or decentralized organizational structure.

Creative approaches to worship and spiritual reflection. This can involve everything from the use of contemporary music and films to liturgy, as well as more ancient customs, with a goal of making the church more appealing to postmodern people.

Use of the internet is a dominant medium of communication through various blogs, websites and online videos.

Comparisons to other movements
It is useful to compare the Emerging Church movement with other Christian movements which emphasize foundational Christianity and inner experience.

The Taizé Community in France also offers a neo-traditional experience of Christianity in which traditional symbols such as candles and crosses have intensified importance. Taizé, however, places relatively less emphasis on Scripture and a greater emphasis on meditation and the experiences derived from the monastic life.

The Emerging Church, in turn, places a greater value on multimedia-based creative expression (and would consider religious orders an anachronism, if they considered them at all). An important difference is that the Emerging Church seeks to be relevant and accessible within the larger society, while the Taizé Community offers an alternative to the surrounding culture.[citation needed]

The Religious Society of Friends, although not born out of the conflicts of modernism, has nonetheless influenced the Emerging Church through thinkers such as Richard Foster and Dallas Willard. The Quakers also reject church hierarchy while valuing the sacred as a personal experience.

All three of these groups are ecumenical in their outlook, value tradition and inward trans-rational experience, and seek to revitalize the faith. The Emerging Church stands out by its close association with post-modernism and by its emphasis on accessibility, as well as its ideal of interacting with the surrounding culture rather than escaping it.[citation needed]

Theologically, the Emerging Church movement bears many striking similarities to the theology of neo-liberals such as Langdon Gilkey and David Tracey, and shares many beliefs with the more liberal post-Vatican II Catholic theologians such as Karl Rahner.

[edit]
"Emerging" vs. "Emergent"
Although "emerging" and "emergent" are generally considered synonymous in popular usage, there are some adherents to emerging methodology who consider it important to make a distinction between the two terms. Adherents such as Mark Driscoll and Chris Seay embrace an emphasis on missional living, decentralized organization, and less confrontational approaches to evangelism, while rejecting the more liberal views on doctrine and morals they associate with emergentvillage. Since the term "emergent" has at times been used to narrowly refer to emergentvillage, these more conservative participants in the movement insist that they are "emerging" but not "emergent." The terms "emerging church" or "emerging worship service" sometimes refer more to the style of a worship service (the use of candles, ancient imagery, and more narrative or casual preaching) and philosophy than to a set of theological beliefs. The more conservative minority within the emerging church movement would not be described by the more liberal views listed nor subject to all of the criticisms elaborated upon below.


Criticisms
The Emerging Church movement has been criticized by many within the Evangelical community.

Many Evangelical scholars criticize the movement for maintaining that certainty in faith is not achievable. The movement's rejection of epistemological foundationalism and reliabilism, as well as bounded-set theology (borders for orthodoxy) has caused similar concerns within Evangelicalism.

Some Evangelicals complain that when these factors are combined with the postmodern tendency to deconstruct traditional terms and biblical texts, the result causes emergents to tolerate doctrinal and moral positions that most Evangelicals believe are non-negotiable. Critics of the movement often assert that emergents frequently indulge in logical fallacies, especially the false antithesis (similar to the false dilemma).

Some authors have insisted that the emergent tendency to consider Evangelicalism culture-bound to modernism is a straw man argument. These Evangelicals respond that their movement has never embraced modernism in its entirety in spite of Evangelicalism's acceptance of the correspondence theory of truth and the referential theory of language. They maintain that only classical, liberal theologians completely accommodated modernism and many of these same scholars fear that the Emerging Church movement's accommodation to postmodernism has the same practical effects as liberal accommodation to modernism.

While many Evangelicals have been open to some of the criticisms that emergents have offered, most seem to have rejected emergent views of several key theological themes within their soteriology and eschatology as well as emergent openness to alternative lifestyles. Several critiques of this movement have been written recently by leading Evangelical scholars such as D. A. Carson and Millard Erickson.
"See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ." (Colossians 2:8)
Kay  (OP)

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Re: Christians, let's talk about 'The Emerging Church'
And here is a GREAT article about it:



Understanding the Emerging Church
Ed Stetzer
Baptist Press News Service


It’s been interesting to watch the emerging church conversation over the last few months. Important issues are being discussed. Unfortunately, like many conversations, good things are lumped together with bad and important conversations are lost in more heat than light.

My own observation as one who speaks at some events classified as “emerging” is that there are three broad categories of what is often called “the emerging church.” Oddly enough, I think I can fairly say that most in the emerging conversation would agree with my assessments about the “types” of emerging leaders and churches -- and just differ with my conclusions.

In this too brief article, perhaps I can make a few suggestions on how conservative evangelicals should view these types of emerging churches. I believe that some are taking the same Gospel in the historic form of church but seeking to make it understandable to emerging culture; some are taking the same Gospel but questioning and reconstructing much of the form of church; some are questioning and revising the Gospel and the church.

Relevants.

Yes, I made up the word. Sorry about the grammar. However, it expresses an important idea. There are a good number of young (and not so young) leaders who some classify as “emerging” that really are just trying to make their worship, music and outreach more contextual to emerging culture.

Ironically, while some may consider them liberal, they are often deeply committed to biblical preaching, male pastoral leadership and other values common in conservative evangelical churches.

They are simply trying to explain the message of Christ in a way their generation can understand. The contemporary churches of the 1980s and 90s did the same thing (and some are still upset at them for doing so). However, if we find biblical preaching and God-centered worship in a more culturally relevant setting, I rejoice just as I would for international missionaries using tribal cultural forms in Africa.

The churches of the “relevants” are not filled with the angry white children of evangelical megachurches. They are, instead, intentionally reaching into their communities (which are different than where most Southern Baptists live) and proclaiming a faithful biblically-centered Gospel there. I know some of their churches -- they are doctrinally sound, growing and impacting lostness.

Reconstructionists.

The reconstructionists think that the current form of church is frequently irrelevant and the structure is unhelpful. Yet, they typically hold to a more orthodox view of the Gospel and Scripture. Therefore, we see an increase in models of church that reject certain organizational models, embracing what are often called “incarnational” or “house” models. They are responding to the fact that after decades of trying fresh ideas in innovative churches, North America is less churched, and those that are churched are less committed.

Yet, God’s plan is deeply connected with the church (see Ephesians 3:10). God’s Word prescribes much about what a church is. So, if emerging leaders want to think in new ways about the forms (the construct) of church, that’s fine -- but any form needs to be reset as a biblical form, not just a rejection of the old form. Don’t want a building, a budget and a program? OK. Don’t want the Bible, scriptural leadership, covenant community? Not OK. (For an excellent summary, see NAMB’s document by Stan Norman called “Ecclesiological Guidelines to Inform Southern Baptist Church Planters.”) Also, we must not forget, if reconstructionists simply rearrange dissatisfied Christians and do not impact lostness, it is hardly a better situation than the current one.

Revisionists.

Much of the concern has been addressed at those I call revisionists. Right now, many of those who are revisionists are being read by younger leaders and perceived as evangelicals. They are not -- at least according to our evangelical understanding of Scripture. We significantly differ from them regarding what the Bible is, what it teaches and how we should live it in our churches. I don’t hate them, question their motives and I won’t try to mischaracterize their beliefs. But, I won’t agree with them.

Revisionists are questioning (and in some cases denying) issues like the nature of the substitutionary atonement, the reality of hell, the complementarian nature of gender, and the nature of the Gospel itself. This is not new -- some mainline theologians quietly abandoned these doctrines a generation ago. The revisionist emerging church leaders should be treated, appreciated and read as we read mainline theologians -- they often have good descriptions, but their prescriptions fail to take into account the full teaching of the Word of God.

Does that mean we cannot learn from them? Certainly not. I read mainline theologians like Marcus Borg and George Lindbeck like others in the past read Karl Barth -- good thinkers, but deeply wrong on issues I hold as important. I read many emerging church writers the same way. They ask good questions, but I am driven to Scripture for the answers.

So, where do we go from here?

Much of SBC life is absent from the emerging church conversation. Let’s jump in -- John Hammett at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary has done a great job not just in his paper, but in entering the theological conversation that has flowed from it. His paper can be read here.

To be in this conversation, we need to think biblically and critically. We should journey and partner with the “relevants,” seeking to make the Gospel understandable in emerging culture. We can and should enter into dialogue with reconstructionists -- learning, discussing and applying together what Scripture teaches about church.

But, we can and must speak prophetically to revisionists that, yes, we know the current system is not impacting the culture as it should -- but the change we need is more Bible, more maturity, more discernment and more missional engagement, not an abandonment of the teachings of scripture about church, theology and practice. Every group that left these basics has ended up walking away from the faith and then, in a great twist of irony, is soon seen as irrelevant to the world they tried to reach.

This is an important moment in the emerging church. Many “emerging” evangelicals are distancing themselves from the revisionist leaders. Papers have been presented, publishing relationships have been altered, and many in the blogosphere are questioning the ecumenical nature of new partnerships. That’s good. Let’s affirm the good, look to the Scriptures for answers to the hard questions, and, yes, let’s graciously disagree when others hold views contrary to our best scriptural understanding of God, Bible and church.

Ed Stetzer serves as research team director and missiologist at the North American Mission Board.
"See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ." (Colossians 2:8)
Anonymous Coward
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Re: Christians, let's talk about 'The Emerging Church'
I can't find anything to paste. Maybe you could lead the conversation in which you would like to discuss.
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Re: Christians, let's talk about 'The Emerging Church'
blah, blah, blah...
Kay  (OP)

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Re: Christians, let's talk about 'The Emerging Church'
I can't find anything to paste. Maybe you could lead the conversation in which you would like to discuss.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 128862



OK, 'Emerging Church' bad or good?

why?

It seem to me that this movement is a reaction to the public's negative reaction to Evangelical Christians' involvement in politics, in neo-con patriotism.

They plan to become disengaged from the lobbying practices of the James Dobsons of the world and concentrate on 'love' and 'missions' and 'helping the poor'.

Some say that this disengagement is an abandonment of the responsibility that church has to decry immorality. They say that this kind of tolerance leads to compromise of sin.

What say you?
"See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ." (Colossians 2:8)
Kay  (OP)

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Re: Christians, let's talk about 'The Emerging Church'
blah, blah, blah...
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 128956



Maybe you're right, maybe this is too boring ... yawn
"See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ." (Colossians 2:8)
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Will the "Emergent Church" Submerge Your Church?
--> Posted to Jans_eUpdates for August, 2006


August 8 - Will the "Emerging Church" Submerge Your Church?

The short answer is no if solid, Bible-believing Christians preach truth and stand on the Word of God. However, in today's world of apostasy, the stakes are higher and so are the casualties. The Emergent Church is not new, but it hid in the shadows until recently. I recently had this email:

Jan: When you first started talking about the Emergent Church I thought, sure, this is a California experience. I didn't have to worry. How wrong! In Michigan it is now everywhere!

When Pastor Bob DeWaay told me one and a half years ago that it was the next step beyond seeker-sensitive and worse than that, I thought, how is this possible? He was right. As a matter of fact, CBS News did a feature on it calling it a powerful new movement and the fastest-growing one in Christianity with up to 20 million participants. The clip is played on the broadcast from August 5 now posted on "radio archives" here: [link to www.olivetreeviews.org] When you really learn of all its goals and practices, this should send chills down your spine.

Roger Oakland, one of the best analysts of this movement, and Bob DeWaay, reported a lot of startling information on air. I have made my own conclusions here. The emphasis goes well beyond the Bible to extra-biblical paraphernalia, extrasensory images, sounds, smells, silence, darkness, icons, statues, rosary beads for Protestants, Yoga, contemplative prayer--all for a FULL SENSORY IMMERSION in the divine. Why are these things even necessary when the "old time religion" did well preaching a solid gospel with no bells and whistles? Why do we have to encounter God with our "senses"? He lives within us--that's sufficient. He's a prayer away, hardly dependent on candles and incense and icons. Why do Protestants have to draw on Catholic and Orthodox practices to "get closer to God"?

Try to pin these folks down as to their beliefs and be prepared for frustration and confusion. Pastor DeWaay related on air how frustrating his debate was with Emergent leader Doug Pagitt as Pagitt dodged every question making sure the Emergent Church would NOT be defined. My conclusion: It draws on many religions but is leading to the participation in the one world religion.

According to EC leader Brian McLaren, most anyone can follow Jesus including Buddhists and Hindus. He emphasizes "injustice, oppression, greed, and war." Finally, a major truth comes out: This is just the old social gospel. But his most troubling statement is that we need to ". . . emulate Roman Catholicism to become more mystical in our reverence of God." Why did we have the Reformation, I ask? So that we could get far from Rome and closer to God! He has it backwards, as is his whole movement. The longing for the mystical will lead one to become a victim of every wind of doctrine!

As Roger Oakland states, this is not a revival but a return to darkness. It cannot be countered until Christians become better informed about it and when the darkened rooms, candles, and other touchy-feely services spring up in your church and you say something and demand a return to basic Bible doctrines and solid gospel preaching. These Emergent leaders are not "brave new voices." They are deceptive wolves devouring naive, usually young "sheeple," leading the Gen X-ers and Gen Y-ers down a path to further darkness. What will these youth "emerge" into? Confused, questioning young people with no solid grounding, believing in nothing and thus falling for everything.


I received this email from Australia today. It shows that our churches are in deep trouble but let's not end the thought there. God can still do a great thing in our churches; yet the Bible talks about the end-time apostasy. In II Thessalonians 2:3 it talks about the "falling away" in the end-times. Some translations call it the "great falling away" . . . in other words, no small thing. The writer states this:

Jan: Where I live in an area of the North Coast of New South Wales, Australia, every church is compromised, every church. To receive any good, sound Bible teaching, I have to rely on the internet and my Bible and the help of God's Holy Spirit.




[link to www.olivetreeviews.org]
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They are all just pawns in the master plan, they are nothing but fools that follow a flock, they have no mind of their own. War on terror, they cry, war on Islam, they shout. War on gays they scream, war on freedom, they want.
Their God is but a thought, and their belief is just as dust. To hell with all, except us, is their motto. Death and destruction are in their wake. As they watch their brother starve.
Kay  (OP)

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Re: Christians, let's talk about 'The Emerging Church'
Roger Oakland, one of the best analysts of this movement, and Bob DeWaay, reported a lot of startling information on air. I have made my own conclusions here. The emphasis goes well beyond the Bible to extra-biblical paraphernalia, extrasensory images, sounds, smells, silence, darkness, icons, statues, rosary beads for Protestants, Yoga, contemplative prayer--all for a FULL SENSORY IMMERSION in the divine. Why are these things even necessary when the "old time religion" did well preaching a solid gospel with no bells and whistles? Why do we have to encounter God with our "senses"? He lives within us--that's sufficient. He's a prayer away, hardly dependent on candles and incense and icons. Why do Protestants have to draw on Catholic and Orthodox practices to "get closer to God"?


===============


Why are these things even necessary when the "old time religion" did well preaching a solid gospel with no bells and whistles?

I think maybe the point is that the 'old time religion' is not cutting it at all. In fact, in Europe, churches are completely empty.

I live in Southern California, myself, so we don't have this kind of problem -we have many excellent churches. And, we had the 'Jesus' movement out here in the 1970s. It was very widespread and has touched millions here, It still is big. Calvary Chapel is the original home church, it's still a must visit for me as well as for many in So Cal.

BUT, I do wonder about some of the practices of the Roman Catholics, the Lutherans, incense, candles...

My daughter at one time had 'night terrors' and when I 'cleansed' her room, I went out and bought one of those Catholic Jesus candles. I still have it in her room.

Modern Evangelicalism, and the Calvary Chapel type hippie churches, especially have thrown out all these aids to focussing when doing devotional time.

Rosaries, yes of course forget it. Icons? no way. But people don't even try to develop a good devotional time with the Lord. They think that if they go to Bible Study once a week and church on Sunday, and if they are 'leaders' in the church, they're OK. And they're not. I know I wasn't safe from wandering off. If I had a fuller devotional life, a more rich prayer life, I would have been closer to God.

This reminds me of the Quaker movement in the late 1600s. And we all know that they had huge social impact in their time. They virtually wiped slavery out of the Western world.

I think, though, that there is a lot of danger in a new movement like this (and the Jesus movement in the '70s was also dangerous) and that we need to be engaged in it instead of calling it a work of the enemy.

A new movement is needed.
"See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ." (Colossians 2:8)
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I don't follow the modern churches much. I attend my own temple and worship. Modern establishments I feel are no better than, oh I don't know, much better than criminals in allot of cases.

Some hide their priests when they molest kids. Some commit adultry in the church, looking at porn on the internet and have affairs. While they too are only human, I would rather not face the wrath they wish to share.

Spirituality is with and groups, pick your group wisely.


What say you?
 Quoting: Kay
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Spirituality is -"with-in"- and groups, pick your group wisely.
wonbyOne
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Re: Christians, let's talk about 'The Emerging Church'
WE are the True Church and WE are emerging out of every denomination and every people.


Building up the Temple
Building up the Temple
Building up the Temple of the Lord
Say, brother won't you help me
Sister, won't you help me
Building up the Temple of the Lord

(I like most of your stuff, Kaye, but this is poop - - where did you get this?)

You are so much abduct this.

won
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[link to www.mormon.org]

You'll recognize the TRUTH immediately when you first hear it...
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Re: Christians, let's talk about 'The Emerging Church'
You will know them by their fruits/works. We are commanded to be discernful. Ultimately, scriptures states, there will be a one world religion. This religion will be a false church/religion. Christians will be beheaded.
Soothsayer

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Re: Christians, let's talk about 'The Emerging Church'
It seem to me that this movement is a reaction to the public's negative reaction to Evangelical Christians' involvement in politics, in neo-con patriotism.

They plan to become disengaged from the lobbying practices of the James Dobsons of the world and concentrate on 'love' and 'missions' and 'helping the poor'.
 Quoting: Kay


Hmmm....returning to traditional Christian values instead of supporting anti-Christ wars of aggression and conquest?

Based on your posts Kay, you must not like this "Emerging Church" very much.
COGITO, ERGO, SUM





GLP