Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Emergent Church (conclusion)

In future posts I will unpack the larger "evangelical" Emerging Church movement, but for now I will leave the liberal, Emergent Church movement with this video clip.

This past Spring I attended the Annual Ligonier Conference in Orlando, Florida. The clip posted here is from that conference. RC Sproul, Al Mohler, and Ravi Zacharias discuss the Emergent Church in a helpful way.

In summary, the Emergent Church as represented by McLaren, Pagitt, Jones, and others, Make truth so elusive and dogma so disdained that it will go the way of all liberal theology eventually- it will die, but not before leading quite a few astray. Like many religious or social movements, the Emergent Church is largely personality driven. Gifted, intelligent, people like Brian McLaren attract large followings. There is something edgy about Doug Pagitt and what he is willing to say publicly, so there are many who will follow him.

Emergent adherents are old school theological liberals wearing hip, postmodern garb (literally) and speaking socially progressive language. There seems to be no such thing as propositional truth to the Emergent crowd. No matter how explicit a biblical concept might be (hell, judgment for sin, etc.), they are able to explain it in some metaphorical, non-literal way.

I recommend D.A. Carson’s book “Becoming Conversant With the Emergent Church” for a more thorough analysis of the movement. There is also a very helpful summary on the Nine Marks Website I recommend everyone read.

3 comments:

Frontier Forest said...

WOW! Profound thoughts from powerful thinkers! I love the following exhortations:
From Ravi Z. regarding the Emergent Church leaders, “Are they bored with God? Unity comes at the expense of avoiding all theological controversies.” From Sproul, “You can’t kill truth for the sake of peace.” From Mohler, “We must be courageous in truth!”
“But HE, because HE continues forever has an unchangeable priesthood.” Hebrews 7:24

Mark Davis said...

Some profound observations, and some forgiveable confusion of terms. Apparently "emerging" and "emergent" are two different things, although the names are just too close to properly represent the orthodox/heretic distinction.

Although I have tremendous respect for Mr. Zacharias, he missed the point with his quip. Some of these people, the orthodox ones, aren't bored with God. They aren't re-inventing the Almighty. They're simply worshiping, discussing, and experiencing the unchanging, living God in their own cultural context, just like the 101generations of Christians that precede them.

As for the unorthodox, the heretical "emergents", they're not bored with God either. They're ashamed of the orthodox view of God, and have conspired to re-invent Him as a bigger, greener, hipper, and slightly incoherent god, maybe a really tall version of Bono.

AJF said...

Emerging is a label for the current contemporary church movement. Frankly, every generation has it's "contemporary" strand. The Seeker Sensitive movement was yesteryear's contemporary, now "Emerging" is the new thing.

Emergent is under the larger umbrella of "Emerging" and it is the liberal portion, which I think should be rejected. Zacharias and co. were criticizing the EMERGENT church in this clip.

As for Driscoll, he's very orthodox and mostly reformed (weak on limited atonement and baptism). He likes to be painted as "Emerging", but in reality, he's a mega church guy with emerging attitude. He pastors a 6,000 member, hi-tech, multi-campus ministry. Praise God for his ministry, but it really isn't as indicative of the wider Emerging movement as you might think or he might portray.