Thursday, June 5, 2008

The emerging church...

OK so the buzzword these days is the emerging church (not emergent…that is something else)

I love some of the ideas that the emerging movement is coming out with, an attempt at contextual ministry, rethinking tradition, trying to create a New Testament church..if that is possible. Really they are trying to engage the postmodern culture and some of the big questions that are being asked.

But the movement has at points, I believe, missed out on some fundamentals. There are some core things are missing. Rob Bell the influential pastor who does the ‘Nooma’ DVD series is a brilliant communicator but he never speaks about sin and repentance, fundamental themes in the New Testament (check out Romans 5&6) and this is ture for many other merging types...

It seems that I am not alone in my concerns…Mark Driscoll has this to say and David Fitsch responded...


Colin said...

The question of how emerging churches grow has been one which has caused me much concern. Recently I was chatting with some friends in CT who told me (as naturally as if they were discussing sunrise), that a new church in the city was in the process of 'recruiting a congregation'.

The assumption was that this would be done from existing Christians - drawn away from 'lesser' churches.

And always these same churches claim to want to 'serve the Church'.

Yours, unconvicedly,

Brent said...

Hey Colin,

Sad if this is what constitues evangelism.

However there are things that some mainline churches are missing and the emerging churches are often growing because they are offering something the others are not...but their growth has to be based on more than that and I beleive that without engaging people at a level of needing a saviour (not just contextual church) people will never convert...

Colin said...

Agreed. A bloodless theology will not reach the lost. We have become so intent at being culturally relevant we near a danger of becoming, in salvation terms, irrelevant.

I recently met and chatted with the minister of a fast-growing church in Scotland. They claimed something like 90% new convert growth. But when I asked how many of these new converts were still in the church 6 months later, they had to admit 'very very few'.

I know many people who go to that church. They were all previously members of another.

Sheep rustling is the new game.

Gareth said...

I was really impressed with Rob Bell and what I read about the emerging church initially, but I've have become really concerned that emerging churches are doing a good job of following a really good man (Jesus), but missing out on the reason Jesus came to earth in the first place.

On the other hand, they do have some useful things to say and I think some people are throwing the baby out with the bath water by refusing to listen to or find any value in speakers like Rob Bell.

However we do need to be careful that we don't point people (especially immature Christians) at Rob Bell without making them aware of what he is not saying (we're sinners and we need to accept forgiveness from God through the blood of Jesus).

The frustrating thing with Rob Bell is that it's hard to work out where he is at (and where he is going) as for the most part he doesn't say things that are in disagreement with the Bible, but at the same time he doesn't speak about it's core message.


Ludwig said...

Actually I think the problem with a lot of this stuff is trying to work out what people believe. It becomes vague, and hard to pin down, like trying to nail jelly to the wall.

In the early church, heresies prompted creeds, statements on what we actually believe. Yet they were broad enough to encompass much, but narrow enough to exclude the heresy.

Today, sometimes when I ask even a church pastor what his theological tradition is (liberal, evangelical, pentecostal, reformed, etc, etc - or any combination of these) - they are unwilling even to describe what they believe. Even unwilling to invent new ones. They want to be all theologies to all people.

It is refreshing to come across someone who will simply say, for example, that there is a heaven and a hell. You have to choose.

I agree that there is much to learn from 'emerging' churches, but if we must speak with relevance to society, we must at least speak clearly.

Brent said...

I Just watched Rob Bell on DVD "Everything is spiritual" it really is oustanding at one level, BUT again...there is nothing there about salvation in any way.

I love the ideas that everything is linked, that the idea of a dichotomy between spiritual is not helpful in any way at all and I believe directly opposes Jesus teaching...but its like there are whole masses of scripture the emerging church is not willing to engage with.

I recently listened to Scott McNight in Stellnbosch - awesome! But in his tlaing with Brain McLaren, McLaren admitted there are really substantial portions of what Paul writes thay really have no idea how to comprehend from the emerging/postmodern movement.

There are some great things happening...but it is only half a gospel!