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#28761 Fri Nov 04, 2005 1:52 AM
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Just exactly what is the "Emerging Church"?


gil
gnarley #28762 Fri Nov 04, 2005 2:45 AM
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Undefinable, according to many of its proponents.

Indefensible, as far as I'm concerned.


Kyle

I tell you, this man went down to his house justified.
CovenantInBlood #28763 Fri Nov 04, 2005 12:41 PM
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What an excellent answer!


Trust the past to God's mercy, the present to God's love and the future to God's providence." - St. Augustine
Hiraeth
gnarley #28764 Fri Nov 04, 2005 1:09 PM
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Emerging Church

I once heard this definition from a respected evangelical who will remain unnamed, “The former members of Churches now residing in Hell, but emerging to rebuild their sanctuaries upon earth once again.”

Here are some interesting articles that don't quit say it the same way:

Emerging Church

A Must Read: Brian McLaren's TULIP

gnarley #28765 Fri Nov 04, 2005 1:55 PM
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The emerging church is concerned with the deconstruction and reconstruction of Protestant Christianity in a postmodern cultural context. I think you'll find the two links below helpful.

Emerging Church

The Emerging Church


Wes


When I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of Glory died, my richest gain I count but loss and pour contempt on all my pride. - Isaac Watts
gnarley #28766 Sat Nov 05, 2005 11:31 AM
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I looked this up a little over a month ago after coming across the phrase in a web page discussion.

Here is what it is the best I could figure out:

It started as discussions over the Internet. There is some kind of emergent church list. Many people in the movement are in what used to be called 'youth churches' that were geared to the youth, but a lot of people in these churches aren't youth anymore, so the name isn't accurate.

Emergent church discussions are kind of abstract sociological discussions about making the church relevant to people who hold to Post Modern philosophical views. Their churches may have discussion times after sermons, may be organized as traditional congregations or house churches, and some of their churches are into encouraging the arts. They tend to like chuches to be sort of grass roots.

Emergent people like to make lists that start with one pronoun like:

We want to love people.
We want to be bla bla bla
We do bla bla bla.

Long lists of 'we' statements. I can't remember the particulars.

'Emergent' does not apply to a specific theological stance. One of the movements most prominent people has written a book that some conservative evangelicals consider to contain some bad doctrine about the Bible. Since they are rethinking everything, some are rethinking doctrines a lot of evangelicals hold dear. However, these views about the Bible are not part and parcel of emergent docrine, since some emergent people hold to evangelical beliefs.

gnarley #28767 Mon Nov 07, 2005 11:10 AM
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(As a side question)
Has anyone here actually read McLaren's book or has everyone just read critiques about it?

(Back to topic)
I think all too many times, the Reformed and Evangelical communities do everything they can to refute things that don't fit into their little box of what Christianity is supposed to look like. The emerging church is "unorthodox" compared to most "versions" of Christianity, and so everyone tries to refute it rather than trying to learn about it and grow from that knowledge.

This isn't to say that I support everything that they stand for. I think McLaren is wrong in some of his statements (I've actually read A Generous Orthodoxy). But at the same time, I think there is much that can be learned from what he has to say. There is much in this book (and possibly his other works as well) that can be edifying to the church, if we would all (myself included) simply heed the words of Jesus:

Do not judge, so that you won't be judged. For with the judgment you use, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye but don't notice the log in your own eye? (Matthew 7:1-3 HCSB)

Here is an article written by somebody within the emerging church in the UK. It is about the theology of the emerging church. Maybe reading something from inside will better help to form a definition rather than simply reading what people who don't like it think of it.

Is there a distinctive approach to theologising for the emerging church?

#28768 Mon Nov 07, 2005 1:05 PM
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Kalled2Preach stated,

Quote
Has anyone here actually read McLaren's book or has everyone just read critiques about it?
I have read some of Mclaren’s books; A New Kind of Christian, Church in Emerging Culture: Five Perspectives (Leonard Sweet, Andy Crouch, Brian D. McLaren, Erwin Raphael McManus, Michael Horton, Frederica Matthewes-Green), and have just finished reading Dan Kimball’s book, Emerging Worship. I have read only part of A Generous Orthodoxy.

In effect the Emerging Church is the Reformation in reverse (The Reverse Reformation). McLaren and others in the Emerging movement, reject the doctrine of the Church. If you have read A Generous Orthodoxy you know he rejects Total Depravity and he is consistent with the theology of redemption and justification drawn from N.T. Wright and the New Perspective on Paul. He removes the emphasis from reconciliation, substitution and judgment to mere human acts. As Tim Challies states,

Quote
But how can I not label as a heretic one who says the following:

He apologizes for his continued use of masculine pronouns to describe God. He proposes several solutions to this dilemma, including interchanging he and she or using the clumsy s/he. In the end he merely apologizes for the use of he, affirms that he considers God neither male nor female and tries to avoid using pronouns altogether. He goes on to say that the usage of the Father/Son imagery so prevalent in Scripture "contributes to the patriarchalism or chauvinism that has too often characterized Christianity."

That we have "misunderstood and misused Paul." He believes that traditional views of Paul have pitted him against Jesus so that we have "retained Jesus as Savior but promoted the apostle Paul to Lord and Teacher." He tells us that the result of today's Christianity is "a religion that Jesus might consider about as useful as many non-Christians consider it today."

In regards to Mary he expresses a realization that his Protestant faith has been impoverished "with its exlusively male focus." He explains how much we have missed, as Protestants, by failing to see the beauty of the incarnation through Mary.

That he rejects TULIP, all of the solas and biblical inerrancy, Further, he mentions the people who most understood what it meant to be biblical Christians as St. Francis, Mother Teresa and Billy Graham.
Add to this what McLaren wrote,

Quote
How do "I" know the Bible is always right? And if "I" am sophisticated enough to realize that I know nothing of the Bible without my own involvement via interpretation, I’ll also ask how I know which school, method, or technique of biblical interpretation is right. What makes a "good" interpretation good? And if an appeal is made to a written standard (book, doctrinal statement, etc.) or to common sense or to "scholarly principles of interpretation," the same pesky "I" who liberated us from the authority of the church will ask, "Who sets the standard? Whose common sense? Which scholars and why? Don’t all these appeals to authorities and principles outside the Bible actually undermine the claim of ultimate biblical authority? Aren’t they just the new pope?
Thus, while the Reformers believed that man could know/understand the Bible, the postmodernist cannot see past the weaknesses of the one who studies it. While the Reformers were fully aware of the work of the Holy Spirit in guiding the Christian through the Scriptures, the other does not! De Waay writes,

Quote
"The term "postmodern" has come along to describe the results of the rejection of both reason and Scripture. We are left floating in a sea of subjectivism." When we reject the idea of "true truth" or "total truth" we are left with nothing to rely on but mysticism - mystical experiences that can do for us experientially what Protestants have long believed that the Spirit, through Scripture, can and must do objectively.
One cannot submit himself to the teachings of the Emerging movement and still be considered Reformed. They reject the faith which was once delivered unto the saints (Jude 1:3).

Kalled2preach get out of this NOW. It will only damage your faith. Spend some time at Tim Challies website. While I do not agree with everything here, he is up to date on much in the emerging church.


Reformed and Always Reforming,
J_Edwards #28769 Mon Nov 07, 2005 1:22 PM
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Like I said, I don't agree with everything that he writes and everything that the emerging church practices and promotes, but there are still things to learn there.

J_Edwards said,
Quote
Spend some time at Tim Challies website. While I do not agree with everything here, he is up to date on much in the emerging church.

We can learn from those we don't always agree with. I don't always agree with McLaren, and I definitely don't always agree with the emerging stuff. But I still think there is good to be gleaned and also knowledge to be gained.

Also, just to clarify, I'm not all that involved with the emerging church. I just find the stuff they write to have an element of challenge to it. They want people to test what they say. You don't get much of that from writings in other areas these days.

#28770 Mon Nov 07, 2005 2:00 PM
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Like I said, I don't agree with everything that he writes and everything that the emerging church practices and promotes, but there are still things to learn there.

And what are you learning?


Kyle

I tell you, this man went down to his house justified.
CovenantInBlood #28771 Mon Nov 07, 2005 4:47 PM
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CovenantInBlood said:
And what are you learning?

Well, for starters, the emerging church's writings give a more complete definition of postmodernism than one finds in the resr of Christian writing. Most evangelical authors say postmodernism is the denial of absolute truth, but postmodernism also includes the idea of taking apart truths and looking at why we hold to them rather than this idea of blindly believing something because the preacher said it or because "we've always done it that way".

Then there is the aspect of history that is pointed out. Most writing that Christians do about the some of the early church is about what they believed, but how they practiced their faith is virtually ignored. The emerging church's writers point out things about their practices and traditions and why they did them (if that knowledge is available).

Lastly, they point out the narrative aspect of Scripture. This is completely overlooked in the majority of Christian writing that is out there. The emerging church accepts the story side of the Bible and learnes from the story as well as the theology behind it. They accept the Bible as more than just a systematic book of laws and doctrines.

Are these good examples?

#28772 Mon Nov 07, 2005 6:00 PM
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Kalled2Preach said:
Lastly, they point out the narrative aspect of Scripture. This is completely overlooked in the majority of Christian writing that is out there. The emerging church accepts the story side of the Bible and learnes from the story as well as the theology behind it. They accept the Bible as more than just a systematic book of laws and doctrines.
Aside from your apparent lack of having read many of the writings of traditional authors, many of whom certainly wrote of the things you think are lacking and which the "Emerging Church" authors deal with, it seems rather silly IMHO to read something of an author that denies "true truth" but says he is "taking apart truth" if there is no absolute truth.

If nothing else, your premise that we can learn from heretics (everyone [implied]) is contrary to both sound judgment and Paul's admonition to avoid such individuals, which says:


Titus 3:10-11 (KJV) "A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject; Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself."


To me, opening your mind in order to "learn" from these type of individuals is akin to putting a screen door in a submarine.

However, I'm more interested in this "narrative" statement which you claim is "completely overlooked in the majority of Christian writing. . ." What exactly is this "story side of the Bible" that everyone up and until the Emerging Church authors came along missed? Can you give one specific example?

In His grace,


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simul iustus et peccator

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#28773 Mon Nov 07, 2005 6:02 PM
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No, they're not good examples. All they show is that you lack more reading from orthodox sources.

It has been recognized for quite some time that whatever is the definition of "postmodernism," deconstructionalism is behind much of it. This goes to postmodernism's epistemology—that you cannot know anything absolutely. The best orthodox writers do discuss the "whys" of Christian faith.

Where do you think the emergent folks are getting their information about early Christian practices and traditions and the reasons behind them? From out of thin air? From their own personal historical and archaeological research? No! They're getting it from people, including orthodox scholars, who have gone before them.

And orthodoxy does not deny that there are narrative aspects to Scripture. For goodness' sake, one need only read the historical books and the Gospels to know that! Most Christians hear narratives every week as children in Sunday school. No expositor worth his salt considers the Bible as a whole to be a systematic textbook.


Kyle

I tell you, this man went down to his house justified.
gnarley #28774 Sat Nov 19, 2005 11:23 PM
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gnarley said:
Just exactly what is the "Emerging Church"?

I am a part of the emerging church. Like most emergent people I know, I consider the movement an effort to complete the Reformation, especially as outlined by Martin Luther in The German Mass and Divine Service, with its emphasis on the third order as being the true biblical model of the church. That is, I advocate that the cell-unit/whole church organizational structure is the model of Scripture, and that the congregational structure practiced by most Protestants today is based on human tradition. Luther noted the congregational structure was fine for new Christians and those weak in faith, but he wanted to promote the true biblical order of service, as soon as he could generate the interest. It has taken a long while, but the emerging church believes the time has come now to complete this last phase Luther desired.

For those who don't have time to review the literature on the house church/whole church movement, I have written this article to succinctly summarize our beliefs and their biblical and historical basis.

http://www.loveofchrist.info/church/noninstitutional.html

The house church movement is world wide and has been growing rapidly for some time now. Thus, it is emerging. Ahh--but if it is "emergent," then that concept means it is "post-modern," or so some people would say -- but are games being played with words to accomplish particular objectives for liberals and some academic types of conservative Christians?? One common complaint of people with the emergent church is, that Christians who use the label "evangelical" for self-designation are unfairly criticizing the movement. One could say that is based on a misunderstanding on their part -- or could it be they have specific motives??

Liberals can take advantage of the word "post-modern" to give new stimulus to thier theology, and then, some Christian academics can respond to the confusion of the concept to make the conservative aspects of the emerging church seem like something they are not, and liberal to boot. The truth of the matter is, no one can define "post-modernism," and especially not as it applies to the church. If liberals want to say a post-modern church is emerging that endorses liberal theology, then they have to be able to define the term and the new view point. If they can't, then their liberalism is just what it has always been under "Modernism," which by definition isn't "Post-Modernism," and which then is not what is emerging from a new "technological culture," but what has always been around since the past emergence of the "industrial culture" a long time ago.

As McLaren has said, there may only be a "post-modern conversation" regarding the church, rather than "post-modern church." However, McLaren may be getting a lot of attention, because he has a Ph.D. in English literature (the people who love the term "post-modern"), and because he can make the discussion sound so academic, but the truth of the matter is, that if something new is emerging that arises from and is consistent with a technological culture, it is not doing so in the halls of academia, but it is a grass roots movement from common people, and McLaren isn't significant to the great majority of them at all, if they even know his name. McLaren makes it easy for some Christian academics who want to stay with human tradition in the Protestant church and to criticize any understanding of church structure and practice different than their own, which has afforded them so much prestige. But McLaren's views in the reality of what is actually occurring don't count for very much at all. Nothing can be established to favor liberalism under the label "Post-Modernism, no matter how sophisticated and academic the language can be made to sound in such a discussion, unless meaningful and honest definitions can be developed.

Ok--but there are still other Christian conservatives who want to use the label "emergent," but not with the house church/whole church movement. They want new worship forms and to take advantage of a post-modern culture, but again, they can't define just want they are doing either that makes them "post-modern." Until they do, they're actually not "post-modern," but they are just people looking for new styles in church.

The house church movement wasn't concerned at all with the concept "post-modern." They were just a movement emerging. But, it just so happens the movement does conform to the concept. It is generally accepted that "post-modernism" includes an emphasis on the individual, new forms of communication, a new focus away from tradition, or in other words in the sense of the church, toward a true biblical structure and all that entails for a concept of worship, realtionships, community, and organizational structure. Perhaps, Luther couldn't realize his dream for the third order of service, because it needed a technological culture to be successful.

The most prominent example of the house church/ whole church, I believe, is Yongi Cho's. It has 750,000 members, but only about 40,000 to 50,000 meet on any given Sabbath downtown for a congregational service. The rest meet in houses. It is a church that reflects the modern culture.

Regards,
M Paul
(PS -- I don't understand how to find this thread from the home page, but I guess it won't matter).

M Paul #28775 Sun Nov 20, 2005 2:34 AM
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M Paul said:

The most prominent example of the house church/ whole church, I believe, is Yongi Cho's. It has 750,000 members, but only about 40,000 to 50,000 meet on any given Sabbath downtown for a congregational service. The rest meet in houses. It is a church that reflects the modern culture.

If Yonggi Cho is supposed to be an example of the house church movement, that's enough there for me to dismiss you out of hand. The man is a prime example of a heretic.

But why should we want a church to be reflecting the modern culture anyway?


Kyle

I tell you, this man went down to his house justified.
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