From Wikipedia
Although some emergent thinkers such as Brian McLaren and many Evangelical scholars such as D. A. Carson use “emerging” and “emergent” as synonyms, a large number of participants in the emerging church movement maintain a distinction between them. “Emergent” is sometimes more closely associated with Emergent Village. Those participants in the movement who assert this distinction believe “emergents” and “emergent village” to be a part of the emerging church movement but prefer to use the term “emerging church” to refer to the movement as a whole while using the term “emergent” in a more limited way, referring to Brian McLaren and emergentvillage. Many of those within the emerging church movement who do not closely identify with emergentvillage tend to avoid that organization’s interest in radical theological reformulation and focus more on new ways of “doing church” and expressing their spirituality. Mark Driscoll, an early leader associated with the emerging church conversation, now distances himself from the “emergent thread.” In a short video clip, he summarizes some of his concerns. Some observers consider the “emergent stream” to be one major part within the larger emerging church movement. This may be attributed to the stronger voice of the ‘emergent’ stream found in the US which contrasts the more subtle and diverse development of the movement in the UK, Australia and New Zealand over a longer period of time. As a result of the above factors, the use of correct vocabulary to describe a given participant in this movement can occasionally be awkward, confusing, or controversial.

In the mid-1990s I was part of what is now known as the Emerging Church and spent some time traveling the country to speak on the emerging church in the emerging culture on a team put together by Leadership Network called the Young Leader Network. But, I eventually had to distance myself from the Emergent stream of the network because friends like Brian McLaren and Doug Pagitt began pushing a theological agenda that greatly troubled me. Examples include referring to God as a chick, questioning God’s sovereignty over and knowledge of the future, denial of the substitutionary atonement at the cross, a low view of Scripture, and denial of hell which is one hell of a mistake. — Mark Driscoll

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23 Comments(+Add)

1   Neil    
August 29th, 2007 at 12:50 pm

I used to post on a heresy-hunter bulletin board. When I tried to make this distinctions they’d hear none of it. They were too fond of their broad-brushed approach to bother discerning such distinction.

Neil

2   Chris Rosebrough    http://www.extremetheology.com
August 29th, 2007 at 1:03 pm

Maybe the Emerging folks need to give themselves a different name. If they don’t like being lumped in with the Emergents then they should make every effort to show they ARE different.

I think they should call themselves “Fred”. No one is using that name for any type of doctrinal or ’spiritual’ movement.

3   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 29th, 2007 at 1:17 pm

OK, this will be where some will see the iron sharpens iron accountability of this type of blog. I fear the emregent movement. I see a breach coming that centers on the definition of the gospel and its scope. I consider myself to have a moderate handle on the English language and yet I remain perplexed about where some of the leaders stand on issues. I appreciate a man like Kimball coming into the line of fire and expressing his views, we need more of that.

Men like Spencer Burke are very troublesome and if I understand some of his writings he is heretical in some areas. Some of the main issues are these:

1. The nature of Scripture. Is the New Testament and the Old inerrant in the original, and are they more than an overall story of nebulous specificity?

2. What is sin? Many of the conversations abou things like homosexuality I believe I have deciphered into semantics. The sin of verses the sinner called. In essence mostg are agreeing with different language. Only the most liberal teachers aresaying homsexuality is not a sin (the act of).

3. Is there a literal hell? That is a large question that men like Rob Bell seem to avoid directly. I believe he believes in a hell (lake of fire) but I also believes he doesn’t want to offend the seeker. I disagree with that but I see where he is coming from.

4. A greater concentration on humanitarian efforts from the church. This is a good challenge which some have mistakenly substituted for the actual preaching of the message. That is generally what the dialogue centers around.

There are other issues but to me these are the core.

4   Joe Martino    http://joemartino.name
August 29th, 2007 at 1:21 pm

Chris R.
If I remember correctly you are Lutheran (truly it is irrelevant for the discussion, I am simply stating that you associate yourself with some denomination). Would you agree that there are people within your denominational walls that are more liberal than you? For instance, I know a Lutheran pastor who believes that things I am certain you would call sin, are not sin. Would it be far for me to say, well this Lutheran pastor believes that so Chris must too?

5   chris    http://agendalesslove.wordpress.com
August 29th, 2007 at 1:56 pm

Question: I watched the whole video and I don’t see where Driscoll says ” But, I eventually had to distance myself from the Emergent stream of the network because friends like Brian McLaren and Doug Pagitt began pushing a theological agenda that greatly troubled me. Examples include referring to God as a chick, questioning God’s sovereignty over and knowledge of the future, denial of the substitutionary atonement at the cross, a low view of Scripture, and denial of hell which is one hell of a mistake.”

6   Chris Rosebrough    http://www.extremetheology.com
August 29th, 2007 at 2:35 pm

Joe,

I am an LCMS Lutheran. We go out of our way to emphasize the LCMS part in order to distinguish ourselves from the ELCA.

For the most part, LCMS Lutherans are very vigilant about weeding out liberals. We literally sacked all of the liberal professors in our seminaries in the 70’s. However, there are some liberals who still lurk in our synod.

The point here is that LCMS Lutherans have a reputation for being conservative in their scholarship while ELCA Lutherans have a reputation for being liberal and ordaining homosexuals. It is the same with Southern Baptists and American Baptists.

The differences between Emerg(ing) and Emerg(ent) is not easily apparent. I agree there is a difference but someone’s got to change their name so that the innocent don’t experience ‘friendly fire’.

I hate to say it but the neo-liberals have won in the Emergent movement. When you say ‘Emerg…’ people will automatically think of McLaren, Pagitt and the gang.

In the business world we call this brand awareness. Face it, the neo-liberals OWN the Emergent brand.

Anyone who is ‘conservative’ and calls themselves EmergING and gets offended when their lumped into the EmergENTS is being naive.

7   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
August 29th, 2007 at 2:39 pm

Rick,

I will take a quick stab at answering your questions, though a very quick one. Since you mention him by name, and since he’s frequently called out by Ken, I will address what I would garner from Mars Hill/Rob Bell on their views, as well, since I listen to all the podcasts and have friends/relatives who do (or have) attended there.

1. The nature of Scripture. Is the New Testament and the Old inerrant in the original, and are they more than an overall story of nebulous specificity?

I would say that my answer is probably similar to Bell’s, and that is that they are inerrant in the original, and that the original was written (or spoken) to the people who first heard/read it in a way that was relevant to them, first and foremost, that it transcends that first group of people, and that it is important for us to understand their context if we are to understand all of the implications of it. If we treat scripture as if it came from a vacuum with no cultural context, we will not be able to follow it as it was written. That being said, the majority of scripture is very plain in its meaning, with the primary exceptions being cultural practices and references to Jewish practice.

Once we have studied the scripture and the implications of its meaning, it is important for us to translate what that means in our culture. So, for instance, if Paul told women in Ephesus not to braid their hair because it was a symbol of sexual availability, then the command to us from Paul would not be to eschew braiding, but to avoid outward appearances of sexual availability.

2. What is sin? Many of the conversations abou things like homosexuality I believe I have deciphered into semantics. The sin of verses the sinner called. In essence mostg are agreeing with different language. Only the most liberal teachers aresaying homsexuality is not a sin (the act of).

Sin is anything that misses the mark set by God, recorded in scripture. Torah (which translates somewhere between the English concept of “law” and “guidance”), is the initial establishment of “the mark” we should meet. Through Jesus, this mark become much more clear in definition (love God, love others), but harder in practice (the motives/heart behind obedience are just as important as the physical obedience). In one of his messages on the concept of Torah, Bell defined sin almost identically (since both of us would have stolen it from Jewish Christian sources).

3. Is there a literal hell? That is a large question that men like Rob Bell seem to avoid directly. I believe he believes in a hell (lake of fire) but I also believes he doesn’t want to offend the seeker. I disagree with that but I see where he is coming from.

Yes I do.

Bell, in a recent discussion, when pressed on ‘do you believe in a literal hell’, answered ‘of course I do.’ However, in teaching he has focused more on the earthly aspects of hell rather than the eternal ones out of the belief that good orthopraxy is built on building the kingdom rather than avoiding hell. Additionally, he has stated that he also avoids the eternal dimension discussion in situations where the next question is ‘who is going there’ – separating wheat from the tares.

I suspect he allowed the off the cuff comment (”of course I do”) to dispel rumors that he did not without having to delve into the other two topics. I agree, though, that it is only speculation on my part.

4. A greater concentration on humanitarian efforts from the church. This is a good challenge which some have mistakenly substituted for the actual preaching of the message. That is generally what the dialogue centers around.

This is what gets referred to a ‘missionality’ in the emerging church. I gave my views here – striving for balance. In general, I also believe that the church in America, since at least the turn of the last century, has decided to focus more on personal piety and orthopraxy as it relates to such, heavily to the detriment of kingdom (or community) of God orthopraxy. I see this as the major important aspect of the emerging movement, which tries to balance orthodoxy and orthopraxy. I would also say that Kimball, Hyatt, Bell and other prominent emerging churches put much of their focus on this aspect of missionality, and that what may appear to be an overemphasis on kingdom -praxy is, in reality, just a better balance of -doxy and -praxy which appears skewed when viewed from the paradigm of the past 100+ years.

8   Tim Reed    http://theotstrikesback.com
August 29th, 2007 at 2:40 pm

Chris R,
If we were dealing with a top-down denominational structure what you propose would be easy. But this isn’t a lutheran denomination, instead its an extremely de-centralized group in which brand definition is a slippery thing at best.

9   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 29th, 2007 at 2:44 pm

Thank you, Chris, that really helps.

10   Joe Martino    http://joemartino.name
August 29th, 2007 at 2:46 pm

Chris R,
I agree that anyone who claims to be emerging shouldn’t get offended when the whole thing goes to emergent. To me, that’s just not worth getting all upset over. People are dying today.

11   Matt B    http://matbathome.blogspot.com/
August 29th, 2007 at 2:50 pm

I haven’t watched the video, but I know he addressed the issue of distancing himself from McLaren in his interview with Mike Corley. It used to be online but now I can’t find it.

12   Chris Rosebrough    http://www.extremetheology.com
August 29th, 2007 at 3:16 pm

Tim,

Great question!

The big issue is doctrinal unity in a church structure where individual congregations exercise virtual autonomy.

Most of the doctrinal pressure comes informally through peer-pressure rather than through the power structure.

Believe me the whole thing is flawed but I can’t think of a better system. Thankfully our confessions and creeds provide enough framework so that it doesn’t degenerate into a theological free-for-all.

The ELCA wandered off into theological la-la land because they bought into neo-orthodoxy and higher criticism. That undercut the authority of scripture. Once that happened it was just a matter of time before they became what they are.

The LCMS excels at defending scriptural authority and the proper distinction of law and gospel. But they stink at evangelism.

13   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 29th, 2007 at 3:23 pm

Chris – I was raised in an LCA church where my mother was the choir director. Three years of Catechism and confirmed. Lost as a goose.

Got saved watching Billy Graham on TV. I know, I know. Me too.

14   Matt B    http://matbathome.blogspot.com/
August 29th, 2007 at 3:24 pm

Rick – you are clearly do not have saving faith if you got it from Billy Graham. :)

15   chris    http://agendalesslove.wordpress.com
August 29th, 2007 at 5:02 pm

Chris Rosebraugh I would like to say I appreciate you having dialogue here with well thought out reasoned responses. As apposed to ad hominem attacks on everything that differs from your flavor.

16   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 29th, 2007 at 5:08 pm

Thanks Matt B. – I knew the BG refernce would generate some immediate doctrinal outrage. But since some have suggested you operate in a doctrinal vacuum, I’ll let it slide, Captain Cotton Candy.

17   robbymac    http://www.robbymac.org
August 29th, 2007 at 5:38 pm

The confusion caused by Young Leaders changing their name to Terra Nova and now Emergent is why I have never added the “Friend of Emergent” logo on my own website.

In my case, I elected to identify more with “Friend of Missional“, which not only has a better working grid to say what it is and what it isn’t, but also sounds nothing like emerging/emergent. Took some flack for that decision, but I still think it was the right one for me. :)

18   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 29th, 2007 at 5:40 pm

That’s because you are a neo-emergent coward, Robbymac.

19   Chris Rosebrough    http://www.extremetheology.com
August 29th, 2007 at 6:51 pm

Rick,

It sounds like your baptism didn’t stick :-)

20   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 29th, 2007 at 6:54 pm

Chris – In reality wouldn’t you say that it did?

21   Chris Rosebrough    http://www.extremetheology.com
August 29th, 2007 at 7:51 pm

In reality faith comes through means.

Not everyone who hears the gospel is saved. I think the same applies to baptism.

22   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 29th, 2007 at 8:35 pm

I would certainly agree. I have twin brothers two years my junior. Both went through baptism and the same religious training as did I. One is a Christian, the other lives in Germany and is not.

You and I may disagree on some things, but we both would agree that the moving of the Spirit of God to open hearts and cleanse them with the Blood of the everlasting covenant is a glorious mytery that gives God alone the glory He deserves forever.

And through all of the dialogue etc., that my brother, is the foundation on which we both stand.

23   robbymac    http://www.robbymac.org
August 29th, 2007 at 10:53 pm

Rick,

And you’re a closet Calvinist. Nyah! :)