This just in:

Theological Development Most Out of Gas: The Emerg(ent/ing) Church, by now largely exposed as a haven for evangelicals who want to be hip. SWNID is demonstrably not stupid about or uninterested in matters, but we’ve never seen why people were determined to love or hate this stuff. Now we sense that observers and participants are deciding that “there’s no ‘there’ there.” Die-hard Reformed churchmen will continue to rail against the movement even as it lies comatose, as that’s what die-hard Reformed churchmen do. But the rest will continue to re-evaluate the balance of their message and the effectiveness of their methods, make incremental changes to optimize faithfulness to the gospel and the accomplishment of its mission, and try by faith to move forward.

From here.  (In case you are wondering, SWNID stands for Seldom Wrong, Never in Doubt.)

  • Share/Bookmark

Tags: ,

This entry was posted on Saturday, January 31st, 2009 at 1:39 pm and is filed under Emergent Church, Theology, Uncategorized, quote. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
+/- Collapse/Expand All

16 Comments(+Add)

1   Rick Frueh    http://http?//
January 31st, 2009 at 3:02 pm

I believe his assessment of the emergent movement is a little underestimated, however he makes a good point about being hyperventilated. You cannot imagine how many believers, as well as preachers, I have met that have never heard of the emergent movement and/or men like McLaren, Paggit, or even Bell.

You know who everyone knows? All the prosperity preachers. So why do they not take up the majority of discernemnt blogs?

I will say this again because I have never received a logical and Biblical answer:

If you believe in the absolute sovereignty of Almighty God, such that nothing happens that He does not direct and orchestrate, than why does it concern you about heresy, false teachers, etc., etc., and etc.? And if no one will be saved who God doesn’t capture directly by His will alone, then who are these people deceiving?

I have come to the conclusion that no one actually believes Calvinism. :cool:

2   Bo Diaz    
January 31st, 2009 at 3:30 pm

I agree in a lot of ways. Its sort of interesting, but when it comes to energy, numbers, achievements, organizational structures, actual ability to pull the levers of power and other ways in which we gauge the success or failure of an ideology the emerging/emergent movement is a failure (especially if you remove Driscoll and Bell from that movement as they both have publicly done).

But one way in which we gauge the power of a movement the emergent movement is a complete and total success: influence.

The fact is that their critique of mainstream protestant denominations, non-denominational evangelicalism and straight up conservative denominations (ala the SBC) have been dead on accurate, and they’ve argued powerfully and persuasively. Their ideas on missional living, cultural adaptation, and the shattering of certain theological positions (especially in terms of how the church has dealt with homosexuals,the poor, 3rd world countries, worldwide sexual exploitation of women and other marginalized categories), and the role of art, aesthetics and re-connecting with ancient Christian beliefs and practices (whether that means simply being aware of them, or actually adopting them) have been incorporated by the very groups they were reacting against.

I have expect that (especially the more theologically extreme) emergents may end up dying out very quickly, but their influence on their brothers and sisters will be felt for generations and will probably be the main reason the American church manages to survive in any form.

3   Bo Diaz    
January 31st, 2009 at 3:35 pm

Also, I am aware that they’re hardly the first to hold to these beliefs, however they are the ones who managed to bring awareness of them to enough Christians to create a tipping point.

And thank God for that.

4   Phil Miller
January 31st, 2009 at 3:45 pm

I think that it’s really too early to judge the total influence of the “movement”. I would say that it has influenced young pastors and leaders a lot more than the average Christian, so it may actually be more influential than people realize.

It reminds me of quote that’s attributed to Brian Eno about the Velvet Underground – “only about 1,000 people ever bought a Velvet Underground album, but every one of them formed a rock and roll band”.

5   Rick Frueh    http://http?//
January 31st, 2009 at 3:53 pm

“Take a walk on the wild side”.

Lou Reed
Former Velvet Underground member

6   Bo Diaz    
January 31st, 2009 at 4:15 pm

That’s sort of what I’m getting at. If you saw fight club there’s a bit where Tyler Durden says “Tell him the liberator who destroyed my property has re-aligned my paradigm of perception” to the narrator as he talks to the police about his apartment being blown up, that’s sort of what its like.

While SBC preachers are still SBC preachers their paradigms of perception have been re-aligned. And that goes for anyone who is reading anything coming out of Christian publishing houses, or plugged into the Christian culture at all.

The fact is that while ADMs are doing as much damage to individuals as they can by smearing and lying about them, they’re not doing anything to stop the re-alignment of paradigms of perceptions by many Christians, and especially Christian leaders because their arguments largely boil down to “but we’ve never said things in that way before”, which hardly rings true with anyone striving to understand the scriptures, and certainly doesn’t capture the imagination of anyone who’s leading, or just exploring Christianity.

7   Rick Frueh    http://http?//
January 31st, 2009 at 4:42 pm

Bo – I am not sure the emergent movement was the sole motivator for a change in perception and evaluation, but they were a part. There are some within the movement who continue to stray dramatically from core truths, and many who would not go so far are unwilling to openly address that issue.

The one element that has affected my most is not the emergent side, it is the ODM side. Although I began with many of the core beliefs (not Calvinism), I eventually could not reconcile the words and attitudes with being a follower of Jesus Christ. The Scriptures were clear about humility and grace, and I could no see where we were given behavioral carte blanche simply based upon correct systematic theology.

Using carnal and self righteous weapons seemed counter to the self sacrifce-love your enemies type of warefare laid out by the proclamation of Scripture and the revelation of the life of Christ Himself. So in essence, I could see problems with some of the emergent teachings, but the attacks on them were much more enlightening to my personal walk with Christ. The crusade mentality did not seem to be a crusade that vehemently and passionately pursued the example of the Savior, it was a crusade to proudly parade truth as if it were God’s weapon to destroy sinners, and that He had entrusted to a small band of self righteous warriors.

It already seems as if some are following a “movement” intead of Christ. Where are the “Christ Conferences”? Why are there church growth conferences, and emergent gatherings, and Shepherd’s conferences, but where are the “Be Like Jesus Conferences”? But perhaps things like the emergent/emerging movement can be used of God to overcome the spiritual inertia so prevelant today in our communities.

We can pray so…

8   Christian P
January 31st, 2009 at 4:57 pm

Don’t get caught up in the first half of his statement. He says the most (and I think the most relevant and important) in the latter half.

9   nc    
January 31st, 2009 at 4:59 pm

Emergent is really about effecting the perception of leaders and the way they see the Church, it’s mission, etc.

It’s effects will be felt by means of getting things in “the water supply”.

I’ve always enjoyed how people set up Emergent as this group of people who are out to attack people and set themselves up as the new “ruling class”.

It’s easy to knock that straw man down. But I never saw my involvement with the relationships as a means to the ends of power, influence, etc. that EV’s critics have always claimed.

That’s part of the reason why EV was slow on the uptake to respond to criticisms because the criticisms didn’t sound anything like us. Sometimes I wondered who people were actually talking about.

I don’t see my network of relationships laying dormant, dead or comatose.

Oh well.

10   nc    
January 31st, 2009 at 5:00 pm

I liked the dig at Die-hard Reformed leaders.

11   Dave Muller
February 2nd, 2009 at 11:13 pm

Adding to your point Rick, Stephen Hawking once said, “I have noticed even people who claim everything is predestined, and that we can do nothing to change it, look before they cross the road”.

12   Rick Frueh    http://http?//
February 3rd, 2009 at 7:42 am

Dave – I like Stephen Hawking and his combination of quantum machanics and the theory of relativity to explain the function and lifespan of black holes, although he can be shallow sometimes. :)

I have read posts of Calvinists looking to see if they remain truly faithful and consistent to their theological position and almost inevitably, especially when they are attacking someone, they belie their own doctrinal pillars. With their own trumpets blaring how much they believe in God’s absolute sovereignty and the absence of any human free will they still are some of the most demonstrative hand wringers and wolf criers in blogdom.

Please, let the non-elect think they’re saved and let them enjoy some false joy before they are shipped off to hell. It’s all they’ve got, man. :cool:

13   I'veforgottenmorethanyoueverknew    
February 3rd, 2009 at 1:34 pm

Rick: Please, let the non-elect think they’re saved and let them enjoy some false joy before they are shipped off to hell. It’s all they’ve got, man.

But their suffering only adds to God’s glory Rick.

14   John Hughes    
February 3rd, 2009 at 1:35 pm

Opps. Forgot to change my alias.

15   John Hughes    
February 3rd, 2009 at 1:36 pm

Let the redeem of the Lord say so.

Let the Elect of the Lord say “I told you so”.

16   nc    
February 3rd, 2009 at 2:25 pm


I just laughed so loud I got dirty looks from people in the office.