The Death of the Emerging Church?

Some are now predicting the death of the emerging church – here is a recent report. Well, I am sure some have been predicting this from its inception, those who are quite against the emerging church.

I’ve never really written much on the emerging church. I’ve just finished Brian McLaren’s A Generous Orthodoxy and am about to start his new book, A New Kind of Christianity. So I’ll be sharing some thoughts on those books soon.

What I have written about before is America’s (and the west’s) obsession with movements. Movements are not bad, for they come to challenge what needs to change and confirm what needs to stay. Yes, movements can be bad. I do not doubt such. But, as a whole, we can learn from movements.

But I have always been concerned with movements and fads within the church: from charismania (though I could be identified as a ‘charismatic’), to revivalism, to seeker-sensitive, to emerging-post modern, to capitalism invading the church, to you name it. And these are only from the past 50 years. We simply know how to get excited about the next best thing in the church, or what we think is the next best thing. We have our own versions of iPhones and iPads to pump us up.

In today’s world, movements last for a shorter time. I think it’s a product of the global world we live in. It used to take weeks, months and years for certain news to travel. Now it’s available within seconds via Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and a hole host of other methods. I’m ok with it. It’s just that movements will fade in and fade out a lot quicker these days.

So the emerging church movement might fade out. Maybe not. Some are only recently becoming enamoured with it. Sometimes we take a while to ‘get’ things, even though they have been around a while. I’m not say the emerging church was the best thing since sliced bread. But, with all its faults, it has served a purpose over the past two decades. Again, as any movement serves the purpose of challenging what needs to change and confirming what needs to stay.

So, it’s ok if such a movement is in its fade-out stage (as others have posted). And then something new will arise. It might look and seem better than the emerging church, or the opposite.

But in all, this is why we are not called to seek first a particular movement and all these things will be added unto us. We are called to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness (right-living) and all these things will be added unto you (Matthew 6:33). For the kingdom is unshakable and we are, even now, a part of the rule of God’s kingdom (Hebrews 12:28).

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4 thoughts on “The Death of the Emerging Church?

  1. Not so sure about your assessment Scott. Read Phyllis Tickle’s Great Emergence. There is more to this thing than what you’ve seen on the surface. I’d go deeper than quoting World Magazine, brother.

  2. Scott –

    I really wasn’t giving much weight to the article I linked to, though others have been ‘predicting’ such. I simply used it to talk about how movements come and go, so we look to put our hope in the unshakableness of the kingdom and King. Still, I wouldn’t be surprised if the emerging church faded over the next decade.

  3. Oh my! I am worn out from reading all the comments from that article. I’ve only heard of Mark Driscoll and Erwin McManus. In the comments I find it disturbing that some said those other people teach that Jesus isn’t he only way.

    I am not a reader, so I’m not as educated on this subject. But I think all of these people are spending too much time reading, talking, & studying this stuff. And not enough time getting out and telling others about Jesus. I’m not traveling the world telling others about Jesus either, but I try hard in my daily life to live for Christ.

  4. Lori –
    Just to be clear – Mark Driscoll has publicly removed himself quite some time ago from the ‘Emerging Church’ movement because of some the things that were being taught by a lot of the prominent Emerging Church leaders.

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