Ok, it’s confession time. I must admit that, in the past, I have not been too crazy about the emerging church movement. I think it was not so much because I thought it was inherently evil, as some feel. But I believe it was mainly due to my desire to guard against being drawn to just another movement or fad within the church. Oh goodness, they are everywhere! And it’s normally quite the in-thing to join in where you can
But I must say that my view of the emerging church has take a more positive shape over the past months.
How so? Well, as of late, I have been interacting with some books and blog articles of particular emerging leaders, as well as personally meeting and conversing with church leaders that would include themselves within the emerging movement. Engaging with and listening to what another has to say, I mean true engagement and listening, can soften one. You start understanding just a little more of how they are and what they are saying.
Now, I admit that I don’t agree with every single thing that might be identified with the emerging church or at least some of the emerging church sector. For example, I struggle with some of the newer perspective on same-sex relationships and a more universalist outlook. In no way do I believe those in same-sex relationships or those other faiths should be stigmatized and ostracized. Many times that has been our story and it is not good. I want to engage with and interact with such people, with the compassionate heart of Jesus.
But I don’t believe the goal is simply acceptance for acceptance’s sake alone. In the end, by the grace of Christ, we should desire to see new birth take place where needed and movement towards kingdom right-living.
Still, I have begun to recognise many of the helpful aspects of the emerging church, mainly rethinking how we walk out our faith in Christ in a post-modern world. With that, there has also been cause for rethinking certain aspects of evangelical theology as well.
It’s much easier to stay within the theological framework that we’ve always held to. And, normally, it becomes difficult to rethink our paradigms. For example, think of Martin Luther and our Reformation friends. Yikes!
I am not sure the emerging movement is on par with the Reformation, or even other movements like the Wesleyan-holiness or Pentecostal-charismatic movements. Nevertheless, the emerging church has had, is having and will have an effect upon the church as we know it.
So, I just wanted to write some brief thoughts on my particular rethinking of the emerging church. Again, not everything is perfect, just as within the charismatic or reformed circles. But I have begun to learn and appreciate some things within this particular grouping of people and churches. And I am grateful for that.