A New Kind of Christianity – Book Review (Part 1)

Back in May of this year, I posted up my review of Brian McLaren’s work, A Generous Orthodoxy. McLaren stands at the head of what is known as the emerging-emergent church movement. Though he had written books prior to his 2004 release of A Generous Orthodoxy, this was his ground-breaking book into the Christian market (and beyond). This book (and now his other books) has generally caused two reactions from Christians – either you love him or you hate him. There isn’t a lot of middle-ground for too many.

As you will see, I personally gave A Generous Orthodoxy a generous review. Nope, I did not agree with every single thing McLaren stated, as you will see in my three challenges at the end of the review. But, still, the book was good food-for-thought, at least for one who is interested in what Christianity is to look like in the 21st century.

Hey, following Jesus is not tied into my or your particular theology. I, and we, can learn a lot from those of the faith that are not within our particular group or circle. And that’s a healthy perspective to take, McLaren’s perspective in A Generous Orthodoxy. He wants us to ask how we can keep our orthodoxy a bit more generous, steering clear of overly defined and dogmatic boxes, as to include and understand those within the Christian faith but who might not be of our particular denomination or tradition.

While A Generous Orthodoxy might be considered somewhat extreme, I must say it is not as extreme as his most recent publication, A New Kind of Christianity. If some feel A Generous Orthodoxy caused a stir and was too loose in it’s theology, well, these people just might anathematize A New Kind of Christianity. It is definitely a step further down the path of the emerging, post-modern thinking. It does make one wonder if previous books were written to prepare the way for this new one, and if A New Kind of Christianity is only preparing for an even more radical step in the future. Only time will tell.

Now, I don’t say any of these things as of yet to dismiss the book. I only say upfront that some will definitely not like McLaren’s thoughts and concepts in this newer release, especially if his other writings (not just A Generous Orthodoxy) have left a bad taste in one’s mouth. For some, this book might easily be rejected as having anything to do with Christ and Christianity.

From my perspective, just as with A Generous Orthodoxy, I don’t agree with everything in this book. Some of it is a bit too extreme for me. Still, let me say this from the start – I think the book is worth a read for Christians who are living in 2010 and who want to engage with what God is doing in today’s world (at least the western world). A mature believer will read it with discernment. But, nonetheless, I would encourage mature Christians to wrestle with it.

Noting the subtitle of the book, Ten Questions That Are Transforming the Faith, the main premise of the book is that McLaren sets out 10 questions that he believes must be considered as we develop a new kind of Christianity in the 21st century. He challenges much of what has come before, or at least what has existed since the setting up of a Roman Christendom in in the late 4th century.

The ten questions are as follows:

  1. The Narrative Question: What is the overarching story line of the Bible?
  2. The Authority Question: How should the Bible be understood?
  3. The God Question: Is God violent?
  4. The Jesus Question: Who is Jesus and why is He important?
  5. The Gospel Question: What is the gospel?
  6. The Church Question: What do we do about the church?
  7. The Sex Question: Can we find a way to address human sexuality without fighting about it?
  8. The Future Question: Can we find a better way of viewing the future?
  9. The Pluralism Question: How should followers of Jesus relate to people of other religions?
  10. The What-Do-We-Do-Now Question: How can we translate our quest into action?

I won’t take time to look at every question. But I will address six of them, mainly the narrative question (#1), the authority question (#2), the God question (#3), the sex question (#7), the future question (#8) and the pluralism question (#9). Of the questions I will address, I will take this part 1 to look at the first three and then, in part 2, I will look at the final 3 questions.

What is the overarching story line of the Bible?

With regards to the first question, McLaren charges that most of Christianity has developed a Greco-Roman understanding of the biblical narrative, which looks something like this:

McLaren challenges that this six-line, Greco-Roman perspective comes from reading the Bible backwards through the lens of people since the arrival of Jesus. But if we read it forward (from Genesis to Jesus), we will come to better understand the overall narrative story of Scripture. The first flag to raise would be why he separates Jesus and Paul (or any other New Testament writer). Later on, McLaren does take time to take a look at Romans in presenting his understanding of the gospel. But one might read these chapters on the first question and wonder if he thinks Paul (or other New Testament writers) might have askewed our understanding of Christ and God.

In coming to his own realisation of the true biblical story line, McLaren said he mainly immersed himself in Genesis, Exodus and the writings of the prophets, especially Isaiah.

As I allowed Genesis, Exodus, and Isaiah – rather than Plato, Aristotle, and Caesar – to set the stage for the biblical narrative, what emerged dazzled me: a beautiful, powerful, gritty story that resonates with, gives meaning to, and continues to unfold in the life and teaching of Jesus. And this story invites our participation as well, not as pawns on the squares of a cosmic chessboard, but as creative protagonists and junior partners with God in the story of creation. (p47)

I’m not sure why he only took Genesis, Exodus and mainly Isaiah, to form his view. But those are the three main Old Testament books he takes time to address the overarching story of Scripture.

I agree that the Bible is first and foremost a redemptive story, so it’s not so much a car instruction manual with how-to-fix-every-problem that we might come across. It is a redemptive drama being played out, and within a particular ancient near eastern culture, but, interestingly enough, one that had been greatly influenced by the Greco-Roman world by the time of Jesus’ arrival. So, maybe this whole thing of demonizing the Greco-Roman ideas is not all that it’s cracked up to be.

I think Scot McKnight lays out the narrative importance of Scripture in his book, The Blue Parakeet. But before saying much more about Scripture, I move on to the second question or the authority question.

How should the Bible be understood?

In this section, McLaren continues to challenge much of evangelicalism’s reading of Scripture in the vein of the Greco-Roman style. Or, to put it another way, reading it as a constitution. Again, the Bible is a narrative story, first and foremost.

He hits hard at what we might identify as fundamentalists, though his swing is broader to take in most of evangelicals. McLaren states:

Our quest for a new kind of Christianity requires a new, more mature and responsible approach to the Bible.

We pursue this new approach to the Bible not out of a capitulation to “moral relativism,” as some critics will no doubt accuse, but because of a passion for the biblical values of goodness and justice. Our goal is not to lower our moral standards, but rather raise them by facing and repenting of habits of the mind and heart that harmed human beings and dishonored God in the past. We have no desire to descend a slippery slope into moral compromise; rather, we admit that we slid down the slope long ago, Bibles in hand, and we need to climb out of the ditch before we are complicit in more atrocities. Repentance means more than being sorry – it means being different. (p76-77)

His greatest example of a wrong kind of approach to Scripture is how it was used to promote slavery. Plenty of people in generations past utilised Scripture in arguing positively for the practise of slavery. And we know that wasn’t/isn’t healthy. McLaren also mentions how Scripture has also been used in backing up other atrocious behaviours such as anti-Semitism, apartheid, chauvinism, environmental plundering, prejudice against gay people, and other such issues.

He defines the constitutional approach to Scripture in this way:

It shouldn’t surprise us that people raised in a constitutional era would tend to read the Bible in a constitutional way. Lawyers in the courtroom quote articles, sections, paragraphs, and subparagraphs to win their case, and we do the same with testaments, books, chapters, and verses. (p78)

If we approach Scripture incorrectly, we will approach life and humanity incorrectly. Therefore, Brian McLaren’s solution is that we stop reading the Bible as a constitution and more as a community library.

So, whatever the Bible is, it simply is not a constitution. I would like to propose that it is something far more interesting and important: it’s the library of a culture and community – the culture and community of people who trace their history back to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob…The biblical library, similarly, is a carefully selected group of ancient documents of paramount importance for people who want to understand and belong to the community of people who seek God and, in particular, the God of Abraham, Moses, David, the prophets, and Jesus. (p81)

McLaren reminds us that ‘the Bible says’ and ‘I say the Bible says’ are not, many times, two equal statements. And, so, as we approach Scripture, McLaren would call us to remember this:

As we listen and enter into the conversation ourselves, could it be that God’s Word, God’s speaking, God’s self-revealing happens to us, sneaks up, surprises and ambushes us, transforms us, and disarms us – rather than arms us with “truths” to use like weapons that savage other human beings? Could it be that God’s Word intends not to give us easy answers and shortcuts to confidence and authority, but rather to reduce us, again and again, to a posture of wonder, humility, rebuke, and smallness in the face of the unknown? (p93)

The next question to consider is the God question.

Is God violent?

Here, McLaren takes up the argument that there is a difference between the Hebrew God, Elohim, and the Greek God, Theos. I personally think this could be a little confusing, since the New Testament word used for God is Theos. Now, McLaren is presenting a characterisation of the Greek idea of God as opposed to the Hebrew idea of God. But, it could still get confusing knowing that plenty of first century Jews would have spoken of Theos in their teachings and writings.

Permit me to post a longer quote in helping understand McLaren’s thoughts:

Now, before I address my uneasiness about those images, I need to say again that nowhere in the Hebrew Scriptures do I find anything as horrible as Theos. Yes, I find a character named God who sends a flood that destroys all humanity except for Noah’s family, but that’s almost trivial compared to a deity who tortures the great part of humanity in infinite eternal conscious torment, three words that need to be read slowly and thoughtfully to feel their full import. Yes, I find a character named God who directs a band of nomadic former slaves to fight and claim from more powerful nations a piece of land for themselves, but never does this God direct them to expand their borders, brutally gime through slavery and genocides as Theos-Zeus-Jupiter likes to do. Yes, I find a character named God who does a good bit of smiting, but those who are smitten are simply smitten and buried, and that’s it. They are not shamed and tortured by God after death – forever and ever, without end. Now, I am in no way interested in excusing or defending divine smiting, genocidal conquest, or global quasi-geocidal flooding; I’m just saying that even if these are the crimes of Elohim/LORD, they are far less serious crimes than those of Theos. (p98-99, italics his)

Obviously this also touches on his view of hell, but we will come back to that later on in my part 2 of the review. Though some of McLaren’s ideas presented with regards to the first two questions are arguable, here things start getting a little more dubious. I believe we are left too confused on the nature of God in the whole of Scripture.

He, then, begins to present a somewhat progressive, or maybe evolutionary, view of God as presented in Scripture.

But over time, the image of God that predominates is gentle rather than cruel, compassionate rather than violent, fair to all rather than biased toward some, forgiving rather than retaliatory. In this more mature view, God is not capricious, bloodthirsty, hateful or prone to fits of vengeful rage. Rather, God loves justice, kindness, reconciliation, and peace; God’s grace gets the final word. (p102)

To be honest, I think I understand what McLaren is going on about. Of course, God’s nature does not change. But it’s the revelation of His nature that becomes clearer and more full as we move through the Scripture. It is what theologians recognise as the progressive revelation of Scripture. All that we know about God did not drop out of heaven into a book the day He created Adam and Eve. Rather, God was revealing Himself within a particular culture and throughout their time. God is a patient God, and that’s a good thing. If He had revealed Himself all at once, it would have been an overload for us. Thus, the slow and progressive revelation of Himself now recorded in Scripture and summed up in the final Word, Jesus Christ.

Now, this is where McLaren might need to rethink his view: The Old Testament is full of God’s justice, love, grace and tender care. And there is enough judgment in the New Testament to keep us on our toes as well (the death of Herod Agrippa – Acts 12:20-23; those who were ‘falling asleep’ in their selfish approach to the Lord’s table – 1 Corinthians 11:17-34). I know McLaren would not hold to the whole argument that the God of the Old Testament and the God of the New Testament are two different Gods. But his thoughts tend to divide and dichotomize God.

His whole premise is that, as we move through Scripture, we advance from a violent tribal God to a Christlike God. And if we stop approaching Scripture from the six-line, Greco-Roman standpoint and the constitutional reading, we will see this full and complete (the more mature) movement. And, I believe McLaren would argue that, even today, we can further that true vision of what God is truly like as we let go of these two fundamental beliefs of most Christians.

This is why we cannot simply say that the highest revelation of God is given through the Bible (especially the Bible read as a constitution or cut and pasted to fit in the Greco-Roman six-line narrative). Rather, we can say that, for Christians, the Bible’s highest value is in revealing Jesus, who gives us the highest, deepest, and most mature view of the character of the living God…

Of course, some will claim I’m dishonoring the Scripture by saying these things, but in fact, I’m trying to properly honor Jesus as the Word of God to which the words of Scripture bear witness. The Scriptures are indeed unique and precious – inspired by God, as Paul said, and useful to teach, reprove, correct, and train us in right living so we may be fully equipped to do good works (2 Tim. 3:16-17). But just as the bronze serpent that had been an agent of healing in Moses’s day could later become something of an idol (2 Kings 18:4), so Christian individuals and communities can unwittingly become false Trinitarians, worshiping Father, Son and Holy Scriptures. (p115-116)

Though McLaren hits Christians hard with his thoughts on the narrative, authority and God questions, I can concur with these words above to a degree. Recently, I have become a little concerned when a person or church’s statement of faith says that the Scriptures are our ultimate authority. Well, actually, for the Christian, I believe that our final authority should be He whom we are named after – Christ.

Now, I know. The Scriptures are the God-breathed, inspired word of God and testimony to Christ. We can be certain of its origin and nature, as it testifies about itself. But I would rather state that Scripture becomes one of the great authorities and testimonies of Christ, not the only. Matter of fact, I would even argue that it is the church, the body of Christ, that is also theopneustos, or God-breathed. Jesus breathed on the disciples (John 20:22) and sent the Spirit (pneuma-breath) of God at Pentecost to empower His church (Acts 2).

That should suffice for now in this part 1 of my review of A New Kind of Christianity. While I do not agree with everything McLaren says and I think his challenges are a bit extreme at time, I still believe his questions are worth noting and pondering. Though one, like myself, would not agree with all he has to say, his voice is a prominent one today. Hence, the importance of engaging with his thoughts.

I’ll take up the sex question (#7), the future question (#8) and the pluralism question (#9) in my part 2.

A Generous Orthodoy – Book Review

Sometimes I am a little behind the times. Well, in today’s age, doing something only a couple of months later can be seen as ‘behind the times’. For example, I only recently signed up for Twitter just under two months ago. At least I was on Facebook and had a YouTube account for uploading some videos. But I finally decided to move into the world of Tweeting.

So, with a book review being posted only now on Brian McLaren’s A Generous Orthodoxy is, well, way behind the times, since the book was first published in 2004. I’m talking way behind!

Nevertheless, I launch into my review…

More and more, Brian McLaren stands as the ever-controversial pastor-author, being at the forefront of the emerging-emergent church movement. I liken Brian McLaren to Marmite for Brits. Marmite is a yeast-extract that Brits (and other nationalities) spread on their toast. But here is the thing about Marmite – they say you either love it or hate it. I have never tried it, only smelled it. And the smell reminded me of a combination between beef jerky and fishfood. I’ll let you guess which side of the fence I sit with this product.

And, with regards to the more extreme pendulum views, whether this is good or bad, I think that is typically where most people find themselves with McLaren. Many see his concepts, and other emerging proponents like him, as the best thing since sliced bread. Others see him as a heretic, and I’m sure he has even received some labelling as antichrist (which I will go ahead and say is a bit ridiculous).

The subtitle for the book is quite lengthy: Why I am a missional, evangelical, post-protestant, liberal/conservative, mystical/poetic, biblical, charismatic/contemplative, fundamentalist/calvinist, green, incarnational, depressed-yet-hopeful, emergent, unfinished Christian.

A mouthful, heh?!

The main thesis of the book is to create just what the title calls for: a generous orthodoxy. His desire is to create a wide enough playing field in his orthodoxy for all to embrace and enjoy.

Now, hold on there, before the charges start firing away. He is not inherently saying that ‘nothing matters’ or ‘we are all in regardless’. Some would accuse him of such, but I am not sure that is McLaren’s stance. But he is passionate enough about challenging the more exclusive, dogmatic boxes that can be created for, one, keeping ourselves in and, two, keeping others out.

Early on, McLaren starts out by sharing about the seven Jesuses he has known over his life. Again, hold your judgments. He is not saying there are actually different Jesuses to believe in. Rather he points to seven branches of the church that have helped him understand the fuller reality of who Jesus is:

  • The Conservative Protestant Jesus
  • The Pentecostal/Charismatic Jesus
  • The Roman Catholic Jesus
  • The Eastern Orthodox Jesus
  • The Liberal Protestant Jesus
  • The Anabaptist Jesus
  • The Jesus of the Oppressed

Through his life, at times, McLaren has been drawn into varying expressions of the church, and he considers this a great plus in experiencing the fulness of who Jesus is. Thus, the subtitle of the book shows his desire to allow the different and varying expressions of Christ’s church draw him in to who Jesus really is. And that is what he longs for with the whole church – a more generous orthodoxy that sees the benefits of and respect for those even outside our own circles.

But, while he would applaud certain aspects of these differing expressions, he would also be willing to challenge other aspects. I would not say the challenges are raised to pick a fight. Yes, he shares his frustrations at times with some of the over-closedness that he disagrees with in the church. But I think he reserves more stern treatment in his most recent book, A New Kind of Christianity, which I hope to post a review of in the next week or two.

Let me first start out by saying what I like about A Generous Orthodoxy.

In general, I really did enjoy reading the book. There are some good thoughts, things that must be considered in this day. As Christians, we do love to create our closed, dogmatic boxes and proclaim it as orthodoxy. And, thus, we get to say who is in and who is out. Most of us have moved away from declaring certain non-essential issues as essential for our salvation in Christ. But we still create our in and out groups. All of us do this, including me.

Therefore, I see no problem in championing a more generous orthodoxy. Of course, I don’t agree with every statement and nuance of McLaren. But I think we must consider listening to, if not his for some reason, then voices like his.

Many will accuse that this kind of ’emerging thinking’ will take us down the slippery slope in which we are all inclusivists and universalists, simply accepting any ol’ thing. I suppose, at times, McLaren would say, ‘No, that’s not what I am looking to do,’ and at other times he would probably claim, ‘Yes, I am ok with that.’ The reason is, again, his desire to stir the overly closed and dogmatic theology in our own expressions of church. It’s quite like when I talk to an extreme Calvinist, I will throw out some things to challenge their view. And when I talk to an extreme Arminian, I will toss some challenges to them as well.

But, I must admit that, as I read this text, I felt a peaceful, restful spirit from the pages. Some would claim I’m just opening the door to a false spirit, but I don’t think that true. The words of McLaren do give a sense of wanting to open the door for better collaboration and acceptance of one another across the varying circles of Christ’s body. For some, that is anathema. For some, that is the call of believers. Again, I’m thinking Marmite here.

Personally, I do believe it very worthwhile in considering, learning from and receiving from the varying expressions of Christ’s church. Matter of fact, I have come to appreciate some aspects of varying branches that I wasn’t aware of, such as the Anabaptists. McLaren is quite a proponent of Anabaptists, as he grew up in such a church. Even recently, there are some things within the Eastern Orthodox church that I have come to appreciate. And, dare I say it, even understanding the heart behind icons. Uh, oh.

There are three things I would challenge McLaren on.

The first is that I believe he has taken on too much of a martyr complex. It’s not overwhelming in the book, but he knows many are not going to like what he has to say, so he might say things like, ‘I know people will disagree with me, even call me a deceiver. But I really am looking to stand for what Jesus stands for.’ Something like that.

And, of course, I suppose those who love him will rally behind him and say, ‘Ahh, they have no idea what they are talking about when they hurl insults at you, those religious and dogmatic types. They will never change. Jesus will deal with them like he dealt with the money changers in the temple.’ Something like that.

I would encourage McLaren to get on with his specific message and not focus so much on the detractors and accusers. Of course, you have to address these things at times. So it’s not out of bounds. But I would simply try and steer clear of embracing much of a martyr complex.

The second thing is not so much a challenge, but I at least recognise that I am not in the same place as he is with regards to the question of hell, which he addresses in his chapter on being missional, chapter 5. I am just approaching his chapter in A New Kind of Christianity that looks at the question of the future. I suppose he will go into more detail in that book than in A Generous Orthodoxy. But I wouldn’t be surprised if he avoided some issues.

For McLaren, of course it is ok to not build a dogmatic case. It is clear from more recent words that he does not hold to eternal conscious punishment. I am not sure if he is an annihilationist or more inclusivist in a universal reconciliationist view that ultimately, through the work of Christ, all will be reconciled to the Father. There are respectable theologians that hold to all three views. I have typically leaned towards the first, eternal conscious punishment, as my seminary professor of eschatology was of that view, having written two books on the topic. But I am much more open to annihilationism today, and I at least will respect the words of those who are universal reconciliationists.

Thus, McLaren is not too worried about defining his view about hell, though he has a view. And maybe it’s to avoid even more accusatory words, which is somewhat understandable. Instead of defining hell, he would say his desire is rather to get on with being a blessing to the world, harking back to the original words of God to Abraham – I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed (Genesis 12:3).

Regardless of one’s dogmatism on hell, or their particular view, I am definitely up for getting on with being a blessing and making Christ known to others. I’m not sure about quite a few theological issues, but I am sure that Christ came to bring the kingdom rule of God that sets captives free and reconciles them to the Father.

I know I am a lot more defined than Brian McLaren. With theology, I love systematics, that is systematizing theological topics across the Scripture. For example, studying what the whole Scripture has to say about the kingdom of God, or church, or the Holy Spirit, or humankind, etc. This is somewhat the other side of the coin to biblical theology where we would more regularly study the Scriptures book by book, chapter by chapter, verse by verse.

Hence, I am quite defined in my theology. And I believe that is why McLaren’s A Generous Orthodoxy serves a purpose for me (and people like me). Thoughts like these are refreshing to one like me who is a bit more ‘heady’ and ‘systematic’. That’s why I enjoy diving into both devotional and fiction books – to get my head out of proper theology at times.

The final challenge would be that these words are really only relevant to the church in America and western Europe. Well, at least at this point. Maybe one day these words will be relevant to Africa, India, the Asiatics, Central and South America. But I would rather Christ consummate all things upon His return than await that day, for it might be a little while longer until those peoples deal with much of these issues. But, while I might suggest to a ‘western’ friend or colleague to read McLaren, I would not suggest it to my African or Asian or Hispanic friends. In general, I don’t think it would be too relevant to them. But I think McLaren is more writing to and challenging the American church.

In all, Brian McLaren has written this treatise, and has probably been read by multiple millions now, to stir the church to open their hearts and minds to those outside their own circle. Sure, this has been going on for a few decades now, swinging the pendulum away from super-dogmatism and closed-mindedness. But his words come in trying to swing the pendulum even further, as he believes this is important in the post-modern, twenty-first century world. People will continue to label him as heretic or be quite cautious in receiving much of what he says, but such will only strengthen us and him as we face the challenges.

Here stands a man that is continually grappling with how to make Jesus relevant to the world he lives in, a world that is more and more extremely varied and eclectic. To my understanding, that was the major launching pad for the emerging-emergent church – how do we reach the upcoming, emerging, post-modern generation. Even if I don’t agree with every belief and practise, I still recognise that as a worthy consideration.

One final challenge to readers of this article. I would encourage you to read McLaren, or others like him, before speaking forth and posting your judgments. I have been guilty of this myself with varying theological beliefs and church circles. It’s not good. It’s not Christlike. When we make our judgments from third or fourth-hand information, we will fall short of being faithful in using wisdom and discernment, and even more, I believe we will fall short of being like Jesus. For this, I am challenged.

As I said, I will post some of my thoughts about A New Kind of Christianity soon. At least for that book, I will not be too far behind, since it was only released a few months ago.

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).