Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Defining the emergent church

Much has been said and written about the emergent church lately. It is a very diverse group of mostly former fundamentalists and evangelicals trying out a new way of being church similar to what Progressive Christians have been talking about for the last few decades. Here is a video of Peter Rollins from the Ikon Community in Ireland doing an interview with the Inner Compass show from Calvin College. He raises some important questions.

• In what way is Christianity a set of beliefs that we give assent to to belong to the community, or does being a Christian make us different people and changes our ways of looking at the world?

• How would church be different if we could become more honest about who we are and what our motivations lead us to be?

• How do our actions lead to living out the way Jesus taught his disciples?

Explaining Emergent Churches - Inner Compass from Calvin College on Vimeo.

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1 comment:

Timothy Burns said...

I believe that the emergent church wanders dangerously close to abandoning the heart and soul of christian faith as they wrestle with the meaning of faith in the light of changing culture.
Every reformation / revival throughout history (Edwards, Wesley, Finney, Calvin, Luther, et al) has come to terms with 2 important issues.

1) The method of communicating the gospel has to change to be relevant to the culture it seeks to transform.
2) the truth of the gospel, and the truth of scripture does not change.

When we try to lock our community and culture into one mode, our mode of worship, service order, etc, we willingly walk toward isolating those who can't connect with our mode of worship. We replace Christ-centered faith with tradition centered religion.

When we walk away from truth in our efforts to connect or not offend, we slowly isolate God and his spirit, who do not change, out of our structured methodology. In doing so, we again substitute god-centric faith with self-centric humanism.

Jesus stood against both humanism and traditionalism. He lived a real faith that was based on the truth of who He was, the Word of God, and a living relationship with his Father empowered by the spirit.

Genuine faith, whether called emergent, Wesleyan, Lutheran, charismatic, fundamental etc lives in this place. We dare not get so full of ourselves and our 'emerging conversation', wrestling with identifying the meaning of faith that we loose connection to the truth of Christ, his Word.