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« How Attainable is Christian Community? | Main | What the Emerging Church Needs, pt. 2 »

July 18, 2004


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great post DP. thanks.

This is why I consider you a leader, Chris. You have an ability to take what many of us are feeling, put it into good words, and communicate it in redemptive way.

I'll be blogging more on this topic myself in the near's to heavy on my heart right now to come out in a constructive way.

Post-emergently yours,


I'm a pastor who hasn't 'come out' yet. I don't know what Emerging Church means - it seems to mean as many things to all people as 'postmodern' does - and my big worry about it is that far from enculturating the Gospel it is moping and fawning on and aping the culture. Sure, there are good things out there, great things being achieved and discovered. But for some people, isn't it possible that what they want is Jesus without the Church? All the fun and ecstasy, without the trouble and hard work of having to deal with real other disciples and real people? Like wanting sex without the hard work of commitment, and so many other contemporary wrong turnings.
I guess what I wish and pray for, is that some of the excitement and energy of EC could be turned to trying to find Jesus IN the Church. He's in there somewhere, I'm sure.
Or, what am I saying? 'Cause I struggle so much with this stuff myself, that what I want even more is for the Church that hasn't emerged to be truly liberated. Maybe I need to find out more about EC myself ...

Chris, great post! I think that if the EC continues on the path it's been on as of now, that it will self-destruct within a short period of time (short meaning a couple of years, but still short on the grand time scale). And if it doesn't self-destruct but continues on this same path... then I seriously worry about the future of Christendom. And yes, I'm going to get around to saying that on my blog ;-)

From what I have seen on emerging blogs (which may or may not be a misguided perspective), it seems that many emerging church leaders and members are focassing the majority of their thoughts on the organizational, "how church is done" aspects rather then on Christ. The sole foundation of a church needs to be on Jesus Christ. If the emerging church is not founded on Jesus, but on the new / different ways of doing church, it will most likely fail eventually.

God bless.

I think so much focus has been placed on how church is done b/c of the renewed urgency in mission. Many of us are examining what it truly means to follow Christ in this time, and that includes all areas, including church. It takes a long time for something so large to change, and I think the EC is on track and has made progress in a short time.

See DP, at least one of the comments here bears out what I was talking about on the Ooze; the speed with which valid criticism of the EC becomes a reason to deny the problems within the IC.

From a larger perspective, the EC is the child of the IC, even if it is currently in reaction to it. The current issues within the EC are simply symptoms of the larger problems within the IC.

I've started reading EC books lately in order to make sense of what I am seeing and the one thing that strikes me more than anything is that the EC has its basis in science and philosophy more than Christ.

I am amazed at the sources of examples used for illustrating EC points. They almost never go back to the Bible, but to some lab test or sociological primer written by the fad scientist of the hour.

Does the Lord have nothing to say worth hearing?

I think this explains the problems you noted, DP. If the basis for the movement is not 100% the Lord Himself, then it is doomed to be a fashionable offshoot of dead evangelicalism. It will produce no fruit and become as decayed as the megachurches it despises.

If Jesus only did what He saw the Father doing, then why is the EC only doing what the latest worldly wisdom says? You can't base a church on Maslow and expect it to be anything usable. The lacks you speak of reflect a church mired in pop-psych and demographics studies as bad as anything in the megachurches the EC is fleeing from--it's just a different set of psychologists and poll numbers.

The main and the plain--that's where wisdom (and a future) resides.

"In Christ there is no emergent or institutional, no liberal or conservative, no progressive or fundamentalist, but Christ is all, and is in all." "One of you says, 'I follow Len Sweet,' another, 'I follow Rick Warren'; one says, 'I follow Brian McLaren," another, "I follow Chuck Colson.' Is Christ divided? Was Brian McLaren crucified for you? Were you baptized into the name of Rick Warren? Are you not acting like mere men? What, after all, is Brian McLaren? And what is Rick Warren? Only servants, through whom you came to believe--as the Lord assigned each to his task. The institutional church planted the seed, the emerging church watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor."

(Apologies to St. Paul. Cross-posted--commented?--from Anna's blog,

Thanks to all of you who are posting! I'm really enjoying the insights. It's good to have Windblown and Groovy and Dan posting here as well.

Daniel -- your contextual adaptation is dead-on! All "expressions" of Christ's body do well to heed the wisdom of the
Apostle Paul's perspective and exhortation.

Good stuff.

Wow Daneil, what you posted from deep soil was great and I was totally blown away by it. This is something we deeply need to all remember. In the past, it was " I am seeker sensitive, or I am charismatic, or I am pretrib" or whatever.

Dan, I totally disagree with you, as usual. To say that the EC is based on the culture around it and is thus not as biblically healthy as the modern church is to miss the point. All theology must take place in some form of cultural context. Having a scriptural basis for everything, exegesis, apologetics and placing an emphasis on the intellect were all formed and influenced by the culture around them at the time they were started.


God transcends culture. You show me a man filled to the brim with the Holy Spirit and I'll show you a man who can walk into any culture and lead people to Christ.

Culture is a small, small component, but we have made it everything. As such, it becomes wedged in our eyes and we see only our view because it functions like rose-colored glasses. But there is a world that exists without the rose coloring.

Yes, the EC and the IC both have those glasses on. And for each side to claim only they have the right view is ludicrous. The only real view is the Jesus view, the one that sees what the Father is doing and does it.

If the EC follows the Jesus view, it will bury the IC and modernism. More power to the EC if this is indeed the case. I think it is presumptious, though, to think that the IC and the moderns possess(ed) none of that Jesus view.

Is that what you really think?

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