“We’re not dead; we’re just hitting puberty!” So say yesterday’s trailblazers and newly-coached leaders in the Emergent Church movement, which we were told two years ago (By John MacArthur!) was gasping its last breath.
These post-modern gurus who spawned the whole lets-have-a-conversation-because-we-can’t-possibly-know-absolute-truth-in-scripture thought are still out there, and their numbers aren’t dwindling at all. Not by a long shot. In fact, many of the once prominent voices are in the coaching role as a whole new emerging generation is rising up to take the microphones. No, these emergent leaders not only aren’t dead, they’re converging in conferences all around the nation just like the Evangelicals.
Tomorrow the Emergence Christianity: A National Gathering with Phyllis Tickle and Friends celebration kicks off for two days in Memphis, and it is sold out. I’m sharing this article from the leftist-secular-atheist-progressive site that is Patheos, written by one of the prominent Emergent voices of the day, Tony Jones:
I’m in Memphis, coordinating an event called Emergence Christianity: A National Gathering with Phyllis Tickle and Friends. It’s gonna be awesome. In advance of it launching tomorrow, some of my friends have written posts reflecting on it.
Bruce Reyes-Chow: Aren’t We Done Emerging Yet? Sure.
I know — f or some people, the whole ”emergent” church thing is sooooo over and as a brand, sure. Not one to get too caught up in needed precise definitions *shocking* the core values of this population — the ones that have drawn me into relationship with these folks are still there: a genuine passion for the Christian faith, a curiosity about what may be happening and a willingness to try some things . . . and best of all – huge, empathetic and frustrating intentions about life and the world. From the conservative Baptist to the way-too-liberal Presbyterian and everyone in-between, I have been inspired by the many conversations – glancing and deep – that I have had over the years and so I look forward to yet one more gathering that will feed my soul and spark my synapses.
Adam Walker-Cleaveland: Hope for the Church: “I’m Not Dead”
I think that’s true…we’re not dead yet. The church isn’t dead yet. There is hope and beauty and potential with the church…but as I mentioned in my previous post, we have to be ready and willing to do things differently. And…although the church isn’t dead yet, I do think it would be good for all of us (pastors, seminarians, professors, lay people) to realize that we are headed down that track, and we need to wake up to that reality.
Jay Voorhees: Emergent 10 Years After: A United Methodist Perspective
However, the question that remains for me is if the emergence conversation has had any impact on the broader, institutional church. Some will say (cough…Tony Jones…) that there is no future for the already established, institutional church and that we should treat it with respect as we help it die a peaceful death (actually Tony might argue for assisted suicide, but that’s another blog post). There are others of us that understand (which Phyllis affirms) that reform movement often create something new, but also bring forth changes from the institutions that they are pushing against. Have changes been happening in traditional communions like my own? Are there influences from the emergent conversation that have begun to make their way into “traditional” church life and practice.
- What is the Emergent Church?
- “Church of Tares” a must-see video (standupforthetruth.com)
- The Significance of Youth-Filled Stadiums (standupforthetruth.com)
- ‘Gay’ clergy issue splitting churches (onenewsnow.com)
- Jesus Culture – Of Bethel Church – And Practicing Raising The Dead (christianresearchnetwork.org)