Issues with the Emergent movement

Years ago, when the whole emerging/emergent thing was in its infancy, I was quite intrigued with what these guys were saying, as they echoed some of the same issues I was having with the evangelical church.  As I’ve written here (and elsewhere), I’ve stopped being a fan. In fact, I consider many of the big voices of “emergency” to be simply heretics, being so “generous” in their “orthodoxy” that they have simply abandoned orthodoxy altogether.

Joel at The Christian Watershed has posted An Open Letter to the Emergent Movement in which he lists seven of his grievances with that movement.  He writes

…to be quite frank, I no longer see the difference between the fundamentalism I came to loath and the Emergent movement I see before my eyes. I appreciate the call to justice, I appreciate pointing out the flaws of conservative Christianity, which has become and is becoming a dead orthodoxy, but my concerns with you far outweigh the positive aspects I see.

His list isn’t close to being a new “95 Theses,” but he makes some good points.  To me, it seems they’ve just stopped believing in sin and in Jesus being the only way, truth and life.  They have a gospel which is no Gospel at all; while they’ve left fundamentalist legalism behind (as Jeff points out), they’ve gone so far the other was as to leave the central points of Christianity.

But perhaps I’m just old-fashioned: I still like to say the Nicene Creed every Sunday.

2 thoughts on “Issues with the Emergent movement”

  1. Here’s a copy of a dialog that continued on my facebook page from this post:

    Robert Hartman: My $0.02… A large part of any discussion about the emergent church is just what is meant by “emergent”. Near as I can tell, it was intended to mean that the form of the church “emerges” from a dialog between the church and the world-as-it-is. As practiced, it sometimes seems to amount to postmodern deconstructionism, and I don’t believe the church can or should be subjected to that.

    Why? Because the church is the living, breathing Body of Christ. It incarnates him in the present world. When Jesus asked “who do men say that I am” it wasn’t so that he could discover what they wanted and become that, it was in the context of clarifying who he actually was and declaring that truth to the confused world. As Christians we should do the same. If the church is to be emergent, let it be because it emerges into the world for what it IS.

    P.S. I suspect an unconscious motive of the emergents is to participate in the give-and take of Jesus’ interaction with the world, but that’s another post…

    My response:

    Alden Swan: I think you are correct, the emergers were originally focused on form and mission, which then turned into open-source theology. However, I don’t know that even form and mission should result from such a dialog. Everything- form, theology and mission, flows from Christ. It’s like much of the emerging movement has no “back-flow valve,” so that as they reach out to the world, the world is reaching back to their theology.

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