My interest in this came while sitting in the Seattle airport some months ago and watching Larry King interview Brian McLaren, transcripts here, along with Franklin Graham, T.D. Jakes and Tim and Beverly LeHaye. These people were chosen since they were on Times Most Influential Evangelicals. It is unfortunate that most influential seems to have more to do with public awareness of them than anything else. It also shows a loose use of the word Evangelical since from what I can discern from T.D. Jakes, and his take on theology, does not believe in an Orthodox view of the Trinity and thus is dealing with a different God than those who do. (This is a tpic all its own.) What I found most interesting was the non-committal talk of McLaren and since I knew little of him, thus not very influential on myself, I was not cognizant of his stand on postmodernism, well I know now. What amazes me more is that those who listen can applaud one who never really says anything and while trying to sound as "Generous" as he can be is not generous at all to those he disagrees with, but he is nice about it.
But this is not about McLaren, instead it is about the alarming move of some to jettison the Gospel of the Bible for some form of community derived belief. It may be easy to say that we can know nothing for certain unless we are all knowing but this idea misses the point that the Bible does and can make such statements. It would be entirely different if this so called movement, or as it is referred to in decidedly postmodern language - a conversation, were to deny the scriptures and be up front about it. However, many of those moving in this direction do not seem to want to be up front about this but instead try and say that for thousands of years we have all been wrong and they now have it right, I guess they are all knowing.
There are some that have taken the good things of the Emerging church and see a need to define their beliefs, actually take a stand for something doctrinally, while attempting to move the church back from its more secular bent. One of the goals of the emergent church was to move the church away from the CEO mentality of the mega church and I applaud them for this. One place I have gone to lately to see this side of the movement, I mean conversation, is the Acts 29 Network. If you go to their doctrinal statement it definitely sets out their beliefs and they even have a section on what they do not believe so as to make sure they are not wrongly lumped in with Emergent movement.
This is just some of what has crossed my mind while reading and may or may not make sense to you but it is definetly something the church has to recognize. What I find peace in is that while this movement or conversation may call itself Emerging the Bible says in Matt 16:18 that the ".... I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. " so the church is not gone and does not need to Emerge. It needs Reformation of it's people but society and other things will not destroy the church. In the up coming weeks I will write more as I read and study but the warning that the Emergent church sets before us is that even though it a movement against a culture of modernism it is itself being subsumed by the culture of postmodernism.
Grace and Peace,