I have recently been fascinated with this movement, or “discussion” as Brian McLaren calls it, called the emerging or emergent church.  It seems to strike a chord with many people near my age (20’s-30’s) so naturally I wanted to check it out for myself.  Myself and a friend of mine, Josh LaFave, have been meeting together each week and discussing a key book within this movement written by Brian McLaren called A Generous Orthodoxy.  In the book, Brian challenges readers to take on a new way of thinking concerning Christian faith and its interaction within the world.  It is this way of thinking that has shaped much of the emerging church movement.  I must admit here that it seems hard to characterize the emergent church as a movement since there is such a variance within this emergent classification.  I plan to reflect more specifically on Brian McLaren’s book in future posts.  For now, I will simply get the ball rolling in thinking upon and discussing this topic.  For some helpful thoughts concerning the emerging/emergent church, I would first direct you to check out the Emergent Village as well as some of the key leaders (Doug Pagitt, Brian McLaren, Dan Kimball, etc.) and their writings in order to learn more about the emergent church from those within the discussion or movement.  I would then urge you to listen to D.A. Carson’s 3 part lecture series on the emergent church:

  1. A description of the movement with a focus on its strengths.
  2. The movement evaluated more critically.
  3. An exposition of Scripture on the relationship between experience and truth.

0 Replies to “What is Emerging?

  1. I think much of the folks people would label ’emergent’ are asking the question “Who’s interpretation of the word of God is right?”

    yours?
    catholics?
    orthodox?
    baptist?
    church of christ?
    methodist?
    pentacostals?
    etc, etc, etc

    Hundreds of denominations (not to mention millions of people) have not minor but MAJOR differences in their interpretation of SIGNIFICANT aspects of ‘the word of god’…significant meaning salvation, truth, deity of christ, etc.

    So how does someone know their truth is THE truth?

  2. Rick…that is a great question. Who’s interpretation is correct? How can we know? What happens if my view is skewed and I don’t even realize it?
    These are a few questions I have asked myself. One thing I appreciate about the emergent folks is their honesty in many matters. Brian McLaren makes mention of his own shortcomings in interpretation to which I can readily relate to. There is no one who will have it 100% right because we are finite trying to take in the infinite. It’s just too much for us to handle and yet it should not discourage us from pursuing God through study of the Word.
    I do not think that the real question deals with denominational interpretations of Scripture. Any time we hold so tightly to our traditions or affiliations that those things supplant the Word of God, we no longer follow God but man made constructs. The Bible is interpreted in the same manner as other literary texts. There are many things to consider when seeking a right interpretation of Scripture: genre, authorship, immediate and broad context, etc. You ask questions of the text such as:
    “To whom is author writing?”
    “What is the setting and context of the situation?”
    “How does this passage fit into the chapter? the letter? the whole Bible?”
    “What message is the author trying to get across to the audience?”
    “How can we apply these same principles?”
    I’m sure these are things you already aware of. So I believe the answer is found in the study of Scripture much like you would study other literary text. In that we may agree with certain people over others, but ultimately the Bible speaks for itself. As we read and study, we pray that the Holy Spirit will guide us in understanding and applying what we read.

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