Monday, January 05, 2004

Emergent Church...

Evangelical Outpost outdoes himself again with a report on the Emergent Church movement. Has the Emergent Church Emerged? per Christianity Today. JPC wonders if it is just another version of Seeker-centered outreach? I wonder if it just another variation of our self-centered worldview? We seem to be so concerned with life meeting our needs don't we? Rob Moll, in Christianity Today, states, "First, in case you don't know, "Emergent is first and foremost a friendship, a network of warm and mutually encouraging relationships," according to the official Emergent website. The idea is that Christianity, as we often see it, is outmoded. Postmodernity has taken hold in our culture and the church needs to adapt or die." (emphasis added) I disagree. Christianity outmoded? Adapt or die (see my previous post)? Let's be real here. First and foremost, what these people want are experiences. This is the mantra for Post-moderns - give me an experience. It's an honest request... it's also incredibly selfish. What is outmoded is the idea that we have a historical connection with tradition and the people that made up that tradition. The Biblical Worldview shows quite a different story with regards to historical understanding. Whether it be Israel or the early Church, we see a people that understood where they came from and how, not only their ancestors fit into God's Plan, but how they fit into it as well. Don't take my word for it... read it for yourself. So, instead of educating a-historical individuals that have a self-centered, narcissistic worldview, with the proper Biblical Worldview, we've bent over backwards to deliver a church service to them in a manner that won't offend them. Heaven forbid that they should be told of the shallowness of their philosophy. I'm aware that we need to take care not to criticize too harshly any program that is bringing people to Christ, but the issue, as I see it, has more to do with properly discipling believers than catering to their whims. Yes, to be sure, there are emergent churches out there interested in feeding the hungry, or clothing the naked, but at first glance it appears to be merely an informal committment at best. "Scum of the Earth (that's the actual name of the church) founded by the Christian band Five Iron Frenzy says, "They want to sing, they don't want to be sung to. They don't want to go to church to listen to a sermon, watch a drama skit and go home without talking to anyone. They want to offer a spare bedroom to a stranger who got kicked out of the house. Most of all, they come to Scum of the Earth Church to connect with kindred souls." The MTV generation's distrust of anything polished, marketed, political, or conformist is driving the trend. "You can come in here and not have everyone stare at you," said one Scum of the Earth member, "who until recently wore dreadlocks and still stands out with nine body piercings."" (emphasis added) They want, they don't want, they want, they don't want... Sounds like my 3 year old. Now, as Joe Carter has said, we don't want to lump all people into one basket, and there are probably sincere and theologically sound emergent churches out there. But, what I'd like to see are some pastors with the guts to say, "Tell me what you want and I'll give you what you need!"

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