First of all, I would like to say that when I discuss the Emergent Church, I am talking about the churches associated with the Emergent Village. I am talking about people such as Brian McLaren and Tony Jones. I am NOT talking about churches like UBC, the Village Church (Matt Chandler), and Mars Hill Church-- Seattle (Mark Driscoll). These would be considered emerging churches, not part of the Emergent Church. For an explanation of both, watch the video under "New Obsession."
As my search for understanding what the Emergent Church is all about, I have found a few very interesting quotes... The first is the quote by Brian McLaren, a leader of the Emergent Village, that I posted a few days ago... It is from his newest book, Generous Orthodoxy.
The second quote was provided at the seminar at The Village Church this past weekend... (Not to be confused with the Emergent Village... The Village Church used to be First Baptist Highland Village...) It is by Tony Jones, the national coordinator of the Emergent Village. This quote is from his new book, The New Christians: Dispatches from the Emergent Frontier. The quote is also used in Brett Kunkle's article, "Essential Concerns Regarding the Emerging Church."
"We do not think this [the conference and its movement] is about changing your worship service. We do not think this is about ...how you structure your church staff. This is about changing theology. This is about our belief that theology changes. The message of the gospel changes. It's not just the method that changes."
I will leave that up to you to interpret on your own.
The last quote I found today is editorial writer Marsha West quoting R. E. Sproul. She got the quote from the video, "Let's Talk Post-Modernism and the Emergent Church." It reads:
"As R.C. Sproul said so well, ECM appeals to Christians 'who don’t want to have to deal with theological conflict.' These same folks relativize doctrine, and that makes Sproul angry. He then points out that disagreeing doctrinally is a 'bad thing.' Looking rather grim-faced he said, 'We can’t be satisfied with it. Because truth is too important to kill it in the streets for the sake of peace! You can’t do it!' Bravo!"
The "theological conflicts" they are talking about are issues such as the Trinity, the Virgin Birth, the consequences of sin, the reality of Hell, the divinity of Jesus, homosexuality and abortion... just to name a few. The video is really interesting, btw, watch it if you are want to know more...
So yeah, that's just what I have been reading so far. I really want to read both McLaren and Jones' books... I also really want to study where the line for the Emergent Church is between "loving" people by letting them dwell in sin and loving people by pouring both truth and grace into them. As R. Scott Smith said in Truth and the New Kind of Christian, "Some Christians think a legalistic approach to the faith is due to a modern way of being a Christian. The solution, therefore, is to become a new, postmodern kind of believer. But that conclusion does not follow. We need to be like Jesus, who was full of both grace and truth. These must go hand in hand."
Love without Truth is not love.
More to come.