Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Evaluation of Emerging Movement

Crossway College graduate student, Eleanora L. Scott has an article in the latest issue of Evangelical Review of Theology on "A Theological Critique of the Emerging, Postmodern Mission Church/Movement". She writes in her conclusion:

"There are issues that EM must consider. Experience should not be elevated above theology, although they may sit side by side. Spirituality must not be seen as self-centered or as neutral and spiritual conflict must be expected and addressed. The movement must remain self-critical, critical of current culture, and open to the criticism of others. Phases that unnecessarily incite the existing church and reductionist views of church history must be avoided. And God's mission to the wider world must not be marginalized. However, the contributions that the EM has to make to ecclesiology and the existing church outweigh these issues. Tapping into the culture's desire for spiritual experience is remarkable. Embrace those who are different and including them in authentic community is extremely important in redeeming the church's image as elitest and irrelevant ... Time will tell whether EM is as significant as it appears; EM could very well be another Reformation of sorts. Kimball suggests that we measure EM's success 'by looking at what our practices produce in the called people of God as they are sent out on a mission to live as light and salt in their communities'. This is certainly reasonable."


SF said...

I always thought that the voice of EM should be heard by the wider Christian community. But at the same time EM must allow themselves to be critiqued. In terms of the outworking of EM (and all of us) in the real world, one question we should ask is: Do their (our) lives reflect the way of life of the suffering and death of Christ - and, together with that, the hope of resurrection?

Chris TerryNelson said...

EM certainly awakened Christians to be better students of culture, and in some instances even more honest in their reading of Scripture - especially embracing doubt, mystery, etc. However, there has been an unhealthy tendency towards ecclesiocentric thinking that overshadows the Gospel, so that all our energy is poured into the hunt for "new ways of doing church." I'm all for being practical and open to new forms, but those forms must be relevant not just to the world but primarily to the mission of God in the world. Yet EM is reticent to say anything about what God's mission may entail from God's end - especially as the triune One who acts in Scripture. So it fills this theological void by pushing the stories of individual churches.

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