Question: What is the Emerging Church?
Answer: The emerging church is an incredibly diverse movement that sprung up out of evangelical Christianity sometime in the 1990’s. Since it has had no confession of faith, no formally recognized leaders, no denominational structure, and no official institutions, it is difficult to speak accurately about the emerging church as a whole. That said, here are some traits that characterize many within the emerging church movement. Participants in the emerging church conversation tend to:
- Think that the church must seriously adapt its beliefs and practices if it is to be relevant to our postmodern generation.
- Want to raise questions instead of answering them.
- Favor dialogue over preaching.
- Favor stories over systematic theology.
- Pit community against authority and prefer the former.
Question: What’s wrong with the Emerging Church?
Basically, what’s wrong with the emerging church is that it takes the postmodern ideology and cultural mood as its starting point—its “given”—which then relativizes Scripture’s role as our authoritative norm for life and doctrine. Examples? Proponents of the emerging church tend to:
- Make the gospel more about renewing this world than being saved from the wrath of God.
- Want the church to be an egalitarian, unstructured web of relationships, either ignoring or distorting the Bible’s teaching about the church in the process.
- Replace preaching with dialogue.
- Soften Scripture’s harder truths and ethical demands in order to conform more to the ethics of postmodern pluralism.
These Q &A’s come from the 9 Marks Q&A website.