reload The Race by Maurice McCracken

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Sorry to be cynical, but....

posted by Little Mo | Permalink |
.....I am just hearing a bit too much about "emerging church". I can't be bothered putting in links, try googling it, or even searching blogspot for all the millions of people who blog about it, and you'll learn more.

It's basically, I think, a missiological response to post-modernism. That is, postnodern people don't like structural church where they are talked at and expected to obey things, but experiential conversational church.

Now, I am actually very much in favour of some of the aspects of this movement - actually we do need to be better at conversing with people, and we do need to address our culture church wise, and actually there is loads of the communal relational worldview aspects of the Gospel that is really relevant to out culture. We're even toying with the idea of some type of emerging church project to be attached to my current fellowship.

But frankly, too much of the emerging church looks like "church without telling people the Gospel" and "church without talks from the Bible". Cos people don't like being told things. And they don't like books. And they don't like things explained in points. And moral rights and wrongs. And exclusivity. In fact a lot of the emergent church business is about being church without....erm...really being a church.

I was talking to a friend on Friday about learning to take what is good, and sift out what is bad from ideas and movements - testing everything, no matter who says it. Well, never is that more true that with all lot of the stuff (and there is A LOT of stuff) around emerging church. Test it carefully. Much of it is, well, rubbish frankly.


Blogger Hannah said...

Preach it

8:00 AM  
Blogger Phil Goodacre said...


Saw your comment on Andrew Jones' blog. Thought I'd come check out yours....

"learning to take what is good, and sift out what is bad from ideas and movements - testing everything, no matter who says it."

Presumably we need to do this with all traditions of church then? Emerging, Liberal, Charismatic, Evangelical?????

From my experience those folks involved in emerging church are quite open to have questions asked about what they are doing? I can't say the same for all other traditions of church.

Surely we need to consider what parts of the church as we know it today are things which are essential to make something a church, and which things are culturally specific to church done in a modern (as against post-modern) society.

Am i correct in thinking that you view

telling people the Gospel
talks from the Bible
things being explained in points
moral rights and wrongs

as the essential characteristics of church? If not, I'd like to hear what you do view as the essential characteristics of church.

I do hope none of this has come across as aggressive, argumentative. I'm someone who has had a foot in a number of camps over the years. I'm just trying to work out what church is. I'd be interested to hear what you have to say.


8:20 AM  
Blogger Little Mo said...


Thanks for stopping by.

In answer to our first question - yeah I'll say! Testing everything, no matter who says it and from what church tradition - I said that and I meant it. IRL, I'm the last person to accept the party line because of who has said it - I suppose you'll just have to take my word for that!

However, the reason the emerging church gets spotlighted here - well because it's the only one that is claiming, or has parts who are claiming, to be dealing (or "engaging" I believe is more the word) with the problems of "traditional church". And I think some of those responses are wrong. (some I think are too right, but more on that in later posts I hope!) And I think you're right, they are better than lots at dealing with questions, but the fact is, you read one of these people's books you can't ask them a question.

But I want to ask questions where I can - it's why I posted on Andrew's blog.

Yeah - you're right to pick out the things I listed, they were an off the cuff list, and no, they don't constitute the essentials of what I think church is. Telling people the Gospel, relating the Bible's truth, books, moral rights and wrongs, and yes exclusivity - well I think they are all important. They are all part of what makes church church, and all things are culture doesn't particularly relate to. I don't think we can get rid of them. And I don't think we have to. But they certainly aren't an exhaustive list.

Anyway, I really appreciate you coming here and posting on my blog - I want to blog more on the ECM as I learn more about - I'd love your thoughts as I do.

Cheerz mate


3:30 PM  
Blogger Phil Goodacre said...

Don't know if you've seen it already or not, but there's some good stuff critiquing the emreging church thing at . Jut thought you might be interested....

2:35 PM  

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