Learn More about the Emerging

It takes work to be discerning. And lots of reading. I would suggest reading good theology books (i.e Dabney, Reymond, Charnock, etc.), but if you want a quick peek into what the emerging church is about, here are some sites to check out.

Justin Taylor’s Primer at Mark Dever’s Ninemarks. org is very helpful.

Pulpit Magazine (John MacArthur) has some excellent articles as well.

D.A. Carson is excellent in this piece at Modern Reformation, but if you really want to get a generalized introductio you must read his book, Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church(Zondervan, 2005).

For a humorous take on the Emerging Church (this makes even many emerging folks chuckle), check this out: “You might be emerging if. . .”

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8 Responses

  1. If you’re looking for a more balanced perspective on the emerging church, Scot McKight’s piece in Christianity Today gives a well-written introduction to the movement.

    Five Streams of the Emerging Church

  2. Deleted per author’s request ~ BB

  3. I would not call McKnight’s article “more balanced.” McKnight is pro-EC and his articles are written from that perspective. They can be found on his website http://www.jesuscreed.org. I would recommend reading McKnight’s article to see what the EC’s say about themselves. He has more than the CT one on his website, as I recall.

    McKnight, among others, took exception to Carson’s book because they felt Carson tended to treat the whole EC as if they were McLaren rather than recognizing the breadth of the movement. Again, read McKnight’s critique of it to understand what is going on with that.

    I think that the EC perspective is a must for those who want to genuinely understand the EC view. It is helpful in critiquing them to critique what they actually believe.

    Having said that, I think the resources listed above are helpful, but I would recommend using them in conjunction with emergent literature. Just as we fundamentalists do not like to be misrepresented, so they do not either.

  4. Good comments. I’m a pretty active part of the “emerging church” movement. I get grumpy when folks think that Brian McLaren or Tony Jones or anyone else speaks for me. It is like saying that Jerry Falwell speaks for fundamentalists or Rick Warren speaks for evangelicals. Nevertheless, I respect Brian and am friends with Tony. I appreciate it when people who disagree with emerging church ideas strive to be balanced and clear in their critiques. The debate is getting more polarized all the time, with misrepresentations and mischaracterizations from all sides. Thank you for pursuing clarity.

  5. maybe mark or michael can help me out here.

    when someone says they are part of the ec, what does that mean that they believe doctrinally? like about the Bible, God, Christ, and salvation. Or is everyone different?

    like, the missionary here in ukraine who described his church as “ec” then said he preached in shorts. ? obviously, that is not the whole story, but is that possibly it for him?

  6. Anne,

    The essence (as far as I can tell) is a view of a present, real kingdom. The goal of the believers is to spread the gospel of the kingdom (for some, it means real conversion to Christianity, to others it means spreading social gospel). This may be slightly too reductionistic, but it is one of the keys.

    Concerning the doctrines, the EC is all over the board. McLaren hold’s to several critical views of Scripture (prophet vs priest), and New Perspectives on Justification (Not judicial justification, but a restoration to the covenant/kingdom community) for instance. Driscoll is a five-point, die-hard Calvinist. Some would claim inerrancy. Some would deny inerrancy. Some might claim to believe in absolute truth. Most deny its possibility. Truth is the sum of the community, not a proposition or series of propositions.

  7. “The essence (as far as I can tell) is a view of a present, real kingdom.”

    What does this mean? Wouldn’t a fundamentalist say they believe the same thing? Can you explain further?


  8. The view of the kingdom as “real and present” is an issue over which fundamentalism is divided. A great many of us believe that the kingdom prophesied in Scripture is not present, because the prophesies of Scripture regarding the kingdom are nowhere to be found. We would conclude that if the kingdom were here now, then language of the prophets has virtually no meaning at all. The prophets prophesied some very clear things about the kingdom that simply are not in existence in any recognizable, meaningful way.

    The new evangelicals held a view of the kingdom that led them to more social work and social concern, which a “kingdom now” view will tend to do to at least some degree.

    The emergents take it to a place where they see social justice and social presence as part and parcel of the gospel. They say things like “the whole gospel for the whole man,” and mean by that that man’s physical life (hunger, human rights, job equality, poverty, etc.) are just as much related to the gospel as his sin is. It is in many ways a revival of the social gospel from the 1800s and early 1900s.

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