Wednesday, February 01, 2006

What is the Emerging Church?

Often the question is asked, "What is the Emerging Church?"

While such some would say that the unanswerable question, I thought this quote from the late Stanley Grenz was quite accurate:

"When someone says Emergent, they really haven’t said anything because this network is so diverse. There are so many different styles and agendas that it’s hard to get a handle on what holds it all together. I think if one were to ask what’s the scarlet thread, I would say these are folks who are taking seriously the context in which they find themselves, which many of them would consider postmodern. They’re trying to take seriously the transitions and changes that they see going on in North American culture, and they want to embody the gospel in a manner in which people in this changing climate can see it, understand it, and respond to it."

For the full interview see


At 1:22 PM, Blogger Backwoods Presbyterian said...

Call me crazy but I always thought it was the job of people to conform to the gospel, not for the gospel to conform to the culture. Look at what Paul had to deal with in Corinth. As we know Corinth rivals-and probably exceeds-our own Sin City's more provocative cultural experiences. I doubt Paul would speak any different to the Las Vegasians than he did to the Corinthians.

At 1:30 PM, Blogger Brian said...

I think you missed Grenz's point - he doesn't say conform, he says "take seriously". You cannot have the gospel without a context, period. If you think you can, you're confusing the culture with the gospel and that's deadly.

Want proof? Look to Paul himself, he doesn't handle himself the same way every where he goes. In Athens, he handles himself quite differently than he does elsewhere. Why? Is he conforming? No, he's taking his context seriously. There's a huge difference between taking the context seriously and conforming. The problem with so much of the PCUSA culture right now is that its failing to take the context seriously. We think its the 1950's and its not. We're so busy looking back to the good ole days that we have no idea where we're going. That's the problem with the newpcus and New Wineskins, they're throwback movements that are designed for a world that simply doesn't exist anymore.

At 2:24 PM, Blogger Backwoods Presbyterian said...

I would not disagree that Paul speaks differently to each of his churches because each of his churches has specific issues with which they are dealing. However I wouldn't say his message changes to fit the context of his churches. The way he deals with them might but his orthodoxy does not change. I may be missing the whole point(which is entirely possible)and in that case I must say I mean no disrespect and am not criticizing just to criticize. I do believe that it is not the system that is broken but the gosel that is being presented by it. The confusion and double-speak being presented by those in leadership positions in the PC(USA) is what NWI and are really fighting not guitars and powerpoint sermons. The "1950's" that they long to return to is a reliance on Reformed principles not the latest feel-good measure presented at General Assembly.


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