No Evangelical or post-Evangelical group believes more in the Church than does the Emergent movement, though there will be plenty who would like to resist this claim. And I do not mean at all to suggest that anyone else doesn’t believe in the Church.
All I mean by this is that Solomon’s Porch puts its entire reputation on the line, the entire reputation of their reworking of the basics of Christianity, in what everyone can see and believe and experience as they see/believe/experience the gospel through that community. The apologetic for the gospel of the Church is the witness of the Church.
This is why at Solomon’s Porch you might be hard-pressed to get a “theological statement” or a “confession of faith.” Weekly, according to Reimagining Spiritual Formation, creeds are recited in public gatherings, but the creeds change from gathering to gathering because, instead of anchoring into one creed, Solomon’s Porch wants to live out the faith in a postmodern world while standing on and moving from those historic creeds (and this is both biblical creedal statements and classical creeds like that from Nicea).
One of the issues theologians like me find frustrating is that we’d like a little more coherence, but I suspect Solomon’s Porch is not going to give us some rational systematic theology but is instead offering to us (even experimentally) a coherence that is to be found, not in theological thinking, but in the life a local community lives out as it follows Jesus and lives in harmony with the work of God on earth.
In other words, Solomon’s Porch really does believe (so far as I can tell) that the ulimate coherence of the gospel must be found in a theology that comes to life in a community, and that until that community lives it out, that theology alone cannot provide the coherence that God wants.
Perhaps never has so much been vested into the embodiment of the local church.
Next blog will be on “embodiment.”