Jesus Creed

Jesus Creed

Missional and holistic

Issue #2: The missional and holism issues

Fundamentally, the Emergent movement is a “missional” movement and it is holistic in its mission, and until it is addressed from that point, it won’t be addressed centrally. I am not aware that hordes are converting to faith in Jesus Christ by the Emergent movement. I am deeply committed myself to evangelism, and I am also a student of conversion (see my Turning to Jesus); and I have an article on small things, like why Evangelicals become Roman Catholics, and one shortly to be published with JETS on why Jews become Christians, and I’m doing one why Roman Catholics become Evangelicals. Not long ago I spoke with a Christian leader who speaks quite often to Emergent churches and this person told me that the Emergent movement does not have that many conversions. Now I don’t know if this person was accurate, and it does not matter, but I still think the issue is missional in the sense that the Emergent is trying to work out the gospel in a postmodern context – and that context exists and it is worth letting the gospel have its way in that context. But, I don’t see enough in DA Carson’s book about this, and for that reason alone the book is incomplete. It doesn’t undermine what he says about epistemology, but it makes one wonder why in the world he spent all his time on epistemology when the movement and its leaders constantly speak of holism and missional and the like. I wish we’d gotten more about this: maybe a whole chapter on “missional” and the “holism” of the Bible.

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Sivin Kit

posted April 19, 2005 at 8:57 pm

Thanks for your excellent interaction with Carsons’ upcoming book. As an Asian (more specifically Malaysia Chinese) 33year old pastor in a mainline Lutheran denonimation :-) I was first drawn into the emergent & wider emerging church conversation because of the “missional” & “holistic” emphasis and posture. I was aware of the “postmodern” context discussion and I’ve eavesdropped quite a while and found it helpful. But when all is said and done, the discussions on epistemology though are important are not what I relate to the most. Thus, I think your point in this post is spot on!

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posted April 20, 2005 at 5:10 am

The lack of evangelism may just be a pendulum swing of sorts. People are still “detoxing from church”, and being in this sort of recovery and re-examination of what being the Church really means, they aren’t thinking or investing time in evangelism (however that might look in emergent contexts).If we rarely or never hear of people becoming followers of Jesus through emerging churches, then we have a whole new set of questions to wrestle through.

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