Jesus Creed

Jesus Creed


An Emerging Day

posted by xscot mcknight

Some stuff for Emerging Movement today:
First, I drove down to Wheaton to speak to the staff and interns at College Church of Wheaton about the Emerging Movement. I sense more and the more the need to have a clear definition more readily available. Here’s why: if the EM is not simply a theological innovation (which it is not), then the Evangelical world will have a hard time grasping it since it wants things defined by theology. The EM is not “that” kind of movement. I think our time together was very good.
Second, I got home to a bucket load of e-mails from the blog and otherwise, and one of them is an early draft of the paper Justin Taylor, up now with the Desiring God ministries in Minneapolis, is giving about the EM (he prefers Emerging churches). I don’t mind “churches” but I think the emerging “church”, used by some, is a misrepresentation (as if this is some kind of denomination). Justin has now seen the work by Gibbs and Bolger, and it appears to me that these two fellas have nailed a definition — which, however accurate, will not make it any easier for those who want to define a group by its belief system. Here it is:
“Emerging Churches are those
1. who take the life of Jesus as a model way to live, and
2. who transform the secular realm,
3. as they live highly communal lives.
Because of these three activities, emerging churches
4. welcome those who are outside,
5. share generously,
6. participate,
7. create,
8. lead without control, and
9. function together in spiritual activities.
Boiling it down to one sentence: Emerging Churches are communities who practice the way of Jesus within postmodern cultures.”
If this is the best definition available, my early hunches that this is an anabaptistic movement were more than on target.
I have a new category for the EM: Basileia-praxis (Kingdom).
Justin’s paper is fair and will help all of us. Thanks Justin.



Advertisement
Comments read comments(18)
post a comment
Dave

posted November 9, 2005 at 6:51 pm


Scot,
Your perspectives are most appreciated.
I must confess to reservations over Emergent, yet really appreciate some of their emphases (social justice, community, etc.).
With respect to the commendable desire to not be top-down, authority-driven, I find it somewhat odd that several of their pastors still use the title “senior pastor.” Even on the site for Brian McLaren’s church he is still listed as such. I have every confidence that these guys are humble and servant-leaders, but it strikes me as odd that they use language that does not depict what they are trying to be and do.
By the way, what are the chances that you will do some blogs on All Earthly Powers by David Wells?



report abuse
 

Dave

posted November 9, 2005 at 6:52 pm


Scot,
The title, of course, is Above all Earthly Powers.



report abuse
 

Scot McKnight

posted November 9, 2005 at 6:56 pm


Dave,
I don’t have the book and have not seen it, but I’d probably post something about it if I had it — he was my favorite lecturer ever.



report abuse
 

Dave

posted November 9, 2005 at 7:47 pm


Scot,
It finishes his series that commenced with No Place for Truth.
Are you still incubating on the comment about sr. pastors? I’d love to hear your perspective.
Keep up the good work!
Dave



report abuse
 

Michael Kruse

posted November 9, 2005 at 7:59 pm


At the New Mexico confab the idea “emerged” to call the thing “The Church Emerging” or the The Church Emergent.”



report abuse
 

Scot McKnight

posted November 9, 2005 at 8:24 pm


Dave, I’m not quite sure what you mean by “incubating on the comment about sr. pastors”? If you are talking about my unwise P-Bics category, I withdrew it — but I do think pastors have authority and they need to be wise where they wield it, and to know what they are saying when they wield it.
That the idea?



report abuse
 

Dave

posted November 9, 2005 at 9:46 pm


Scot,
Not quite, but maybe I a making too fine a point. Those tend to break!
In any case, I am referring to the idea that the title “senior” pastor comes out of a more business dominated ethos for understanding the church. Executive pastor obviously comes from the same tributary of influence. It seems that the Emergent folk would want to make a cleaner break with such terminology. You know the old truth: words create concepts and concepts change lives. I have not checked, but I would bet that some Emergent churches also have “executive” pastors. I get nervous with all the modifiers, especially the ones emerging (pun intended) out of the corporate world.
Don’t misunderstand. Properly understood, pastors have authority. I would simply like to designate all those so called as pastors or shepherds. By the way, you don’t have to subscribe to a Plymouth Brethren ecclesiology to do this. Ray Stedman was clearly the “senior” pastor at Peninsula Bible, but he just let us call him Pastor or his favorite salutation “Ray.”



report abuse
 

Scot McKnight

posted November 9, 2005 at 9:59 pm


Dave,
I’m with you on all of this, so thanks for the thoughts on this blog. I hadn’t thought much of Sr having structural setting, but I never cared for Executive Pastor.
Radical democracy is the aim.



report abuse
 

Vbede

posted November 10, 2005 at 10:55 am


Do you really believe the Bible teaches radical democracy within the flock? Yes the ethic of love is unilateral, the blessings in and through Christ are given to each…but that appears to me a non-sequitor to the issues of governance.
If your talking titles, the Bible refers to Jesus with modifying terms–the Good Shepherd, the Great Shepherd and the Chief Shepherd. There were priests, and then there was the High Priest, with Christ of course being the Great High Priest. Are the various Old Testament names of God to be rejected because they modify or distinguish Him from others? Back to democracy…sheep are exhorted to “obey their leaders”. Jesus says the greatest test of love is obedience to Him, John 14:15. Paul had Timothy appoint elders in the local churches, not establish democracy or congregational vote. We have an authority based, top-down faith…just ask Job. Ask Paul…where is the debater, the scribe, etc. If people are seeking titles, yes that’s bunk. We should instead be after the function–to shepherd the flock, not lording it over them, etc, as 1 Peter proclaims. That titles help clarify roles and expectations does not make them satanic…even as they borrow nomenclature from the corporate world. If someone’s heart is bent on power and influence, which causes them to seek such a title, or demand that others refer to them as professor or doctor or reverend or pastor–that to me seems quite vain.
So, I blab on. Bottom-line…I salute the flag of the non-democratic, slightly communist, and totally autocratic household of faith…where someone wears the pants and makes the rules I follow. Second, if the title is your god, you gots issues. If a title helps identify and distinguish roles–get over the chicken little “corporate America is taking over the church” panic :).
Blessings…



report abuse
 

Scot McKnight

posted November 10, 2005 at 10:58 am


Venerable Bede, if I may, my comment on radical democracy is not to be taken in such a way that would deny gifts.



report abuse
 

Vbede

posted November 10, 2005 at 11:50 am


Then help me understand, please, what you do/did mean. And I guess my comments were perhaps more directed toward Dave and the comments I assumed he was fishing for/dialoguing about…
Thanks :)
Also, I am gathering you’d rather prefer those who post not to ask or add additional rabbit-trails or engage beyond the simple stuff. And if that’s the case, simply tell me, and I’ll look for that sort of interchange elsewhere…a question only…



report abuse
 

David Wayne

posted November 10, 2005 at 4:56 pm


Scott – I very much appreciate you taking the time to bring some definition to the emerging movement and even though I don’t identify with the movement I appreciate the nine bullet points and could embrace them all to one degree or another.
Here’s my concern – in defining a movement by it’s practice are we back into some kind of backdoor works righteousness? There’s an emphasis on what we do, not what He has done that can, if we’re not careful, take the focus off the centrality of the gospel.
BTW – I’m really not trying to stir up any trouble with this comment, and I realize that my little objection here could equally apply to, . . . oh, maybe 99% of the church. In fact, as I just thought about it, this would apply to my own church’s mission statement. Oops.
But since I’ve already put this out there I’ll let it stand and would be interested in your reaction. I’m just wondering if this might be an avenue for rethinking alot of what the church does in regards to the way it defines itself and prepares mission statements and things like that. And, I could be off my rocker here making a mountain out of a molehill.



report abuse
 

Scot McKnight

posted November 10, 2005 at 8:50 pm


David,
It is my own conviction that the demand for obedience or goodness or whatever else you want to call it is no necessary infringement of God’s empowering grace.
What Christ has done is not just forgiven us but made us new, and it is the newness that is in focus here.



report abuse
 

Anonymous

posted November 10, 2005 at 9:36 pm


Subversive Influence » A new definition of Emerging Churches

[…] This is the Gibbs/Bolger definition of “emerging churches” as reported by Scot McKnight: Emerging Churches are those:   1. who take the life of Jesus as a model way to live, and   2. who transform the secular realm,   3. as they live highly communal lives. Because of these three activities, emerging churches   4. welcome those who are outside,   5. share generously,   6. participate,   7. create,   8. lead without control, and   9. function together in spiritual activities. Boiling it down to one sentence: Emerging Churches are communities who practice the way of Jesus within postmodern cultures. […]



report abuse
 

David Wayne

posted November 11, 2005 at 12:51 am


Thanks Scott – that makes sense and I agree. After I posted this I realized it was a bit of a silly comment. One of the things I have really been re-evaluating my own ministry in the last few years to try to make sure it is more gospel focused than doing-focused and lately I have been thinking that we need to define ourselves more by what Christ has done for us than what we would do for Him and this has become the major focus of my preaching. But your closing point is right on – He does make us new. Anyway, sorry to waste your time, I was using your blog to think out loud, or think online.



report abuse
 

Scot McKnight

posted November 11, 2005 at 8:48 am


David,
That’s what blogs are for.



report abuse
 

Anonymous

posted November 11, 2005 at 9:33 am


The Upward Way Press » Jesus Creed ยป An Emerging Day

[…] Scot McKnight shares a definition of the emerging church based on the work of Gibbs and Bolger: Emerging Churches are those […]



report abuse
 

Jim

posted November 21, 2005 at 11:23 am


Dear Scot,
I am a recently ordained PC(USA) minister and am just beginning to explore this whole emergent phenomenon. I have much interest partly because I think it may offer a way between the whole ‘liberal/conservative’ divide in my denomination particular and perhaps in the mainline denoms as a whole (that may be quite a far fetched hope, but it is a hope nevertheless!)
Anyway, I offered the following thoughts on my weblog and was wondering if I provide a fair assessment of your calling the EC an anabaptist movement?
Scot goes on to say that he sees the movement as a “ana-baptist” movement. That’s interesting, because I think when it comes to how we should be doing and thinking about the church in relation to society I am right up that alley. The “ana-baptist” puts most if not all of their eggs in the basket of the church, saying that the church’s calling is to be the Body of Christ in the world. The primary task of the church is to worship God and flowing from that act of worship is the building up of the community of faith and the mission of doing the things Jesus called us to do (take care of poor, etc.) in service and love in the world. The reasoning follows that as the church get its act together and becomes distinctly separate from the world it will draw others out of the world into its fellowship.
I suppose if the EC is truly an “ana-baptist” movement then it sees the marriage of the evangelical church to the political right and the conservative agenda of the Republican Party as a sell-out of the church’s primary mission to simply be the church in the world that draws others out of the world. There is no future in the church investing its time and energy trying to “save” the country from its “liberal” leaning slide. There is no future in the church investing its time trying to “market” the church to the world with its church growth strategies and its habits of watering down the faith. The only future for the church is for it to truly become the body of Christ in the world; an authentic community of faith with a single minded devotion to worship God and doing as Jesus taught.



report abuse
 

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the beliefnet.com terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to beliefnet.com and may be used by beliefnet.com in accordance with the agreements.



Previous Posts

More Blogs To Enjoy!!!
Thank you for visiting Jesus Creed. This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here are some other blogs you may also enjoy: Red Letters with Tom Davis Recent prayer post on Prayables Most Recent Inspiration blog post Happy Reading!  

posted 11:15:58am Aug. 16, 2012 | read full post »

Our Common Prayerbook 30 - 3
Psalm 30 thanks God (vv. 1-3, 11-12) and exhorts others to thank God (vv. 4-5). Both emerge from the concrete reality of David's own experience. Here is what that experience looks like:Step one: David was set on high and was flourishing at the hand of God's bounty (v. 7a).Step two: David became too

posted 12:15:30pm Aug. 31, 2010 | read full post »

Theology After Darwin 1 (RJS)
One of the more important and more difficult pieces of the puzzle as we feel our way forward at the interface of science and faith is the theological implications of discoveries in modern science. A comment on my post Evolution in the Key of D: Deity or Deism noted: ...this reminds me of why I get a

posted 6:01:52am Aug. 31, 2010 | read full post »

Almost Christian 4
Who does well when it comes to passing on the faith to the youth? Studies show two groups do really well: conservative Protestants and Mormons; two groups that don't do well are mainline Protestants and Roman Catholics. Kenda Dean's new book is called Almost Christian: What the Faith of Ou

posted 12:01:53am Aug. 31, 2010 | read full post »

Let's Get Neanderthal!
The Cave Man Diet, or Paleo Diet, is getting attention. (Nothing is said about Culver's at all.) The big omission, I have to admit, is that those folks were hunters -- using spears or smacking some rabbit upside the conk or grabbing a fish or two with their hands ... but that's what makes this diet

posted 2:05:48pm Aug. 30, 2010 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.