Why We're Not Emergent (Even Though We Could Be)

This Sunday morning, in the adult catechism class at Oceanside URC, I begin a series on the emerging/-ent church movement. Catechism begins at 10:15 AM and worship begins at 11:00 AM (I’m also preaching the next two Sunday mornings and WSC Jon Moersch, a candidate for the ministry in the URCs, is exhorting in the next two evening services.

I’ll be using an article that appears this month, “Emerging Church? Meet Catholic Dogma” in Gary Johnson and Ronald Gleason, eds. Reforming or Conforming: Post-Conservative Evangelicals and the Emerging Church (Wheaton: Crossway, 2008). The WSC bookstore and library should have copies as soon as the book is available. There is (free) an audio/lecture version of the chapter here.

Another resource that I’ll be using for this series is Kevin DeYong and Ted Kluck, Why We’re Not Emergent (By Two Guys Who Should Be) (Chicago: Moody, 2008). I’m really enjoying this book. It’s clear, it’s well-researched, it’s thoughtful and it has a sense of humor. I’ve asked the WSC bookstore and library to order copies.

If you’re looking for resources on the Emergent/Emerging Church here are some online resources:

Why the Mission Needs the Marks

Audio: Missional and Reformed

What Makes Something a Sacrament?

Why the Marks of the Church Need the Mission

Published resources (all available from the bookstore at WSC) :

The Church in Emerging Culture (a conversation including an essay by Mike Horton)

Mark Driscoll, Confessions of Reformission Rev.

Don Carson, Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church.

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  1. Kevin spoke at our Presbytery Family Camp, a couple weeks ago.

    He’s a nice Confessional guy…

    How long can a guy like that stay in the RCA?!

  2. It seems like leaders of the Emergent Church are just recycling the same liberal theological ideas that infected the mainline denominations years ago. The emergent definitions (if you could ever get their leaders to define their terms) of words like “grace”, “kingdom”, “sin,” and “faith” are very different than how they are used in scripture or in the history of the church. Ironically, they have taken these old ideas and put a different package or spin on them. I look forward to the class on Sunday and hope to learn more about the following:

    1) Why is the emergent movement is even remotely attractive to professing Christians?
    2) What does the emergent movement gets right?
    3) What is the future of the emergent movement?
    4) What is the best way to talk / interact with emergent folks since they eschew “modern” categories and classifications (making meaningful conversation difficult at best)?

    I am sure you will mention how many of the theological positions leading emergent spokespeople teach differ from our confessions, so I didn’t put it on the list.



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