Thursday, March 13, 2008

Thoughts on Emergent, prt. 2

I love Wikipedia!

Thanks to Jamie, I have realized that it is important to mention that there are some distinctions between "Emergent" and "emerging" (I probably should have been using "emerging" in my last post). To be honest, I don't quite understand the distinction or why it is necessary. But if we realize that "emerging" is a large umbrella with various opinions and perspectives within it, then we shouldn't be surprised when distinctions within the umbrella are made. When people realize that they don't agree with someone else who shares their "label," (i.e. "emergent" or emerging") they usually make another label.

So as I was trying to understand the distinctions between "emerging" and "emergent" I browsed a little and then checked out the Wikipedia page for "emerging church". Instead of trying to flesh out the distinctions myself, I will just let you read a sample from the section called "Emerging" versus "Emergent."
"Although some emergent thinkers such as Brian McLaren and many Evangelical scholars such as D. A. Carson use "emerging" and "emergent" as synonyms, a large number of participants in the emerging church movement maintain a distinction between them. The term emergent church was coined in 1981 by Catholic political theologian, Johannes Baptist Metz for use in a different context.[6] "Emergent" is sometimes more closely associated with Emergent Village. Those participants in the movement who assert this distinction believe "emergents" and "emergent village" to be a part of the emerging church movement but prefer to use the term "emerging church" to refer to the movement as a whole while using the term "emergent" in a more limited way, referring to Brian McLaren and emergent village. Many of those within the emerging church movement who do not closely identify with "emergent village" tend to avoid that organization's interest in radical theological reformulation and focus more on new ways of "doing church" and expressing their spirituality. Mark Driscoll, an early leader associated with the emerging church conversation, now distances himself from the "emergent thread."[7] Some observers consider the "emergent stream" to be one major part within the larger emerging church movement. This may be attributed to the stronger voice of the 'emergent' stream found in the US which contrasts the more subtle and diverse development of the movement in the UK, Australia and New Zealand over a longer period of time. As a result of the above factors, the use of correct vocabulary to describe a given participant in this movement can occasionally be awkward, confusing, or controversial."

I guess I would be of the persuasion that Emergent is emerging but emerging isn't always Emergent. Emergent is a more radical side of the emerging movement which has come to some conclusions which would be very uncomfortable for an Evangelical or some of those within the emerging camp. It might be helpful to consider this quote by Mark Driscoll:
In the mid-1990s I was part of what is now known as the Emerging Church and spent some time traveling the country to speak on the emerging church in the emerging culture on a team put together by Leadership Network called the Young Leader Network. But, I eventually had to distance myself from the Emergent stream of the network because friends like Brian McLaren and Doug Pagitt began pushing a theological agenda that greatly troubled me. Examples include referring to God as a chick, questioning God's sovereignty over and knowledge of the future, denial of the substitutionary atonement at the cross, a low view of Scripture, and denial of hell which is one hell of a mistake.

This distinction, between "emerging" and "Emergent", is another good thing to keep in mind if you want to avoid confusion when you enter any conversation within or about the emerging movement.

I also want to add this video of Mark Driscoll on "Emerging vs. Emergent." It might be helpful:

Keep in mind that Driscoll is more, "conservative" than most people who would associate with "emergent." Driscoll has distanced himself from the "emergent" camp because of theological issues. 

1 comment:

Matt Stone said...

Yes I tend to differentiate between Emergent (Village) and Emerging (Church) seeing the former as a subset of the latter.