Emerging movement’s problem

In order to learn more about the emerging movement, I have read some books by various Emergent writers like Brian McLaren and Tony Jones, plus emerging leaders like Dan Kimball, Eddie Gibbs, Ryan Bolger, and Robert Webber. I was attracted to emerging’s style of worship and the idea of generous orthodoxy and the fusion of ancient-future. As a post-modern evangelical, many of emerging’s ideas and concerns resonated with me; however, some of their unorthodox theology has turned me off. After having learned more about some of their leaders’ theologies, I will no longer consider myself emerging. I will still consider myself as an interested emerging-evangelical but not an emerging. I still classify myself as an evangelical who is concerned about how to be missional in a post-modern world.

Emergents are concerned about being missional in a post-modern world. However, it might disappoint some emergents to learn that they do not have a monopoly on being missional in a post-modern world. From what I’ve read and heard, I find that Emergent leaders have been overly critical of evangelicalism and have accused evangelicalism of not being effectively missional in a post-modern world. I find this very arrogant and self-righteous. Their attempt to differentiate themselves from traditional evangelicalism has actually caused division between themselves and evangelicals. Nevertheless, I am still interested in learning more about the emerging church movement. The emerging leaders are my brothers and sisters in Christ who have lost their way and my heart goes out to them. Since I heard some of what the Emergent leaders have said, I have become more hesitant to explore this movement as a full participant. I think if more evangelical Christians really did their research into emergent`s theology, they might also become more discerning about this whole emergent movement. I do not doubt their authenticity and desire to love and serve God and to do the work of God’s mission. The emerging movement is just as concerned as non-emerging evangelicals are about how to best carry out God’s mission in a post-modern age. However, in the process, some emergents have forsaken the real power of the gospel and have compromised on the authority of the bible. Evangelical reformers like Luther and Calvin risked their lives during the reformation era because they believed in the authority of scripture and worked hard to preserve it. Emergent`s leaders, however, seemed to have forgotten about the authority of scripture.

If I was a Buddhist or Muslim seeker looking for answers about the Christian faith, and I had to turn to Emergent’s leadership for answers, I would not be confident in their spiritual leadership. I’d even wonder if Emergent’s answer might steer one back to return to Buddhism or Hinduism. If I have lost faith in Emergent’s ability to discern the truth, I could not advise my seeker friends to turn to Emergent for answers or advice. There just seems to be too much compromise in order to appease the morals, values, and beliefs of a post-modern generation. They want to appease secular humanism by blending their values in order to be accepted by them. In the process of trying to be missional in post-modernism (which is a good thing), they have distanced themselves away from orthodox evangelical theology. They have lost their moorings and are like a lost ship in a sea, wailing through a muddy mixtures of doctrines. The traditional and orthodox evangelical theology of Luther, Calvin, Jonathan Edwards, Wesley, Whitefield, and Spurgeon were anchored in the authority of the bible. They did not compromise on scriptural truths. Emergent, however, is dancing around with relativism in a secular humanistic post-modern culture. They may have started out from counter-cultural evangelicalism, but they have lost their effectiveness as salt and light in the world. Their liberal theology has resulted out of a fear that the power of the cross is insufficient. They feel they have to add to it in order to make it more acceptable. It weakens the proclamation of the gospel and will ultimately compromise God’s mission on earth and God’s mission to the post-modern generation. Does anyone have the authority to make the gospel of Christ more acceptable to anyone? Isn’t it the Holy Spirit who convicts one of sin and draws a person to Christ? The good news of Jesus does not need any help from humans. Any human work added to the good news is no longer gospel, rather, it becomes a human work and no longer the work of God.

2 thoughts on “Emerging movement’s problem

  1. This is very well said. I would be hesitant to lump Robert Webber in with the rest because he did remain orthodox (he being dead is now perfected in his theology but is no longer writing for our edification in this world!) His latest and last work Divine Embrace stressed the exclusivity of the gospel while being respectful of others (but not pointing them back to Buddhism!)

    Again, excellent critique of what is shaping up as very problematic, self indulgent, and actually non-missional movement because if you don’t have the Gospel, your mission isn’t Christ’s


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