I have been an observer of the emerging movement for a little while now. Emergent and emerging leaders have tried very hard to differentiate themselves from traditional evangelicals. They claim they are post-modern but so are today’s post-modern evangelicals. To claim that evangelicals are not post-modern and out of touch is incorrect. I think of myself as post-modern but it doesn’t mean that I have to think of myself as emerging. I also understand the challenges and limitations of evangelicalism but I’m not a fundamentalist, nor emerging. I like to learn about new understandings of theology, but my theology is still neo-conservative, not liberal, nor emerging. I try to be as relevant as I can be with the younger generations of young people, but I’m not an old stodgy type of evangelical and perhaps not really hip or cool either, but I’m not emerging. Evangelicals like me still see themselves as perhaps neo-evangelicals (if there’s such a word) but we’re not emerging. I do not believe emerging has a monopoly on the post-modern, and emerging is not the only movement that identifies itself with post-modernism.
With this spiritual and theological outlook, a person might try to classify evangelicals like me as emerging on the inside, but I do not. I can identify with much of emerging’s disappointments with evangelicalism but I can still identify myself with evangelicalism. My definition of being “evangelical” is wide and cannot be limited to strict fundamentalism. To say that evangelicalism and fundamentalism are synonymous is absolutely incorrect. Emerging became dissatisfied with evangelicalism because they saw the old stodgy fundamentalism and chose to reject it. Well here’s news for you: so did I, but I’m still evangelical. I think many evangelicals like myself have very similar outlook on church and theology but we do not have to identify ourselves as emerging.