Treading carefully because I have no desire to get caught up in (1) convention [SBC] politics, (2) new wave of evangelical practice politics, (3) politics that get in the way of Kingdom work and Kingdom growth, I still feel the need to do a little research. (Thanks goes out especially to my blushing bride who helps me find lots of things that are helpful.)

            To get to the point, I’d been hearing and reading the following terms for a short while: missional, emerging church, emergent. Using the powers of deduction that I learned over years of schooling, and my knowledge of the English language, I tried to develop definitions for these terms. I also have looked through the cyber universe to help with this research, mainly finding references to books and/or articles, but no satisfactory definitions.

            This search/dilemma came to a head not long ago when I was in attendance at the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention. At that meeting I was informed by virtue of a motion brought to the floor that the emerging/emergent church was a thing to be avoided at all costs, that it was in essence a spawn of the devil and that anyone connected to it (up to and including reading about it) was possessed of the devil. Perhaps my assessment of the motion is naïve and I myself am mistaken, but it still served to peak more interest in discovering what such a terrible movement is and why it is such a corruptible force as to direct workers in our (SBC) entities to have no contact with nor reference to said movement. In effect sticking our heads in the sand and refusing to allow thinking men and women the opportunity to read anything (books, journals, magazines or internet sites) that might so much as mention “emerging/emergent” and discover for themselves what it’s all about.

            So I found this article from Christianity Today. If you are interested in all the hoopla about emerging church and the movement (which seems to me an effort by some believers to be about the work of the Kingdom) you will find this concise article to be a great starting place. I know it gave me a good place from which to jump off.

            To summarize what I am finding out (the research goes on): the movement itself is not satanic, but instead is an effort on the part of many believers to truly be Christ followers who actually take Christ at His word about living life like Him. There are expressions of the movement (as in any movement) (btw, adherents prefer the term “conversation” to “movement”) which go beyond the bounds of even Scriptural demands and example. As to the motion brought to the SBC, I believe that there are some entrenched in the 1950s-style church life agenda who are threatened by anything that does not resemble said style. My response to this objection: What worked really well in the 1950s (or ‘60s or 70s for that matter) is failing to build the Kingdom. Instead it is suffocating the bride and body of Christ to a point near extinction. If something is causing people to embrace Christ, even if it doesn’t look like what I remember it to be, I should give it an opportunity to flourish.

            My advice to believers (especially ministers), don’t toss out the conversation as demonic before you give it a chance. Don’t buy in wholesale without assessing the direction of the movement in the form that is in front of you—if the foundation and goal are Christ, applaud (join if you dare), if either the foundation or the goal steers you anywhere aside from Christ, dismiss it as another flash in the pan (for that is what it is). Be Christ-like in your response whatever it may be.

Advertisements