It’s kinda funny, I was thinking the other day about what I would say if someone said to me, “what’s your stance on the emerging church.” I thought I might make this a topic of one of my entries here…
Well, when I got back from vacation someone had e-mailed me that very question.
So, here is my response. Hopefully it makes sense and is fair to me, our community and everyone else (oh and just to be safe, this is not some kind of official statemtent from our church, its pretty much were i personally stand)…
Thanks for writing. Sorry it took me so long to get back to you, I’ve been on vacation for the holidays.
In regards to your question about the emerging church…here are my thoughts:
– We have friends in almost all circles of all different kinds of churches (from denominations like PCA, PCUSA and methodist to Calvary Chapels and independent bible churches and to churches that might label themselves emergent/emerging). As a church we do not belong to one denomination but really celebrate the diversity of all these denominations that claim the centrality of the scriptures and Jesus Christ.
– We do not call ourselves an “emerging church” but we appreciate and have friends who are leaders in this movement. We have spent good amounts of time with Brian McLaren and Tony Jones and, while we have different opinions about some areas of theology we are bound together by our love for the scriptures, the church and Jesus Christ.
– The “emerging church” is a very diverse and hard to define because in its very nature its basically a forum for conversation about how the people of God can truly be a church for the sake of the world (you might consider it a water-cooler for churches, pastors and lay people who desire to see the church be a redemptive force in our world) . Of course, in anything like this you have people who carry views on a huge spectrum so saying the “emerging church believes (fill in the blank)” is not really fair. (Oh, and don’t take the water cooler analogy too far, this does not mean that people just sit around and talk all day and never do anything. I would argue, while there is a lot of talking, there is a lot being done from these conversations as well. To me, this is the exciting thing about the conversation).
– Finally, if you are really interested in learning more about emergent and the emerging church i would strongly recommend that you pick up the book “Emerging Churches” by Eddie Gibbs and Ryan Bolger. This book is considered one of the most well researched and well-informed summaries that is out there. It’s not written from an “angle” so its rather fair.
Thanks for writing, one of the things that I think is VERY important when you are learning about something new is to be sure to get as much from the source as possible. I have found there is a LOT of “he said, she said” going on out there without actually trying to sit down and understand people, what they think and how they got to where they are.
With that said, you are more then welcome to come and visit our church (keeping in mind that we are not a representation of an official “emerging church” – primarily because those don’t really exist).
I hope this e-mail is helpful to your questions…
For the Sake of the world,
p.s. here are some websites that might be helpful:
www.thewellpa.com – this tells you more about our community
www.phillyemergent.com – this is a website for a group of people from philly who meet to talk, pray and act on how we can be the church in the philadelphia area.
What do you think?