Seven suggestions for redeeming the emergent church
D.W. Congdon over at The Fire and the Rose has recently posted a very thoughtful and insightful critique of the “emergent church” movement.
He offers the following seven helpful suggestions for redeeming the emergent church movement:
1. Jettison the language of postmodernity. There is nothing helpful to be found there, and it only serves to create barriers where no barriers need or should exist.
2. Jettison the language of “incarnational ministry” or the church being the “hands and feet of Jesus.” All such language represents a superficial and erroneous christology, which in turn leads to an erroneous ecclesiology.
3. Reject all notions of relevancy, whether in christology or in ecclesiology or in any other area of Christian thought.
4. Similarly, stand under the judgment of God by standing under the judgment of Holy Scripture. Allow the witness of Scripture and life of Christ determine the proper shape of ecclesial existence. Remember that God is “wholly other” and calls us to “not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of [our] minds, so that [we] may discern what is the will of God” (Rom. 12:2).
5. Read and engage with the work of missional theologians such as David Bosch, Lamin Sanneh, Darrell Guder, Andrew Walls, Christopher J. H. Wright, and others. There are important resources here not only for rethinking central doctrines of the faith, but for rethinking how Christ and the church relate to culture.
6. In addition to missional theology, read Barthians and Anabaptists on the church, the former to articulate the relation between Christ and the church and the latter to articulate the relationship between the church and culture.
7. Pray for forgiveness for the way that the church in all times and places has compromised its witness to Jesus, desired to control and manipulate God, and sought to appease one’s cultural context rather than the Holy Spirit.