I have had a number of conversations with evangelical friends who ask me what the “emerging church” is, and whether I approve or disapprove of it. I always struggle to explain it in a way that properly highlights both the things that evangelicals will find attractive about the movement (or as its proponents like to call it, “the emergining conversation”), as well as explaining its points of conflict and critique of contemporary evangelicalism. So I have decided to put together some of my thoughts into a series of blog entries, going through some emerging distinctives one by one, hopefully explaining them in a way that old-school evangelicals can understand. I am by no means an expert on it, so I will also be including various links to sites where you can find out in a bit more detail what all the fuss is all about.
So lets start with a list of blogs I subscribe to whose authors may be considered in some way part of the emerging “conversation”:
- Mark Driscoll is often listed as being “emerging”, although he doesn’t really seem to fit in with most other emerging types, as he is staunchly reformed doctrinally. However, he is passionate about being culturally relevant in a postmodern context, which is probably why he is still called “emerging”.
- Scot McKnight is a biblical scolar who seems to be quite favourable towards the emerging movement, whilst at the same time giving some balanced critique.
- Michael Spencer (aka The Internet Monk), is now describing himself as “post-evangelical”, and is generally positive about the emerging movement, while retaining an appreciation for evangelicals such as John Piper.
- Billy Kennedy is pastor of Community Church, a large charismatic house church in Southampton where I live. Whilst not strictly an “emerging” church, it seems to me that he is certainly taking the church in that direction. Another local pastor is Matt Hyam of Southampton Vineyard, another local church which seems to me to have changed direction significantly in an emerging direction. I have a lot of friends at both these churches, although I rarely find the time to visit their churches.
- I suppose I should also mention Tall Skinny Kiwi, who appears to be required reading for all emerging bloggers. I’m not a regular reader though.