Saturday, June 06, 2009

After Emergent - the Post Emergent Church?

There's a lot of narcissism going on with Western Christianity. We are more into navel-gazing theology and self-centered systematics than ever before. We want the Church to be what we want and if we do not find the right shape to fit our individual soul, we'll make it into whatever pleases us or we'll go and start a new one.

Western Christianity is dying on the vine right now and we're scrambling to find the last great hope to make us relevant, effective, and heard. Elsewhere in the world, Christianity is thriving because people know that our faith is really about life and death, not lifestyle and dying traditions.

I've read some of what the Emergent classes are producing and it's mere piffle. It's the same old sixties stuff - the 1860s where Enlightenment and evolutionist enthusiasts tried to tell Victorian society that the Church was dying, soon to be dead and gone.

Wrong! Twenty years later, Revival took place, displacing those who were dead certain that the Church was certainly dead. Millions of people were led back to Christ using the tested and tried ways of testimony, witness, confession, contrition, and born again beliefs.

So, I'm looking forward to the up and coming Post Emergent Church. That's when we'll see real revival and a thirsting for the Word of God. Pluralism, progressivism, and pamperism will give way to prophecy, public testimony, and personal commitment to Christ as the True Savior and Only Lord that people everywhere need.

In the meantime, for those of you quaintly stuck in Emergentism, here's the Eagles singing one of their best songs: There's A New Kid in Town.


Glen said...

Amen and amen. As I continue my adjustment back to USA society and this peculiar form of Western (isolated and inbred) Christianity, I am amazed at the absolutely meaningless nature of the words that are being bandied about...and even worse, used as excuses to gather and waste God resources while a hungry and spiritually dry world awaits Good News.

Emergent, Presbymergent, Missional, etc. Nonsense. Those who can do and those who can't sit around a talk about it. Go out and make a difference. The Lord is Risen!

timfry said...

Stushie, you are correct in the sense that for believers the church (universal) will never die. I don't think there is a member of the emerging movement that would say otherwise.

Where we would diverge is the notion that the current church (institutional) is alive and kicking and just needs to be returned to once a bunch of young wipper snappers get older. I just don't see it happening. (Emerging movement will likely run out of steam but that is all the more reason for the church (institutional) to make the reforms necessary to carry the torch).

And a quick critique of your historic analogy to the 19th Century revivals. Your using the term "revival" and the revival/great awakening movements wrong. It was not a "revival" in the sense that we usually understand it - returning to something that had proceeded it. It was the birth of a new movement within the church (universal - can their be an American universal church...?). The movement in the later half of the 1800s was heavily influenced by the culture's experience with the Civil War (a great recent work of scholarship on this topic is The Republic of Suffering, which talks about the traumas the Civil War inflicted on the whole of American society including/especially faith).

Stushie said...

Thanks Glen & Tim for your comments. I appreciate you reading the blog and adding your thoughts.

Glen, your experiences in mission work could prove to be invaluable if we are ever to get over this obsession with ourselves and culture.

Tim, the 1880s saw a worldwide wasn't just limited to the US.

timfry said...

Thanks for your response! I will take your word for in the rest of the world. I studied US history much more than that of the rest of the world.

I still believe you are misrepresenting what the revivals did. Or said another way, the definition of revival that applies is: "A time of reawakened interest in religion." This fits for a time that bore the holiness and evangelical movement. NOT the definition "A restoration to use, acceptance, activity, or vigor after a period of obscurity or quiescence." The people of the second half of the 19th Century were creating new things.

Likewise, the church of the 21st Century is likely to look different than the 20th Century church. That doesn't mean one is wrong and the other is right. It means that over time, we respond differently and have to revive our calling to Christ.

Any way, I've taken up enough of your time. Thanks for allowing this place for an exchange of thoughts and views.