Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Emergent Church: RIP

Over at Mere Orthodoxy, Matthew Anderson has a good post on the death of the emergent church. He provides a link to this obituary, which is hilarious. The best bits are:
"She is survived by her parents, the Seeker Church, and Sojourners; her paternal grandmother, the former Deconstructionism, now Postmodernity; her maternal grandmother, French Nihilism and her paternal great-grandparents, the Social Gospel and Fundamentalism. . . . Her father, the child of California’s Jesus Movement lived primarily in the Chicago suburbs, while her mother lived in Washington, DC with boyfriend the Democratic Party. Her parents have since reconciled."
That last line especially just nails it! That is how the world is different because of the Emergent Church.

Mike Wittmer has a blog series going on Brian McLaren's new book A New Kind of Christianity here.

As Matthew points out, Jeremy Bouma has a good post on why he left emergent here.

Bill Kinnon has an initial reaction to Brian McLaren's new book here.

Brian McLaren, on his blog, suggests that anyone who does not like his new book is a fundamentalist. (Calling your opponents names is a whole lot easier than taking their critiques seriously.)

I'll be posting more on Brian McLaren's book. I figure I may as well order it; I don't see any way around having to read it. From the hints given by those who have already read it, however, it seems that we may finally have McLaren saying what he really believes instead of ducking and weaving so as to keep everyone off balance thus making a fair and clear critique difficult.


Tom said...

Back when Emergent was the thing that all the sexy, hip youngsters in my demograpic were into, I stated publically that in 4 years it would be dead. Oddly enough I'm a little surprised that my prediction turned out to be correct. Unlike the United Church, I don't think anyone will be going down with this ship, however.

Craig Carter said...

Actually, I think the Emergent types will divide and some will go back into the Evangelical churches from which they came and leave the loony theology behind.

But others will just assimilate into the liberal Protestant churches like the UCC and Episcopal Church USA. I can see them going down with the ship while using the decaying structures of the denomination to bolster their favorite leftist cause until they turn out the lights.

The interesting question that needs to be asked is if the Emergent Church phenomenon will leave any lasting trace of impact on Evangelicalism and I think it may. It has made the Evangelical Left seem trendy and hip and that may well be its legacy.

Anonymous said...

Most of the people I know who have gone through the Emergent thing aren't going to Evangelicalism or liberal Protestantism. They are going to Eastern Orthodoxy, first and foremost, then high church Anglicanism and Roman Catholicism.

Also, I can't help but point out that name calling and a refusal to take criticisms seriously seem like pretty regular features of this blog...

Craig Carter said...

Most NA Anglicanism (the ECUSA, ACC) is now liberal Protestantism. Brian McLaren clearly has an affinity for liberal Anglicanism. (He says that the TEC is well positioned for evangelism and he may be the only one on the planet to think so!) Those who go to EO and RC Churches must be leaving their liberal theology behind, unless they have their fingers crossed.

As for not taking criticism seriously, you are welcome to have at me any time and I'll respond. What I won't do is melt into a little puddle just because liberals don't like a conservative view and call me a fundamentalist.

Craig Carter said...

The real reason I have a problem with McLaren calling those who disagree with him "fundamentalists" is that it is factually incorrect. Pope Benedict XVI is not a fundamentalist and he disagrees with McLaren's doctrine of the human person. Same is true of confessional Protestants like Michael Horton or Robert Benne. Same is true of Reformed Anglicans like John Webster. Same is true of postliberals like George Hunsinger or EO theologians like David Bentley Hart. To stretch the definition of "fundamentalist" to fit all these people is to make most of the Church throughout Church history "fundamentalists" and to make the term pretty much useless as far as designating anything particular beyond "people who disagree with me."

Tom said...


That's my point. Emergent, the Seeker movement, et al, have treated the church like it's a consumer product and now that it doesn't seem to work the way it once did, they've shelved it and moved on. Wherever they are, it'll be interesting to see if they stick around.


Oddly enough a lot of refugees from the Emergent Village have migrated to Wittenberg and Geneva, at least I've met a number of them. I didn't see this happening.

I also find it interesting that you have the chutzpah to level these accusations at this blog. I don't comment at your blog over at your place because of the lashings you gave me a few times.

Peter Dunn said...

Tom: Take it easy. Poser is pretty delicate and he will retreat to the safety of his own blog where he can bash conservatives, explaining how he's been mistreated, in front of a friendly readership.