Initial Thoughts about Emerging Churches

I am currently about 4 chapters into “Emerging Churches” by Eddie Gibbs and Ryan K. Bolger.

Thought I would blog a few of my impressions so far:

1. So far I would agree with Andrew Jones’ recommendation on the back cover “Quite simply the best book yet on the emering church. What I am really enjoying is that Gibbs and Bolger have taken great efforts to let the voices of many of the EC practitioners speak for themselves. Whilst some of the comments I would not agree with but at least I feel I am getting a very clear idea about what people are saying and doing. Just for this fact alone this book has great value.

2. Increasing I am aware of how many of those involved in the EC (and Gibbs and Bolger exclude the likes of Driscoll and McManus) shy away from the idea of proclamation as central and vital in evangelism. Whilst I agree that much evangelical witness has needed a corrective to have a more-Kingdom inclusive gospel message which has space for social action and experience yet proclamation cannot be downplayed. We have been given a message to proclaim (1 Cor 1:18-21) and we have been given a Word to study and teach, whilst we seek to be more holistic we must never downplay the crucial role of proclamation.

3. I suspected this before but had now had it confirmed: the crucial influence of the theology of N.T. Wright upon many in the Emerging Church. I have realised that I need to get into his work again. Together with this has been a renewed emphasis on the Gospels and a downplaying of Paul, who had probably been over-emphasised in much modern theology.

4. A worrying mono-cultural emphasis in some movements (e.g. the club culture alternative worship in the UK) rather than a multi-cultural Ephesians 2 church/worship/community experience.

5. I completely resonate with many of the questions and frustrations felt by many of the voices within this book. As CS Lewis said “We read to know that we are not alone!” Reading this book has again made me realise “I am not alone!” Sadly some of the “answers” I feel are over-reactions and unhelpful writing off of the traditional church (which in my opinion is not wrong just different!) In fact some of the complaints I found over-statements and even at time caricatures of modern churches.
6. A big issue that will have to be “worked over” for emerging churches is that issue of the inspiration of Scripture. Some practitioners hold this doctrine rather loosely…

Am thoroughly enjoying reading this – stimulating, challenging, thougt-provoking and at times inspiring… more to come on this later

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~ by John on May 10, 2008.

2 Responses to “Initial Thoughts about Emerging Churches”

  1. Did I miss something? How is this about postmodernism?

  2. Sorry this post obviously assumed a familiarity with the Emerging Church movement, for whom one of the key questions is how do we do church as in a postmodern society/with postmodern people and/or as postmodern people. Very interesting discussion

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