Update: Heres Scot McKnight's audio to download [thanks Gideon]. Scot speaks on why Don Carson's book failed to describe the emerging church, why emerging church is different than emergent, why Steve Chalke is not a part of the emerging church, and what the emerging church is all about . . . in their own words. Its a superb speech - maybe the best I have heard from an American. Well done, Scot!! I look forward to hearing Michael Horton also.
Original: Reformation Day is coming up (Tuesday 31st) and I am giving some thought to the Reformation - past and present. I was raised in a Presbyterian church in New Zealand and i owe my first hearing of the gospel to the Reformed folk. I still tap into a lot of Reformed thinking but find it helpful to step back and take an more objective look at the reformed influences in my thinking today.
A series on the emerging church will run all weekend at Westminster Theological Seminary and it might be worth keeping track of. Scot McKnight, blogger and professor at North Park University, spoke last night. A summary of his talk called "What Is the Emerging Church? & Misnomers Surrounding the Emerging Church" is on Sacred Journey. and Mark of FoolishSage has a LOT of notes [thanks mark]. Art has some good notes and Emerging Mistake? on Seeking Canaan is worth a read. Denise may post yet.
Scot wrote the excellent article "Future or Fad: A look at the Emerging Church Movement" (pdf), a document that I handed out to missions professionals and Foundation leaders a few months ago in Tennessee, along with the same book that Scot mentioned last night by Gibbs and Bolger called "Emerging Churches: Creating Christian Communities in Postmodern Cultures"
The Skinny? Read on.
I thought Scot's message was brilliant and superb and accurate. And Scot is right - the emerging church movement is NOT a theological movement. As for being too harsh on the Reformed, as someone suggested, I felt he might have been too soft and gentle. Many people in the emerging church conversation have brought sharp criticism against Reformed theology and historical blindspots but this didn't really come across, and the WTS folk still seem to sit in the judges seat concerning the emerging church rather than the defendants seat.
Maybe we should all just sit together on a couch????
As for my name being dragged into the conversation, (just a book recommendation, actually - not a brilliant theological discovery) I am actually quite honored. I have heard much of WTS over the years. When I studied at at WA Bible College in Australia, my church history professors were all Americans from WTS. Except one Aussie, also a Wessie Pressie who ran the Westminster book shop and was responsible for my impressive collection of Banner of Truth labels on my bookshelf. My church administration class was also taught by a Wessie Pressie (Westminster Presbyterian in Aussie-slang) and i am still puzzled as to how he was able to use the Bible to support a highly hierarchical, single-pastor model and to stress it with so much certainty. Nice guy, though.
Speaking of which, I will be preaching on Sunday at the local nursing home where many of the residents are not yet senile. I will be bringing my big black Bible, and NOT my projector and VJ software [digital storytelling in a nursing home is NEITHER contextual nor missional] but i will talking about the Scottish Covenanters and their message. I may even preach from some of the texts that James Renwick used before his death as the last of those who died violently for their beliefs.
More to come.