Emerging, As I See It
It’s almost impossible to define the emerging church movement. In fact, many say it isn’t a movement; it’s just a conversation about what needs to change in the church. There is no official organization or leader(s). My impression so far is that of a lot of concerned people dissatisfied with the current methods of the church.
There are definite problems within the church. We not only live in a postmodern society where truth and structure are questioned; we also live in a post-Christian society where a growing percentage of people do not hold to Christian beliefs. They don’t know Christian terminology. They don’t identify with our methods. Many don’t even know who Jesus is. Because society has changed much more than the church’s approach to reaching them and because many in the church are just going through the motions of what they grew up doing as a child, church attendance has steadily declined.
We must converse about these problems and experiment with ways to overcome them. There will not be a pat formula. There never has been, but there are some basics that should be changed. We must focus on our relationship with God. That will make our worship and our witness genuine. We must love and welcome all people into our churches. We must be willing to listen to their differing ideas, but we must study the truths of the Bible as well. We cannot condone sin be it in the form of sexuality, profanity, idolatry, and the like, but the people we see Jesus condemning in the Bible are the Pharisees, which today would be those in the church. He used a much different approach with those outside the church. As we show them Jesus, over time non-believers will be changed by the power of the Holy Spirit, not our condemnation.
This is what I see as the desire of the emerging church in general. It’s a good thing, but as with any good thing, Satan will try to corrupt it. There are prominent figures in the emerging conversation who have crossed the line, become too accepting and too open minded. It’s one thing to not be sure which direction or method we need to take, but if you’re going to further the Kingdom of God, you’d better know what you believe, and some don’t seem to know that. However, there are many good things happening here. Let’s don’t let Satan derail us.