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Current Events >> Emerging, Revolutionaries, Seekers, or Believers?

The emerging church is a modern issue concerned with the philosophical education of the current generation of youth and young adults. How important is the emerging church?


There is a moving trend within the "church" to discover methods to reach out to the new generations of unbelievers. The current movement is called the "emerging church." In very general terms, this is an outreach to the post-modern generation of unbelievers. The concept is very similar to the seeker services and seeker friendly churches of years gone by. The question becomes whether or not this is a dangerous situation for the church. For example, Ed Stetzer, a research team director and missiologist at the North American Mission Board of the SBC, writes about the good and bad parts of the movement in a short article on Crosswalk.com. Read the article here.). Hammett makes the point that "The church always faces the twin dangers of cultural captivity and cultural irrelevance. The emerging church charges evangelicalism as a whole with being captive to modern culture and irrelevant to postmodern culture. These charges are not without merit. However, the emerging church itself also runs the risk of being captive to culture, only to postmodern culture." This point is also found in the Stetzer article. Of greater importance to my mind is that the Church does not, as a whole, become motivated to worry about the emerging church or post-modernism. Both are critical issues, but not for all of us. Several years ago, our church assisted in planting a new church. Our youth pastor is the pastor and leader of this new church. What might be somewhat unique is that that plant occurred within roughly five miles of our present location, so it was easy for members to freely move from one location to another. The "safety" net for our church in this situation is found in the fact that each church has a unique personality -- that of its pastor. Not every one likes each pastor the same. Yes, there are other differences -- music emphasis, small groups versus Sunday school, and so on. These will attrack or dissuade many people. In the end, however, it is the pastors who attrack or dissuade would be members. There are many views on the issue of how to deal with post-modernism's influence upon the church. Some view it in terms of the emerging church. George Barna talks in terms of Revolutionaries. Some want to totally change the church, others,like seekers of the past, merely look for new ways of addressing a new generation of unbelievers. What I find interesting on the surface of these discussions, there is a lack of talk of the power of the Gospel. Paul writes "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek" (Romans 1:16 (KJV)). The gospel is the only power which draws people to God and salvation. It makes little difference whether the concern is with the emerging church, seekers, fundamentalists, evangelicals, or those in-between. God is the power. Men merely are the vessels through which the Gospel is declared to the people. It is true that the message needs to be modified for each individual, but this is no different than the differences of people's likes and dislikes of their pastors. We need to keep our eyes on the Gospel, not on philosophy. Issues such as the emerging church are important. The message needs to be modified for the audience, but we must be careful not to put too much of ourselves into the method. We need to seek God's guidance in approaching our individual audiences. We must be careful not to allow the entire church to become focused upon an issue such as the emerging church, for then the Gospel has no power, for there is no method of delivery. Jim A

Posted On: 2006-01-16 16:12:50 || Comments (0 ) || Add a Comment
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