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Emerging Church - Theological Position?

1 October, 2004 1:04 PM

I've had a few people email me in the past weeks asking me to describe 'Emerging/Emergent Church' theology - particularly on issues of how open-theistic we are. I've responded with a number of comments that can be summed up in these sorts of points:

- In my experience of EC it is very difficult to make general statements about theology because it tends to vary as much in these circles as it does in the wider church. Some communities could be described as being more open/liberal in their understanding on some issues, but others could be described as a little more fundamentalistic in their approach with of course there being plenty that would fall in between.

- In my experience in Melbourne EC circles most churches/individuals probably fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum - perhaps even erring on the side of conservative in their understanding of Scripture, God etc. Maybe this is just a Melbourne thing? Most in my experience are perhaps a little more radical/open when it comes to mission - but less so on their theological thinking.

- In my limited experience of interacting with people in Overseas contexts I would reflect that there seem to be different strands/accents of the EC in different regions. I suspect EC means something a little different to those in the UK to the US and then again different again in Australia and NZ, Asia etc. I'm not experienced enough to make any real statments on this - its just a suspicion. If anyone wants to buy me a round the world ticket I'd love to do some research into that! :-)

Interested in others thoughts and experiences on the theology of the Emerging Church

Comments

Page:

Darren, what kind of relationships, official or not, if any, do ECs tend to have with establishmentarian churches like Church of England, Uniting Church, Catholic, Orthodox etc?

Fabian » 1 October, 2004 2:14 PM

Hi Fabian,

good question. Again I'd answer that by saying that there is incredible diversity in this as well as theological positions.

For example LivingRoom is a Baptist missional community - we have a strong relationship with our denomination. I know of other groups here in Melbourne who have formal relationships with the Churches of Christ, CRC, Salvation Army, Anglicans etc. I even know one that has formal relationships with three different denominations!

I also know of groups that have no formal links to denominations but are loosely affiliated with one another. I'm yet to find too many of these types of communities that are in no way tied to any network or denomination - although I'm sure they exist too.

Again I'm talking out of a Melbourne context where there are some good established networks already.

Darren Rowse » 1 October, 2004 2:21 PM

I've found these kind of questions are incredibly difficult to answer for all the reasons you've stated.

the answers to most questions is: yes.

Somewhere in the emerging church whatever is being asked is true. There is a global sense of unity on the process of becoming something new in ecclesiology and in Christ, but a global sense of discontinutiy on what that looks like and how it works. EC is very pragmatic in some ways, if it works where you are -- do it that way there.

I think....

Randy » 2 October, 2004 2:03 AM

I ask the question from the point of view of someone raised as a Catholic, so from that background it is quite interesting and even alien to me to consider a form of Christianity that is so autonomous and self-sufficient as your communities seem to be, without any of those rigic, antiquated, dogmatic hierarchies that are the great feature of Roman Catholicism. Power to you.

Fabian » 2 October, 2004 5:09 PM

I have tried simply to explain what the EC is and seeks to do in my local area. As no one has ever heard of it, they listen for a moment and then get this 'knowing look' and say something like "Oh yeah, a home church, we did something like that once", while others are disappointed that we don't "go to church" anymore, maybe we'll come back one day.

I give up!

Garth » 7 October, 2004 11:16 PM

History is clear that if we fail to have a solid theological foundation upon which to build, the church will not endure. I admore much in the emerging church, but as it seeks to correct the flaws of the traditional church, it must be careful not to throw out the baby with the bath water.

Joe » 10 October, 2004 6:50 AM

On the theology of the emerging church there is one area where there must be agreement. I guess it isn't theology proper, but ecclessiology, albeit liturgy, and soteriology . There must be agreement among you all that salvation is a purely individual experience (that might be overstating it...correct me if I'm wrong), that worship is an individual experience, and that corporate (i.e. large church), formal worship is less disireable than the smaller, home setting. I imagine you all also have issues with pastors and what I would imagine you call "professional christians" (i.e. clergy). I'd like to hear your positions on these things. I would think that one could speak for all on this matter as the nature of your meetings presupposes a specific viewpoint on most of these issues. Thanks.

(p.s. please email responses as well as posting them, I might not find my way back to this site otherwise!)

Larson Hicks
larson1282@aol.com

Larson » 30 January, 2005 8:56 AM

On the theology of the emerging church there is one area where there must be agreement. I guess it isn't theology proper, but ecclessiology, albeit liturgy, and soteriology . There must be agreement among you all that salvation is a purely individual experience (that might be overstating it...correct me if I'm wrong), that worship is an individual experience, and that corporate (i.e. large church), formal worship is less disireable than the smaller, home setting. I imagine you all also have issues with pastors and what I would imagine you call "professional christians" (i.e. clergy). I'd like to hear your positions on these things. I would think that one could speak for all on this matter as the nature of your meetings presupposes a specific viewpoint on most of these issues. Thanks.

(p.s. please email responses as well as posting them, I might not find my way back to this site otherwise!)

Larson Hicks
larson1282@aol.com

Larson » 30 January, 2005 8:56 AM

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