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Because post-modernism as movement is also dead as scientific realism emerged as a recent culture-shaping philosophical movement, the generation of Christians struggling to meet the challenges of post-modernism, instead of yelling at it hoping it would go way, are shifting as well to address a world asking different questions. While the effects of the emerging church movement will linger for some time we will begin to see books praising and attacking the movement go out of print. Follow Anthony on Twitter drantbradley.

The Emerging Church Movement—The New Face of Heresy

Skip to main content. Gibbs and Bolger provide a good summary of the short-lived movement: Emerging churches are not young adult services, Gen-X churches, churches-within-a-church, seeker churches, purpose-driven or new paradigm churches, fundamentalist churches, or even evangelical churches. Bell's notes read : Resurrection announces that God has not given up on the world. Because this world matters. This world that we call home. Dirt and blood and sweat and skin and light and water. This world that God is redeeming and restoring and renewing. Read more from this writer.

Maybe there is much more room for us, with mischievous smiles , to re-inhabit abandoned terms and revive forgotten traditions. In doing so we'll be able to own the shadow-sides of these traditions instead of becoming, to quote Ian Packer, "the newest hyper-protestant church of this-time-we-finally-got-it-right. So bring on the critiques of our different movements.

But let them primarily be embodied not just blogged.


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Let them help us remove the log from our own eyes before specks from others. Then it won't be so laughable when those who stand in the traditions that provided the spirituality of Apartheid want to have cheap shots at the emerging church movement s. Maybe I'm not just an evangelist Besides, that's a lot easier to say than "I'm the love child of Dorothy Day and Menno Simons, adopted by charismatics and fed by Eastern Orthodoxy.

Jarrod McKenna is seeking to live God's love in a world where business as usual is costing us the earth at the expense of the poor. He is a co-founder of the Peace Tree Community serving with the marginalised in one of the poorest of areas in his city, heads up Together for Humanity in Western Australia an inter-faith youth initiative working for the common good , and is the founder and creative director of Empowering Peacemakers EPYC , for which he has received an Australian peace award in his work for in empowering a generation of "eco-evangelists" and "peace prophets.

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Emerging Church: Weekly Summary — Center for Action and Contemplation

A bounded set would describe a group with clear "in" and "out" definitions of membership. The Christian church has largely organized itself as a bounded set, those who share the same beliefs and values are in the set and those who disagree are outside.

The centered set does not limit membership to pre-conceived boundaries. Instead a centered set is conditioned on a centered point. Membership is contingent on those who are moving toward that point. Elements moving toward a particular point are part of the set, but elements moving away from that point are not. As a centered-set Christian membership would be dependent on moving toward the central point of Jesus. Christians are then defined by their focus and movement toward Christ rather than a limited set of shared beliefs and values.

John Wimber utilized the centered set understanding of membership in his Vineyard Churches. The centered set theory of Christian Churches came largely from missional anthropologist Paul Hiebert.

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The centered set understanding of membership allows for a clear vision of the focal point, the ability to move toward that point without being tied down to smaller diversions, a sense of total egalitarianism with respect for differing opinions, and an authority moved from individual members to the existing center. The movement favors the sharing of experiences via testimonies, prayer, group recitation, sharing meals and other communal practices, which they believe are more personal and sincere than propositional presentations of the Gospel. Teachers in the emerging church tend to view the Bible and its stories through a lens which they believe finds significance and meaning for their community's social and personal stories rather than for the purpose of finding cross-cultural, propositional absolutes regarding salvation and conduct.

The emerging church claims they are creating a safe environment for those with opinions ordinarily rejected within modern conservative evangelicalism and fundamentalism. Non-critical, interfaith dialog is preferred over dogmatically-driven evangelism in the movement. The relationship between words and images has changed in contemporary culture.

In a post-foundational world, it is the power of the image that takes us to the text. The bible is no longer a principal source of morality, functioning as a rulebook. The gradualism of postmodernity has transformed the text into a guide, a source of spirituality, in which the power of the story as a moral reference point has superseded the didactic. Into this milieu the image speaks with power. Those in the movement do not engage in aggressive apologetics or confrontational evangelism in the traditional sense, preferring to encourage the freedom to discover truth through conversation and relationships with the Christian community.

The limits of interreligious conversation were tested in Emergent Village coordinator Tony Jones co-convened the first encounter of Emergent church and "Jewish emergent" leaders in a meeting co-hosted by Synagogue , a Jewish nonprofit group. While some Evangelicals emphasize eternal salvation , many in the emerging church emphasize the here and now. They believe that as God entered the world in human form, adherents enter individually and communally into the context around them and aim to transform that culture through local involvement. This holistic involvement may take many forms, including social activism, hospitality and acts of kindness.

This beneficent involvement in culture is part of what is called missional living. Drawing on research and models of contextual theology , Mobsby asserts that the emerging church is using different models of contextual theology than conservative evangelicals, who tend to use a "translation" model of contextual theology [56] which has been criticized for being colonialist and condescending toward other cultures ; the emerging church tends to use a "synthetic" or "transcendent" model of contextual theology.

Christian communities must learn to deal with the problems and possibilities posed by life in the "outside" world.


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  • But of more importance, any attempt on the part of the church to withdraw from the world would be in effect a denial of its mission. Many emerging churches have put a strong emphasis on contextualization and, therefore, contextual theology. Contextual theology has been defined as "A way of doing theology in which one takes into account: the spirit and message of the gospel; the tradition of the Christian people; the culture in which one is theologising; and social change in that culture.

    It is this "both Emerging communities participate in social action, community involvement, global justice and sacrificial hospitality in an effort to know and share God's grace. A mixture of emerging Churches, Fresh Expressions of Church and mission initiatives arising out of the charismatic traditions, have begun describing themselves as new monastic communities.

    They again draw on a combination of the Mystical Communion Model and Sacramental Models, with a core concern to engage with the question of how we should live. The most successful of these have experimented with a combination of churches centred on place and network, with intentional communities, cafes and centres to practice hospitality. Many also have a rhythm, or rule of life to express what it means to be Christian in a postmodern context. Proponents of the movement communicate and interact through fluid and open networks because the movement is decentralized with little institutional coordination.

    Because of the participation values named earlier, being community through participation affects the governance of most Emerging Churches. Participants avoid power relationships, attempting to gather in ways specific to their local context. In stressing the continual mercy of God and the continual need of the Church for repentance, the model picks up Protestant theology The biblical notion of Koinonia, This can involve everything from expressive, neocharismatic style of worship and the use of contemporary music and films to more ancient liturgical customs and eclectic expressions of spirituality, with the goal of making the church gathering reflect the local community's tastes.

    Emerging church practitioners are happy to take elements of worship from a wide variety of historic traditions, including traditions of the Catholic Church , the Anglican churches, the Orthodox churches, and Celtic Christianity. From these and other religious traditions emerging church groups take, adapt and blend various historic church practices including liturgy , prayer beads , icons , spiritual direction , the labyrinth , and lectio divina. The Emerging Church is also sometimes called the "Ancient-Future" church. This has been characterised as a major shift from religion to spirituality.

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    So, in the new world of 'spiritual tourism', the Emerging Church Movement is seeking to missionally assist people to shift from being spiritual tourists to Christian pilgrims. Many are drawing on ancient Christian resources recontextualised into the contemporary such as contemplation and contemplative forms of prayer, symbolic multi-sensory worship, story telling and many others.

    go Emerging-church groups use the Internet as a medium of decentralized communication. Church websites are used as announcement boards for community activity, and they are generally a hub for more participation based new technologies such as blogs, Facebook groups, Twitter accounts, etc. The use of the blog is an especially popular and appropriate means of communication within the Emerging church.