Sunday, December 16, 2007

What is the Emerging Church? (Part 3)

Part 1

Part 2

The previous two posts in this series dealt with D.A. Carson's characterizations of the Emerging Church movement as a protest against evangelicalism, and against modernism. (Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2005)

Today's post will look at the third and final protest characterization enumerated by Carson: Protest against the Seeker-Sensitive Movement.

[T]he emerging church leaders, like the seeker-sensitive leaders in their time, are motivated, in part, by a desire to teach people who do not seem to be attracted to traditional approaches and stances - and the seeker-sensitive movement is now old enough to be one of the "traditional" approaches. Pastors in the seeker-sensitive tradition, then, tend to see in the emerging church leaders a new generation of Christians doing the sort of thing that they themselves did a generation earlier.

Adherents to the tenets of the Emerging Church would decry the norms of the seeker-sensitive movement on several fronts. The relationships within the church could tend toward superficiality. The church services would be very one-way in their structure; the preacher preaches and the congregants listen, and there is no apparent conversation happening in the service. Personalities of both pastors and members would likely be branded as inauthentic.

Is there validity in some such criticisms of seeker-sensitive models? I would say yes. Would I agree with the corrective steps taken by emerging leaders to address these shortcomings in the seeker-sensitve model? Certainly not.

My next post will be a brief video documentary looking at one particular emerging congregation. You just might be surprised at what you see…


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