Adult Bible B.L.A.S.T Week Eight “The Church” cont. -12/03/17
- Missional Movement
Question: What do you know about the Missional Church?
In the Missional model there is always a sense of “sent-ness” (John 20:21) – bringing the good news to them, vice asking them to come and be part of us. It’s “go and tell” vice “come and see.”
According to author Brad Blocksom
- The ‘Attractional Model’ seems to always involve the marketing of the local church: “We’re a cool, fun group of people who love and support each other, so come be part of us! And look we have a cool church logo!” – the branding of the local church. It often plays out like this: “invite your friends to church, so I can preach an evangelistic sermon and they’ll get saved!”
- But shouldn’t I already be talking to my friends, in a relational, conversational setting, about Jesus and how following Him has transformed my life?
Question: What do you know about the Emergent Church Movement?
The twenty-first century has seen the birth of the emergent movement, a diverse group of individuals, mostly of the Evangelical movement, who seek to communicate to the postmodern world using postmodern ideas of Christianity.
Question: What is postmodernism?
- Postmodernism refers to a renewed attention to “the other,” “the marginalized.” So women, non-northern Europeans, gays, lesbians, and the poor all loom large in the postmodernist consciousness as groups who deserve the same kind of attention and acceptance as the wealthy, white, heterosexual men.
- This focus on the marginalized has led many postmodernists into a skepticism toward knowledge, truth, and reason. They question anyone who attempts to make truth absolute. They teach that at the base of almost every truth is a story, that privileges certain groups and marginalizes others.
Any claim to know truth or any attempt to commend truth to others is likely to be just a power play, they argue, an attempt to impose one’s own story in the guise of an absolute truth.
- In this way, postmodernism is relativistic.
- They advance consumer capitalism. Western consumers find themselves in a sea of options and choices. Everything is relativized in this setting. Everything is open to you as a consumer.
The emergent Church believes they need to adjust / adapt how they ‘do church’ to connect with that prevailing philosophy. So, to that end they ignore labels like: “conservative” and “liberal.” They see the movement as a “fluid conversation”. Let me explain this by an article written by John Piper.
‘Emerging’ and Emergent’. By John Piper
Emergent seems to be a reaction among younger believers primarily, 20- and 30-somethings to several things. In my judgment it’s not a very healthy reaction, though I can understand why it might happen.
- On one hand it seems to be a reaction against the large, plastic, mega-church phenomenon where relationships are not paramount. The emphasis on bigness, success, slick marketing, and super-duper high-powered worship services all feels very plastic, commercial, and not real, poetic, gutsy and down-to-earth. So there is a reaction against that.
- On the other hand it’s a reaction to formalized doctrinal statements. The emergent church tends to find creative ways of coming together, like sitting on sofas, using candles for lighting, painting the walls—strange and different things like that—because it’s fresh and new and it gives release to different peoples’ expressions, and so on. And if you try to push them on what they believe they don’t like to tell you.
If you Google the emergent church you’ll find some emergent websites.
- You’ll notice that they don’t like statements of faith. They don’t like them because they say that they alienate people. They push people apart instead of relationally nurturing people to come together.
What concerns you most about the emergent church?
The single greatest concern for me is their attitude towards doctrine.
- Stylistic things are neither here nor there. They come and go: whether you meet in a home or meet in a church, sit in a circle or sit in rows, paint on the walls or not—they’re all just peripheral issues. They’re the wineskins, not the wine.
- The issue is their attitude towards truth. I’m deeply concerned about it, and I think that it will be the undoing of the emergent church as it has come to be. They don’t believe that truth itself is an objective propositional thing that has a yes and a no. Nothing is ever either/or, good or bad, right or wrong, ugly or beautiful. It’s all vague.
I’ve talked with some emergent types and tried to understand even their concept of truth, and you can’t get your hand around it. Here’s a typical kind of response.
- One person made an accusation that the emergent church’s view of doctrine is like trying to nail Jello to the wall. I mentioned that to one of them and his response to me was, “Why would you want to nail Jello to the wall?” That’s clever, right? Yes it is, but it shows that the Jello is there. You just don’t nail it to the wall. You eat jello. You cut it in cubes, etc. But you don’t nail it to the wall.
- So all of this “nailing to the wall” of theses—doctrines that you would subscribe to—they’re not at home with that kind of talk. They regard their position here as a virtue, I think, but I regard it as the undoing of their movement.
Now let me clarify one other thing. I said earlier that emergent and emerging aren’t necessarily the same.
Emerging might be used by some people—like Mark Driscoll—to describe a proper reaction that is taking place against some of the negative things going on in the church, but a reaction that doesn’t throw away the doctrines.
- So Mark is a very vigilantly biblical, reformed person when it comes to what we ought to believe. And he would want to stress that a big piece of that emerging church is not just its reaction to certain unreal things in middle class Christianity but also a very intentional mission orientation.
- The word “missional” is kind of the “in” word today. And a church that is missional tends to be a church where everything is thought about in terms of making an impact on people around the church who are not Christians. You design everything to think that way. And I think that is a good thing.
So be careful, when you’re talking emerging or emergent, to know which group you’re talking about.
- The Mark Driscoll “emerging” type would put a very high premium on biblical faithfulness, truth, doctrine and propositions.
- But the emergent types would not put premium on that, but would explicitly say on their websites that they regard that kind of emphasis as harmful.