Before I attempt an evaluation of EC, one question begs to be answered: Why is EC so popular? All these blogs and websites give the impression that EC is taking over the world. Okay, that is alarmist, but it is clear that the movement is gaining momentum. Why is this?
...one reason why the movement has mushroomed so quickly is that it is bringing to focus a lot of hazy perceptions already widely circulating in the culture. It is articulating crisply and polemically what many pastors and others were already beginning to think, even though they did not enjoy—until the leaders of this movement came along—any champions who put their amorphous malaise into perspective.
So it is not surprising that many books and articles that do not identify themselves as part of the emerging church movement nevertheless share its core values and thus belong to it without the label.
If Carson is correct (and I think he is) then it is all the more urgent we begin to read and study EC if we are going to effectively shepherd the sheep God has entrusted to us.
Back in 1965, Martin Lloyd Jones preached this during a sermon on Romans 12 in which he identified those falling into error in his own generation:
So in the same lazy way they divide up the Scriptures in a manner that should never be done. Scripture, being the Word of God, is to be read right through, because, of course, it is a whole and we must neither detract from it nor add to it. You can detract from the Scripture by ignoring certain passages, or by saying, ‘This is all that matters in Scripture.’ Many people are teaching that at the present time. Some, for example, simply concentrate on our Lord’s moral teaching, as if the whole of the Bible were just the Sermon on the Mount. But there are others who say, ‘This has nothing to do with us now.’ So they start in certain epistles and just concentrate on bits of them, and that is equally wrong.
In many ways there is nothing new in Emergent. It is clear that McLaren and most Revisionists are heading the way of old liberalism, stressing the moral teachings of Jesus over the rest of the Scripture. His new book spends several chapters explaining the Sermon on the Mount in a way that makes the focus of the Christian life this world, not the next. Like in years gone by, EC is now widening their circle to exclude most evangelicals and include other religions. Talks and summits have been and will continue to take place and one expects the envelope to be pushed with each new round of meetings.
Some who began in the movement are in full reverse out; having come to see where the leading lights are going they are doing all they can to pull up and distance themselves from anything with the word emergent on it. Still others will hear of these things for the first time and think they are the best news since sliced bread.
It can be unfair to judge a movement now based on where you think it is going in the future, but the future is here for EC and makes those predictions more a reality than a guess.
In an old cathedral in
Two girls move through the center of the sanctuary -- one slowly, the other running to the cross where she is lifted up by the others and rotated slowly, then lowered to the floor. Both girls turn and invite the worshippers to come forward and receive the communion elements.
This is a safe place, a sanctuary for seekers who will not be "reached" or "got at." It is also a gallery for artists who deem their work too precious to be colonized into a preacher's sermon. It is a holy space, where the experience of God and each other is not preprogrammed but open to the mysterious interruptions of a God who still speaks.
This is what the English call alternative worship, or "alt.worship." Tonight at the Vaux, worship is curated (not led) by Andy Thornton. Next month someone else will be calling the people to hand over fresh art that reflects the ups and downs of the full human experience. This art will be displayed in a way that makes it possible for every participant to experience God at his or her own pace. The curator can plan that journey to a certain point, but there is an element of the mysterious the curator cannot control.
In a way, alt.worship is a return to a simple New Testament pattern of worship, where one offers a song and another a word. And it is a return to the Old Testament worship pattern of multimedia, multisensory worship.
Simplicity and complexity. Premodern and postmodern.
 Conversant, 13.
 Martin Lloyd-Jones, Romans: Volume 12 (
 A kind of, “I’ll take Jesus over Paul” theology with all sorts of disclaimers to say that is not really what they are doing. For instance: “We retained Jesus as Savior but promoted the apostle Paul (or someone else) to Lord and Teacher. (Even as Savior, though, we limited Jesus to saving us from hell, which explains why we have had comparatively little interest in his saving us from greed, gossip, prejudice, violence, isolation, carelessness about the poor or the planet, hurry, hatred, envy, anger, or pride.)” Orthodoxy, 86. Or in this example: McLaren asks a friend who has just repudiated his defense of the Gospel as being justification by grace through faith as found in places like Romans: “‘Well, then, what would you say the gospel is, if it’s not that?’ I was preparing myself for heresy, not for enlightenment, since I was quite confident in my quotations from Paul. ‘The
 There is actually much in Secret Message that I appreciate, but it is so mixed up with what I consider to be outright error, I would never recommend the book to anyone. It is funny. I have spent nearly 6 years of my preaching ministry in the Gospels, yet when I read it I find he sees a very different Jesus than I do. When I think really hard about this, I come to one of two conclusions: a) One of us is right, or b) Both of us are wrong. How can I know for sure which of those two options is correct? I am afraid my only recourse would be to think epistemologically!
 This event carries the following tag line on the author: “Andrew Jones, a native New Zealander, is a scout for emerging forms in the global church. He and his family are based in