Monday, January 22, 2007

Five Streams of the Emerging Church

Scot McKnight, writing in Christianity Today describes Five Streams of the Emerging Church which flows into the emerging lake.

These streams ( 5 Ps) are
(1) prophetic rhethorics
(2) postmodernism
(3) praxis-oriented-how faith is lived out
(4) post-evangelical
(5) political

This can also be described as the 5 themes of the emerging movement. McKnight acknowledges that it is a movement.

To define a movement, we must, as a courtesy, let it say what it is. Eddie Gibbs and Ryan Bolger, in their book, Emerging Churches: Creating Christian Community in Postmodern Cultures (Baker Academic, 2005) define emerging in this way:

Emerging churches are communities that practice the way of Jesus within postmodern cultures. This definition encompasses nine practices. Emerging churches (1) identify with the life of Jesus, (2) transform the secular realm, and (3) live highly communal lives. Because of these three activities, they (4) welcome the stranger, (5) serve with generosity, (6) participate as producers, (7) create as created beings, (8) lead as a body, and (9) take part in spiritual activities.

This definition is both descriptive and analytical. D. A. Carson's Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church (Zondervan, 2005) is not alone in pointing to the problems in the emerging movement, and I shall point out a few myself in what follows. But as a description of the movement, Carson's book lacks firsthand awareness and suffers from an overly narrow focus—on Brian McLaren and postmodern epistemology.

In this article, McKnight did us a great service in categorising the emerging movement thus enabling us to have a better overview of the whole movement. He believes at "its core, the emerging movement is an attempt to fashion a new ecclesiology (doctrine of the church)".

I love his conclusion,

All in all, it is unlikely that the emerging movement will disappear anytime soon. If I were a prophet, I'd say that it will influence most of evangelicalism in its chastened epistemology (if it hasn't already), its emphasis on praxis, and its missional orientation. I see the emerging movement much like the Jesus and charismatic movements of the 1960s, which undoubtedly have found a place in the quilt called evangelicalism.
Scot McKnight also wrote Jesus Creed, a book worth reading.

soli deo gloria

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Blogger Sivin Kit said...

The original manuscript (pdf) in which the article is based on is even more juicy and meaty.

8:31 AM  
Blogger Alex Tang said...


I have heard that the original was delivered as a lecture and he was more harsh in his comments. Will definitely read your pdf file

9:47 PM  

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