Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Ed Stetzer on the Emerging Church

This article came out a few months ago, but I just read it today. In it he separates emerging church leaders into three categories:

Relevants - those who are simply trying to contextualize the gospel in their communities
The churches of the “relevants” are not filled with the angry white children of evangelical megachurches. They are, instead, intentionally reaching into their communities (which are different than where most Southern Baptists live) and proclaiming a faithful biblically-centered Gospel there.

Reconstructionists - Here he is referring to those who think the models that have worked for so long but now no longer work. They therefore are trying to get rid of structures that prohibit the gospel from spreading.
The reconstructionists think that the current form of church is frequently irrelevant and the structure is unhelpful. Therefore, we see an increase in models of church that reject certain organizational models, embracing what are often called “incarnational” or “house” models. They are responding to the fact that after decades of trying fresh ideas in innovative churches, North America is less churched, and those that are churched are less committed.

Revisionists - those who, in trying to contextualize the gospel, have moved away from the gospel.
Revisionists are questioning (and in some cases denying) issues like the nature of the substitutionary atonement, the reality of hell, the complementarian nature of gender, and the nature of the Gospel itself. The revisionist emerging church leaders should be treated, appreciated and read as we read mainline theologians -- they often have good descriptions, but their prescriptions fail to take into account the full teaching of the Word of God.

I think this article is very good for someone who is trying to understand why there is so much controversy over the Emerging Church. I'm just not sure if it is this cut and dry. That would be my only hesitation with it. For example, many would not lump the nature of the Gospel and complementarianism into the same "heresy" category. I know he was just giving examples.

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