I Think the iMonk is Correct

kinnon —  January 28, 2009 — 6 Comments

From here:

I believe the emerging church will largely vanish from the evangelical landscape, becoming part of the small segment of progressive mainline Protestants that remain true to the liberal vision. I expect to continue hearing emerging leaders, seeing emerging conferences and receiving emerging books. I don’t believe this movement, however, is going to have much influence at all within future evangelicalism. What we’ve seen this year with Tony Jones seems to me to be indicative of the direction of the emerging church.



A television editor, writer & director since 1978. A Christian since 1982. More than a little frustrated with the Church in the West since late in the last millennium.

6 responses to I Think the iMonk is Correct

  1. Heya Bill,

    The only problem I have with these sorts of broad categorisations and predictions is that they are broad categorisations and predictions. I don’t know what “movement” I am a part of, but there are many elements of the emerging church that I strongly identify with. Would I call myself emerging therefore? Well, no. Which is kinda appropriate because one of the labels of emergents is that they don’t like labels πŸ™‚

    Still, I think that to lump a whole batch of different people into one category and say that they are all going to head in this particular direction … it doesn’t make sense to me.

    I am so very guilty of criticising and judging different parts of the church that I don’t identify with (which is probably American evangelicalism, seeing I am an Australian … well, I don’t know what, but it’s not evangelical). And yet, I am getting so tired of this element of myself and of this element in others. What happens with just letting things be that we don’t understand, letting the eye be an eye if we’re a finger, etc etc etc. I was speaking to someone last night whose live and let live philosophy concerning the rest of the Church is something I hope to ascribe to when I grow up πŸ™‚ I think Father is up to SO MUCH behind the scenes in these times. So many people I know who are out on the backside of the desert (how many trite phrases I am using in this comment, LOL, but it’s 400 million degrees where I am today). There are so many people I just don’t understand, and I don’t want to categorise and judge and lower them just to build myself up because we are all as uncertain as each other about where the future is heading, seeing through dark mirrors, etc etc

    Anyway, sorry to vomit on your comments πŸ™‚

  2. I’m just feeling like stirring up some trouble, I guess. It’s probably the weather. (Though I do still agree with the MonkBrother – I think the Emerging Church as defined by TJ et al has “jumped the shark.”)

  3. Haha, stir away πŸ™‚ I’m too damn hot to get stirred up πŸ™‚

    I don’t really know anything about Tony Jones, so I couldn’t say πŸ™‚

  4. The emerging conversation will continue to stimulate and provoke for awhile yet, but it seems to me that it will be swallowed up in the larger internal contradictions of Christianity in Western culture.

    Personally, I’m sorry for the way that things have turned out, especially for Emergent Village. The early EV gatherings were such wonderful affairs for so many of us who were questioning, questing for something that we just weren’t finding in the evangelical megachurch environment of the late ’80s and ’90s. It’s not the only thing that developed out of that longing: Guder’s The Missional Church also came out in 1998 and sparked the missional movement that has attracted(sic!) so many of us. We’ve also seen the growth of the neoReformed movement with all of its different iterations: Kuyperian neoCalvinism up in Toronto, for example, or Doug Wilson’s classical approach in Idaho, and the Piper-Mohler connection that has sucked Driscoll into never-never-(let a woman in the pulpit)-land.

    Still, the emerging conversation feels less like it has dead ended and more like it has graduated from high school. Now everyone is heading off in their own directions, leaving behind the drama of our enforced interaction with one another. Driscoll hangs out with Piper these days, Pagitt is running for political office, McClaren seems to have transcended the conversation altogether to something I can’t even figure out yet. Tony Jones has stepped down from Emergent Village, which seems to be losing steam, while Dan Kimball and Scot McKnight are working on starting a network of their own that, it seems, seeks to avoid all the left-leaning theological speculation that has hammered EV. And Andy Jones… well God love him, I think Andy Jones may be the most stable member of the bunch (despite his ebullient review of Tickle’s The Great Emergence πŸ™‚ ).

    I hope that, years from now, we will be able to say that the emerging conversation was like a seedpod that burst and sent seeds in every direction to look for good ground. God willing, what has been healthy will take root and grow, while the rest will die off.

  5. Bill,

    Agreed. At the end of the day, the emerging movement will be pulled into the eddies of the existing currents of Christianity already dominating our scene: liberalism, Pentecostal/charismatic evangelicalism, and a growing reformed evangelicalism. What remains to be answered is what will happen to the present seeker-sensitive megachurch movement, which is unattached to any historical movement but is presently so dominant.

  6. Isn’t that the best kind of “movement,” though? The one that gets people talking — and acting — and then accepts its death? Puts itself out of work? Birth and death are natural parts of life, not least spiritual life. Just because EV folded or the emerging conversation wanes or whatever doesn’t mean the movement isn’t going to influence future evangelicalism.

    Plus, I must add that there are those out here practicing “emergent Christianity” who never joined EV, never put a logo on their blogs, never went to a conference, and avoided self-descriptions who ARE impacting the future landscape of faith in Christ. It is precisely their (perhaps “our”) willingness to throw off that which hinders (in this case, the personality cult that the EC turned into…) that is the reason for this.


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