In other corners of the evangelical world, people are tripping over themselves to write the obituary for the “emergent/emerging” movement. From frequent triumphalistic declarations of victory on Pyromaniacs to a recent posting on World Magazine, everyone is taking a number to rehash the postmortem for the emergent movement.
I guess this is good news. Having vanquished the dragon “Emergentos”, we can all go back to our comfy churches and pretend nothing is wrong. At least until the next movement shows up and it inevitably will. The emergent solution was wrong on many counts but just because the solutions and conclusions were off base, it doesn’t negate the fact that many of the underlying problems that led to the rise of that movement are still there. You can approach the dissection of the emergent/emerging movement two ways. The first, and clearly the most popular, is to reject it out of hand. The second is to step back and ask if there might be some, just some, validity in the concerns it raised. Are none of the points raised by the emergents legitimate? Or are we merely content to pick out the most egregious examples of theological aberrations and ignore any possible real issues?
I fear that in the understandable reaction to emergent theology, many of the most orthodox among us have become even more cloistered and complacent about the church, as if the traditional church is the only bulwark against theological malfeasance. But what if the traditional church is actually the breeding ground?