I have just read earlier today a response to the article I just posted about where Mark Driscoll gives some thoughtful definition to the Emerging church. Scott McNight at his Jesus Creed blog (Driscoll in Criswell Theological Review 2) has this to say in response:
Here are the opening thoughts:
Driscoll’s piece in the Criswell Theological Review, “A Pastoral Perspective on the Emergent Church,” offers a nice little sketch of ministry in the modernist era, the transition to the postmodernist era, and then the postmodernist era.
I do not see this debate with Driscoll as a modernist verses postmodernist thing. Really, it is more about theology. In other words, it is the very belief systems that are in conflict whether about salvation or the Bible and so forth.
Others have said this, but it is probably worth saying again: the emerging movement is not a theological movement, it is heavy in theological discussion and stimulation, but it is not defined by a specific theology. It is a conversation, and one in which lots of folks are asking questions that shake and rattle some things many would prefer not to ask. Having said this, I still understand the problem for many: if you define yourself by your theology, or define your faith by your theology, then a movement that does not have a theology whereby it can be defined can be frustrating.
Later in his post Scott McKnight shows his cards and solves the issue that indeed the issue IS theology.
EP Sanders is famous for saying that the problem (for Paul) with Judaism was that it was not Christianity. Let me play with this: the problem for Driscoll with the emerging movement is that it is not conservative, Reformed evangelicalism.
It is really good to hear in this conversation statements being made about what Emergent is NOT. That is helpful in cluing in agendas. Theology is really the core of how we view scripture. So, what can’t be said by McKnight really is what IS Emergent.
Not all evangelicals are in the Reformed camp, by the way (or at least completely). Some of us lean more to Dallas Willard and have holiness as our backgrounds. What I see is such a narrow view of Christianity.
I will conclude with this thought. Is the issue really modernist verses postmodernist? Or, are we actually in the throws of a theological divide?