Anyway, it seems to be carving a new niche out on the Tent Circuit of preaching the old time religion with perhaps a few minor tweaks in the way the preaching or message gets delivered.
As a result, some in the emerging church believe it is necessary to deconstruct modern Christian dogma. One way this happens is by engaging in dialogue, rather than proclaiming a predigested message, believing that this leads people to Jesus through the Holy Spirit on their own terms… wikipedia “emergent church”One of the leading voices of this new emergent church movement is Brian McLaren, a popular lecture circuit figure and author of “A New Kind of Christian”.
The Emergent Mystique
But A New Kind of Christian has also attracted plenty of critics. The most persistent question they raise is whether "modern" and "postmodern" can be divided so cleanly. Wheaton College philosopher Mark Talbot points out that skepticism about values like objectivity, analysis, and control was already present in Enlightenment figures like David Hume. Meanwhile, Talbot says, "the great irony is that by giving us these sharp categories of 'modern' and 'postmodern' ways of thinking, McLaren is doing the very sort of categorization he describes, and implicitly condemns, as modern."I would have to say that the Emergent Church concept of a so-called Post Modern Christianity is a possible rebranding of the same old product. By saying that the Bible is a human document, it is not backing off from the unerring concept but rather trying to gather a few new ears who did not get poisoned by last year’s batch of snake oil on last years marketing circuit through Rubetown. Please forgive my cynicism.
The modern period of history, as Neo tells it, is coming to an end. We are entering "postmodernity," an as-yet ill-defined borderland in which central modern values like objectivity, analysis, and control will become less compelling. They are superseded by postmodern values like mystery and wonder. The controversial implication is that forms of Christianity that have thrived in modernity—including Dan's evangelicalism—are unlikely to survive the transition.
McLaren managed to connect abstruse concepts of intellectual and social history to a visceral sense of disillusionment among evangelical pastors. Dan's dissatisfaction with ministry, in McLaren's telling, was not primarily a faith problem, a psychological problem, or a sociological problem. It was a philosophical problem—the result of a way of thinking that was no longer adequate. Pastors who would have had a hard time seeing the relevance of postmodernism could suddenly envision it as the key to finding, as the book's jacket put it, "spiritual renewal for those who thought they had given up on church."
Emergent it would seem is slicker and more polished in words, approach and style. Instead of forcing a square peg (people) in a round hole (religion) – they are first trying to see how to help the individual needs first, to feel at home and stay in a new repackaged evangelical setting, before putting them to work at the work of the “new” church. That’s new?
Hardly a Holy Ghost Lite approach but judging from the failed methods of the past by pastors who did not like, got burned out, preaching the message and the sheep who did not like being constantly preached at, perhaps there is a middle ground for those who need the attention and fellowship of an established building and church.
I have to wonder at the old evangelicalism, which started with the so-called Jesus Movement of the seventies, seemed to me to be a reaction to the depiction of Jesus as human as in a Broadway play, Hit, and music of Jesus Christ Superstar.
It seemed to me from my point of view from memory, that almost as if when the reaction to Superstar happened, technology kicked in, small town radio and small town TV evangelism started growing and connecting together to the point of saturation and success.
Mega TV evangelism and mega churches were born over time and in some ways as a form of entertainment not unlike the former sports arenas they, the mega churches are sometimes housed in.
Which sort of reminds me of Fox News. Which came first, the news as entertainment or religion as entertainment? You answer that one.
Perhaps somehow that original product of the message of "Modern" Evangelicalism got lost in the shuffle of running deposits to the bank to pay the mortgages on these new Mega Churches and Mega Media Broadcast Centers.
In a way Modern Evangelicalism soon to be replaced by so-called Post-Modern beliefs is kinda like the old Arthur Godfrey Show never went off the air on CBS. The ratings are down but everyone loves Arthur (even though he is long dead). The young Turks so to speak like McLaren want to get that precious Godfrey time slot, to survive with a new updated version of entertainment now so obsolete and still on the air.
The problem may be that high definition TV (and a new show format) will probably improve the overall picture but not necessarily the quality of the product being sold.
I cannot judge what the ripple effect Post-Modern or Emergent comes to in common understanding or recognition as a real movement to be recognized within the umbrella of beliefs known as Christianity. The energy is there. It appears to be born of the human spirit and of the spirit within.