In this final attempt to explain the identity of the Emerging Church Movement, I want to point to the work of Scot McKnight, the Karl A. Olsson Professor in Religious Studies at North Park University. McKnight is quite sympathetic to the emerging church paradigm, though he is not without his criticisms and reservations. Because he is neither a critic nor on the inside leadership, and because of his academic background and competence at analysis, his contribution has been quite helpful. (You can read his work and interaction at JesusCreed.org.)
Here are some of the headings from his recent writings on the church emergent:
What the Emerging Movement Is Post-
- The EM is by-and-large post-Evangelical—and also post-Liberal.
- The EM is post-doctrinal statements.
- The EM is post-partisanship.
- The EM is post-Bible study piety.
What the Emerging Movement Is Proclaiming
- The EM is pro-missional in thrust.
- The EM is pro-Jesus.
- The EM is pro-Church.
- The EM is pro-culture.
- The EM is pro-sensory worship.
What the Emerging Movement Is Protesting
- It protests too much tom-fakery in traditional churches.
- It denounces the divisions in the Church.
- It sees cock-sure certainty as a cancer.
- It refuses to separate action from articulation.
- It wants individualism absorbed into incorporation.
- Its mindset is against marketing the gospel.
- It despises the idea that Church is what takes place on Sunday Morning.
- It rejects the hierarchy and pyramid structure of many churches.
- The social gospel cannot be separated from the spiritual gospel.
- It wants to be worldly (in the Kingdom sense).