Friday, October 06, 2006

Bock on the Emerging Church Movement

Darrell Bock has wrapped up his series on the E/emerging church movement/conversation.

In this summary post, he identifies what he perceives to be the strengths and weaknesses of the movement.

Clear Strengths
  1. There is a problem with modernity in its spirit of freedom and quest for human autonomy. This is a cultural value that needs to be challenged.
  2. There is a problem with modernity in its dominance of the consumer culture and the way it can lead to compromise of values of the faith.
  3. A problem with modernity is that efficiency and technology can depersonalize or overwhelm life (leading to the [over]saturated self).

Strengths That Are Positive But Need Qualficiation in How They Are Applied
  1. Interpretation is never totally objective (we all read from a place and perspective).
  2. Communities matter.
  3. Differing perspectives can teach.
  4. Interpretations need testing (ghere is an appropriate plea for a proper humility).
  5. Pushing for authenticity is of solid value.
  6. Recognizing one's social location is an important factor to appreciate in life (where we fit in the world and how that helps and blinds us).
  7. Their effort to evangelizing outsiders is stronger (esp. those on the fringe).
  8. There is a valuable probing of links back to tradition.
  9. There is often better success with people on the edge because of the value of concentrating on this group.

Major Concerns
  1. The analysis of modernism oversimplifies and characterizes the period to a degree (which is more diverse in expression than suggested by the absolutist contrasts of much of the presentations and that shares the concerns and values that many E/E churches are concerned about).
  2. There is a seeming devaluation of confessional expressions of Christianity and the content elements of the faith.
  3. There is too much either/or thinking (or better) rhetoric when both/and modes and relative emphases are really the point (leaders when pressed acknowledge these are not as either/or as their rhetoric.)
  4. There is a tendency to avoid discussion of hell and judgment (i.e., to confront on sin) or accountability to God as His creature.
  5. There is a tendency to equivocate on moral issues (like homosexuality).
  6. There is a tendency to underplay or underestimate the nature and role of Scripture in the face of problematic factors in reading it.