Thursday, June 21, 2007

Emerging Church - A Lutheran Perspective

Scott Diekmann, a Lutheran Layman who wrote a critique of The Purpose Driven Life a while back, has also put forth another thoughtful piece, this time on the Emerging/Emergent Church movement. (Thanks for sharing, again!)

What follows is his summary of the full article:

If you're not all that familiar with the Emerging Church, or Emergent Church, I'd encourage you to read it. The Emerging Church seeks to witness to postmodern people in a way that will reach them more effectively, which is commendable. I give them credit for seeking to promote the Gospel message in ways that are culturally relevant. At the same time, however, they are sometimes corrupting the Gospel message while doing so. Most importantly, some of them have lost sight of justification by grace through faith, reject inspiration and inerrancy, and confuse Law and Gospel.

On the surface, the Emerging Church may not seem like it would have much of an "influence" on Lutherans, but the Emerging Church conversation has a broad appeal to those of a more postmodern worldview, and a broad appeal to the old Adam in us. Emerging Church authors such as Brian McLaren often write using the same religious terminology that you and I might use, but the definitions have been rewritten, giving an orthodox appearance to something that isn't.

Here is a synopsis of the article:

Part 1: An Overview, introduces modernism and postmodernism, and provides a brief description of the Emerging Church using their own words.

Part 2: The Bible, One Voice Among Many, describes the rejection of Biblical inspiration and inerrancy in favor of a derivation of "truth" through a cooperative effort of community, story, and Biblical "interpretation."

Part 3: The Experiential Road, relates how abandonment of Scriptural authority necessarily leads to an emphasis on experience.

Part 4: The Mystical Road, considers the Emerging Church's embrace of mysticism through such means as contemplative prayer.

Part 5: Redefining the Gospel?, delineates how the New Perspective on Paul has led to a rejection of justification by grace through faith.

Part 6: A Social Gospel?, emphasizes the Emerging Church's confusion of Law and Gospel, to "live in the way of Jesus."

Part 7: Sheep Without a Shepherd, points out the lack of certainty of many Emerging Church pastors, and their failure to preach the whole counsel of God.

Part 8: Final Thoughts, summarizes the previous parts and reiterates the true way to "live in the way of Jesus," through Word and Sacrament.

The article can be viewed or downloaded at


Dan @ Necessary Roughness said...

Pr. Chryst, thanks.

The Sound Ministry link at the bottom is broken.

Preachrboy said...


jWinters said...

Albeit I haven't read all of it yet, what I've seen so far is a pretty sound critique.

Thanks for sharing!