Emerging Church Argument 2.0

Why settle for an emerging church argument when you can have an emerging church argument 2.0?

Adam Abu-Nab emailed me this morning to throw me a bone. Adam is helping to launch a new 2.0 app called aMap. It’s “designed to promote the art of arguing by mapping out complex arguments in a simple visual way across social media.”

I thought i would test it out with an argument on the emerging church since there is lots of juicy fodder out there to find disagreement on. Heres a good one to start:

I read on the blogs this week that Rutledge Etheridge will deliver three seminar lectures, entitled “The Church’s Identity Crisis: Sola Scriptura and The Emerging Church”. “While we should applaud and apply much of its content, we must also confront that it is moved along by an old philosophical wind which ever threatens to wrest Christ’s church from the foundation of her faith – the written Word of God,” says Etheridge, whose lectures next Saturday at RPTS are sponsored by the Reformation Society of Pittsburgh.

Picture 27-4

Etheridge claims the written Word of God is the foundation of the church’s faith. OK. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. Thats a lot better than some cooked up propositions by old bearded men with robes.

And apparently the emerging church believes something different. Fair enough. Lets take the prototypical emerging church claim [let me make a general sweeping statement here] that . . say . . the foundation for our faith is actually the Person of Jesus Christ, the second Person of the Trinity, the living eternal Word of God.

Again, just road-testing this software, not trying to start World War Three. I have typed in one or two supporting arguments on the emerging church side. If you want to help me, pick a side, any side, jump in, shoot me down, quote the Anabaptists, back me up, whatever, and lets see if we can successfully have a 2.0 discussion.

Technorati Tags: , , , ,


Andrew Jones launched his first internet space in 1997 and has been teaching on related issues for the past 20 years. He travels all the time but lives between Wellington, San Francisco and a hobbit home in Prague.


  • victoria says:

    Hmmm… I am not sure I really appreciate this software. I want more than what is offered but that is perhaps because I don’t know enough about emerging church. Yet I am infinitely curious and have a ton of questions. What I saw doesn’t adequately answer my questions.
    Is emergent church philosophy and reformed so radically different in concept or in execution and application?
    Like I said, I guess I know nothing. Can you recommend a book?

  • Dan Lowe says:

    This software takes a bit to figure out. Though I’m not a fan of sola Scriptura, necessarily, the argument you posted does help to shed light, not necessarily on emergent philosophy, but upon those who follow it. Thanks for this opportunity.

  • becky says:

    Victoria -there’s no “one” book obviously that can serve that purpose. A few suggestions here … A book that was very helpful for me in putting together the history was Phyllis Tickle’s The Great Emergence. Brian McLaren’s Generous Orthodoxy is used by many in the United States as their first introduction of this discussion. I found Eddie Gibbs and Ryan Bolger’s book on emerging church really helped me fill in many of the blanks. Ad I like Tom Sine’s book The New Conspirators as a very helpful guide.
    I have just started to dip my toe – I know Andrew has offered his list of suggested books in the past and maybe he can find one of those links.
    But the real learning me has come from reading blogs like Andrew and Jonny Baker’s and traveling to visit the practioners in the field.

  • andrew says:

    Hi Victoria – I have over 150 books on the emerging church that i am loaning out for those that want to read them. But really, none of them are adequate to capture the heart of God and the willingness of emerging church people to follow Jesus anywhere that is evident by their sacrificial lives. – Its best to go out and visit personally – meet the people involved and hear their stories. Then check out their stories with the Bible and church history. You might be surprised.

  • andrew says:

    as for the software – i cant seem to put all the arguments on one page and it is much easier to add arguments to mine, than it is to contradict.
    it would also be nice to have a smaller widget for the side column of my blog that allowed an updated argument to carry on.
    Hopefully they will integrate those features. i like the app. it looks good and the idea is great.
    thanks everyone for trying it out.

  • victoria says:

    Thanks Andrew and Becky for the insight and recommendations. I can appreciate that no one book, or even several books can adequately capture what emerging church is and the people that comprise it and their dedication.
    I guess I’m not too familiar with emerging church. What makes a church “emerging”? How to go about finding one.
    From what little I do know I appreciate emerging church philosophy and its place in culture. It makes sense on so many levels but I find that it is difficult to define.
    I’m happy to have discovered this blog as this is something of deep interest to me. I will check out the books you are loaning out. (thank you) as well as Becky’s suggestions.
    I’d love to meet and talk with others in regards to this and hear their stories. I am acutely interested in church history and I love to learn and understand.
    Thanks so much for all your suggestions!

  • Andrew Jones says:

    victoria – dont find an emerging church . . . START one instead and let us know how you get on.

  • relirel says:

    hi Andrew,
    thanks for the tip, this could be a great tool, but it’s hard to say what it will do yet, needs some time to grow i think.
    tried one myself:

  • becky says:

    Andrew’s advice is spot on – when I did my research for “Rising from the Ashes: Rethinking Church,” I found out that most of the folks doing the ministry in the US that rocked didn’t self identify with emergent church ™ but they were doing work that as definitely emerging in spirit. Find that which speaks to you – I’ve been inside plenty of churches that didn’t work for me (as an Anglican, I tend to go for liturgical versus evangelical forms of worship) but it was clear God was speaking to those people and they were responding. I’ve also been in other churches and other gatherings where it felt folks were worshipping the pastor/preacher/author/speaker.

  • victoria says:

    Andrew and Becky,
    Obviously I still know very little. Actually I see components of the emerging church in the church I already attend. though I wonder if I am the only one that slightly labels it that.
    But really, what are the tangible marks that makes a church emerging?

  • Andrew Jones says:

    victoria, this is how i answered that question in 2005. since then, there have been changes and some groups are still doing this but using different names, but its a good place to start.

  • victoria says:

    I’ve spent the last hour or so reading your blog, trying to figure out more of emerging church. I’ve definitely learned a lot but somehow have even more questions than before. (I’m an infinitely curious person and question most everything…. it is not a desirable trait)
    I just want to fully understand and am failing to do so.
    Thanks for the dialogue. It has been quite interesting.

  • J_mac says:

    Just read anything by Brian McLarren and you’ll find out what the emergent church is. It spits on scripture and ignores absolutes. It tells me that
    1.)I can do all things through….ME
    2.)Jesus was just an example…not a savior.
    3.)God is pleased with me. No need for repentence.
    4.)The Bible is neither inherent or historically accurate.
    5.)God needs me (i.e. the reversal of everyone has a God shaped whole to God has a man shaped hole) (this is utter silliness)
    6.)You can’t debate or criticize emergents as they cling to no truth, therefore, if you question “their system”, they attack as if you are a lesser human being for believing the scriptures instead of the Rob Bell’s and McLarrens with their crazy “philosophy turned theology” nonsense.

  • andrew says:

    Well, if you cant debate, as you say we cant, then how can i possibly talk to you about what we believe which is, btw, the opposite of what you have just said. puts us all in a hole, doesnt it?
    please come back when you have something sensible to say.

Leave a Reply