Southwestern on Emerging Church

Listening to a recent chapel series at Southwestern Seminary where they tackle emerging church.

The Grindstone – Ministry and Culture: a Discussion on the Emerging Church (Part 1)  [Listen] (Part 2)  [Listen]

The Grindstone – Christianity and Culture: emerging, emergent, or what? (Part 1)  [Listen] (Part 2)  [Listen]

My notes.

Good to see them tackle this subject. Contextualization is a relevant issue. EC embraces a radical simple ecclesiology. Impact on and heritage from seeker church considered.

Examining 3 types of EC – 1. reformed and cool (Calvinistic), 2. emerging church (evangelical) 3. emergent village (left of orthodoxy)

Dr Patterson said 4 good things about EC:southwestern baptist chapel

1. they bring attention to “barnacles” on traditional church

2. its about ordinary people

3. an attempt to jettison offensive church practises and musical “dirges”

4. concern for social justice

also, nothing wrong with a small church of 40. Someone else added that we should make sure we keep planting more.

EC in 90’s with leadership network had missiological and evangelistic beginnings which was attractive – but no longer – they moved away from it a long time ago. I disagree with this. There were some who jumped in later who never had a missional bent, but many of us are continuing on the same trajectory – not only this but we were inspired by Baptist missiologists and are adding to the Baptist knowledge bank.

Interested to hear that Patterson enjoys reading Foucault and Derrida.

Evaluation? “take one person at a time” YES – thanks for saying that.

Contextualization – ec reacting against seeker movement. ec caught up in subjectivism.

Example of Chuck Smith and Calvary Chapel. Good remarks from Newport guy – I like him! There is a conflict in eschatology – CC is really big on pre-mill/pre-trib and EC is suspect of it and the factors that surround it. But overseas, CC does partner with EC on occasions. Why does Calvary Chapel churches moving towards emerging church became the same as “going astray”. Thats weird. Maybe the Scriptures are informing them and they are doing better? Just a thought.

A conclusion that we just need to preach the word in our sermons seems a little naive. I am currently in a country (not saying what) where preaching stations and western style churches are being closed and its leaders sent home. If students are told that they need to rent a room and get people in to hear them preach a sermon, they might as well stay in Fort Worth.

is the doctrine of the Trinity really the central doctrine of our faith???? What verse is he referring to?

Demon possession? A theoretical question for these teachers. Limited to apostles? I dont think so. Do they teach these students to cast out demons? Jesus taught his disciples to do this. Seems a normal part of ministry training – should be a requirement for graduation.

Did he really say that we shouldn’t have cowboy churches? Because I know of some great cowboy churches in Texas. And surfer churches – I preached in one last year.

Final thought – its a pity that the treatment of the EC seems far removed from the Southern Baptist world. I didn’t hear any real life examples from Texas, or even from Southern Baptists anywhere (OK – Sally Morgenthaler gets a mention) but maybe they were discussing generalities rather than specifics. Still, there is a lot to learn from Texan models. Emerging church seems to refer to those heretics on the other side of the country. What about looking at denominational initiatives in new forms of church – a little closer to home.

Enough for now . . .

Related: Good to see GGBTS offer a degree in Missiology. A few years ago, Dallas did a good job on treating the EC


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.

1 Comment

  • Jim Martin says:

    Andrew–Thanks for the notes and comments. Very interesting. I am in Waco, Tx. and so am not far from Southwestern. I try to keep up with what goes on there.
    Your last paragraph says a lot. “It is a pity that the treatment of EC seems far removed from the Southern Baptist world.” I have experienced much the same dynamic within my own tribe. When we try to talk about movements/churches that are far from our own world, there is something distant or removed about the discussion.
    Anyway, good points.

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