Go check out a primer on Five Perspectives on the Emerging Church from David Fairchild. David attends the National Pastors Conference and each contributor (Karen Ward, John Burke, Doug Pagitt and Mark Driscoll) of “Listening to the Beliefs of Emerging Churches” was present except Dan Kimball. They had those attending break up into 4 different groups of 8 people and then had each speaker sit in the groups to answer questions. David gets to ask each person about their beliefs. Here is a quote regarding Karen Ward:
Our second guest was Karen Ward from Church of the Apostles. This was an interesting exercise in nailing Jell-O to the wall. Part of what concerns me about this new form of liberalism is its purposeful vagueness as if it is to be commended that we obfuscate rather than clarify our words and ideas. The disdain for definition is felt immediately when I began to ask questions about what acts as her underlying belief or presupposition for theology or ministry. The word games and semantic shuffle makes you feel like your herding cats with a bubble blower. I realize this form of communication is considered avant garde in our pomo/post-pomo culture, but this is nothing more than repackaged deconstructionism sprinkled with postmodern Christianese to be passed off as deeply intellectual thought.
This session ended with all four of the speakers sitting up front to field questions which were written down for them to answer. Low and behold my question was the first up- “What role does the cross-specifically the aspect of penal substitutionary atonement play in your ministry.” it saddens me that Karen and Doug gave your typical “cross as example” answer and left John and Mark having to explain the significance of the cross of Christ. John did this very politically correct and Mark basically said (and I’m paraphrasing) that if you don’t get the cross, you’re not a Christian. It is what sets Christianity apart from all other beliefs and faiths. Mark then gave a great explanation of the many aspects of the atonement and what Christ accomplished for us on our behalf.
Read the whole post: The Truncated Cross & Emerging Reductionism
For more on Listening to the Belief's of Emerging Churches, read what the authors say about their own chapters:
Dan Kimball who also links to the statements of faith from these author's churches
Mark Driscollwho links to a sample PDF of his own chapter.
Bob Hyatt's associate pastor wrote another review: Listening to "Listening To The Beliefs of Emerging Churches His take on Driscoll is a bit different:
While Driscoll is to the modern Calvinist/systematic theologians as Barak Obama is to the Democratic party (a young voice that older folks are putting a lot into) he doesn’t participate in the same way as the rest of the contributors….To put it crassly, Mark puts on a black and white striped shirt and spends a majority of the book blowing whistles on what he sees to be theological fouls. But it’s a little like having a referee at a poker game, its somewhat out of place. It doesn’t really work that well. He’s given himself the role of whistle blower on the emerging church.
Another TallSkinnyKiwi post Listening to the Beliefs of Emerging Churches. Part One. In it he writes:
Mark Driscoll (Biblicist Theology) is the elephant in the room, the crabby schoolteacher, and one continually wonders whether he is on the defensive to protect his own reputation from participation in this book project or if he considers it his ministry to bring the others back to Calvin. Or, as a pastor, he is worried about his flock going into spaces where there be dragons. Maybe all of those. Reformed folk will be cheering him on as he chastises the others for treating theology as if dynamic rather than static. But his comments open up so many questions that the book almost needs a place for the other authors to respond to Driscoll's comments on them…
Doug Pagitt (Embodied Theology) is brilliant. I have said this before but The Pagitt has not been able to display it in such a way as to prove I am right.
Karen Ward (Communal Theology) also does exceedingly well, perhaps better than anyone.
John Burke (Incarnational Theology) offers a gateway for those feeling stifled in the World of WillowBack and are pilgrimaging forward into emergent territory, but he also speaks out for global issues (also my role in conversations like these) and the good news for new age and neo-paganism.
So the debate continues, I'm sure many will have different view points based on their theological convictions and where/what they see the church to be. Can you be reformed and emerging?
I had a discussion with a few guys from Kaleo Church about what makes a church 'emerging'. My assumption is that there is an emerging in the 'form' (styles, place, methods) and others in the 'substance' (theology, beliefs). So are churches like Kaleo (and Mars Hill or other Acts 29 churches) truly emerging? One person suggested that at the very center of the emerging movement is an undefinable quality that is part of the definition. I guess this means you can be an emerging church if you want to be.