The Emerging Church at CBE

The Christian Book Expo in Dallas a couple weeks back held a very interesting panel discussion on the subject of the Emerging Church.

Give it a view.

I’ve gotta be honest, I find Tony Jones to be more than a little pretentious. Jones’ opening statement really came across as nothing more than an extended resumé of how well read and learned he is, and how varied his writing is. Jones speaks very much as a philosopher. Very circular in his reasoning, but I do appreciate his attempts to honestly answer questions presented.

Scot McKnight honestly comes across as full of vitriol because he feels Kevin DeYoung is uncharitable in his critique of the popular Emergent movement. I did find McKnight’s statements about Brian McLaren interesting because they’re so contradictory. First he says, “Who says Brian is the poster-boy for Emergent?” Later he says, “We all know Brian is the poster-boy for Emergent, although he’s not happy about it.” Which is it? All in all, I understand that McKnight was trying to present more of a middle-ground in the Emerging/Emergent movement.

The Harris brothers asked good questions. They made a great and crucial point: Young evangelicals want to be both doctrinally sound and culturally engaged.

DeYoung made several great points about why he focused on the leaders he did in Why We’re Not Emergent, particularly that these are the folks DeYoung’s congregations are reading and being influenced by. As a pastor, he is absolutely right to be focusing on those gentlemen. Generally speaking, I felt DeYoung was getting beat up simply because Jones and McKnight are far… louder than anyone else on the panel. They consumed a lot of the discussion time, so I don’t know how balanced the discussion truly was.

HT: Kevin DeYoung

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  • Matthew

    I agree with your thinking. Scot McKnight didn’t seem to care to be there. Tony just got pissed off and quoted books he wrote, even when he was asked a specific question…which he refused to answer. The Harris brothers just wanted to have answers with questions…many were very valid.

    Kevin DeYoung was visibly frustrated and I can see why. I think I am even more confused about what the emerging church is now. If they are so proud of their beliefs, and their intellectual thinking (and reading) then why can’t they tell us what they believe instead of just getting mad.

    • Aaron

      This seems to be the problem with a movement that, as Tony said, “Doesn’t necessarily have common beliefs, but has a common ethos” (which is really just saying “we do have common beliefs, but we like to sound cool and hip by saying “ethos”). When your movement is essentially a theological free-for-all where some who are somewhat more Evangelically-minded and those who are so far off the beaten path that they might not actually be Christians at all can join together, it gets really convoluted really quickly.