To begin with, it would be helpful to place Emergents into their proper place in the timeline of history; the emerging church is a response by young Christians to modernism. Some sociologists have commented that we, in the late 20th century, have undergone a radical cultural shift; we call this new era Postmodernism. Young Christians who have developed during this era found that many churches were too culturally bound to modernistic values, and that those churches failed to deal with the moral, ethical and spiritual challenges of post-modernism. Therefore young post-modern Christians found little meaning in church and began to leave the church in rapid numbers. Although many denominations were concerned about this trend; they failed to truly initiate authentic change. The result was impacting to a remnant of Christians who stayed in church, thankfully; they understood the dilemma and began to develop churches which honored the traditions of their denominational history but framed it in a way that was palatable to post-moderns. As noted by one commentator on the subject. they changed their practices to relate to the new cultural situation. Emerging Christians began to challenge the modern church on issues such as: systematic theology, institutional structures, propositional teaching methods, a perceived preoccupation with buildings, a very loose understanding of mission, the gospel and ministry.
This has not come without effect; this pursuit has produced the sort of loose dogma that many readers of this blog are either rejecting or trying to understand. However, it must be noted that in every movement there have been those who pushed the boundaries of dogma, but that does not mean that these individuals within any movement who exist on the fringe represent the whole of the movement; they are simply part of the overarching cultural ideology. In fact, the majority of these young post-modern Christians are very balanced and have re-instituted a commitment toward traditional doctrinal values such as justification and sanctification. One key figure in this trend is Pastor Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church in Seattle WA, who began a movement he calls The Resurgence. This movement freely embraces a relaxed Calvinism, evangelical dogma and a balanced pentecostal experience.
Many within the Emerging movement are extremely committed to gospel living. They passionately embrace a missiology that is domestic and global. Both which compel them toward and incredibly committed authentic community. They are Bible centric, gospel believing and community centric; rest assured, we are in good hands.