Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Wesley and the emergent church

I'm still trying to get a grasp on this slippery eel known as the emerging church. Sometimes I like it. Sometimes I'm against. Sometimes I think I'm already a part of it. Sometimes I have no idea what it is. Through Jay Voorhees' website, I came across a pretty thorough and thoughtful article called John Wesley and The Emergent Church by Hal Knight. He gives 7 characteristics of the emerging church and tells how he believes Wesleyanism is compatible with it. Here they are:
First, emerging churches understand discipleship as "following closely and emulating the person and ministry of Jesus."

Second, the emerging churches are pre-eminently missional.

Third, emerging churches are radically incarnational.

A fourth feature of emerging churches is that they are alternative communities.

Fifth, proclamation and teaching in emerging churches finds truth more in biblical narrative than a rational/propositional reading of scripture.

Another area of their enormous contribution to Wesleyanism is in worship, the sixth feature of emerging churches.

The last feature of emerging churches I will highlight is their generous orthodoxy.


gavin richardson said...

that is an excellent paper. i think the theology of the methodist church is very much in line with emergent thinkers, however, the structural/system pieces are not. probably why it sounds sooo good to frustrated um'ers.

sad we didn't do an organized bloggers thing. that would have been fun to catch up with actual faces

Jason Woolever said...

yeah, you are surely right about that. our structure is so strangely outmoded. mclaren said in a Q & A that if any of us were 45 or 50 or above, we ought to focus our energy on structural reform. he called all denominational structures colonial. but he said if we were just getting started he really thought we ought to just focus on doing all the good we can. i thought that was decent advice.

We'll definitely have to get the bloggers together next time. i don't know how i totally missed the umergent thing going on. i would have attended it but was just clueless.

greg hazelrig said...

Thanks for your post. I'm still trying to wrap my mind around what the Emerging / Emergent Church is. I think I like it, but wonder if I have any clue about it really.

I guess you could say that I'm clueless. :)

Jason Woolever said...

you know. maybe we're not supposed to get our head around it. it may be the idea that God is so big that we can't get our head around him. i asked Dan Kimball what his view of the categories of the emerging church/emergent etc. he said that his main contribution to the conversation was methodology. in other words, he's a part of it, with a pretty straight forward evangelical theology from what I can see, and he's happy to contribute to the conversation and be a part of the fellowship of younger pioneering Christians.