The UK based magazine... which has been on a long journey from Buzz to what it is today!... has a couple of articles (inc it's cover story) on "The Emerging Church" in it's April Issue - an interview with Brian McLaren and a piece by Scott McKnight... the McLaren interview is disappointing as it focusses primarily on asking him to respond to others criticisms/views on him (including 2 questions on Abortion!?) rather than giving him space to talk about what is energising him right now... the final question (Do you think the church of the west is closer or further away from authentic Christianity compared to previous times over the past 2,000 years?) is interesting and on it's own would have made a far more interesting article!
McKnight's article suffers from trying to say it all, to be Emerging Church 101, but to be fair he does it well. It's actually a condensed version of a lecture given at Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia. McKnight takes the 9) signs from Gibbs and Bolger's "Emerging Churches" and distills them into 5...
- Prophetic - challenging the status quo - calling the church to a more radical lifestyle of faith
- Post-modern - he makes a distinction between ministering to post-moderns, ministering with post-moderns and being post-moderns to be honest I find this a bit unhelpful, I don't see the to as he puts it "seeing post-moderns as trapped in moral relativism and epistemological bankruptcy out of which they must be rescued" as being "emerging"... I'm not sure how one can minister with or be post-modern without questioning the precepts of modern christianity?
- Praxis-orientated - McKnight does stress here that for emerging christians works are not the way to salvation but a direct (and necsessary) product of grace - what we are given we shall give, practising the "way of Jesus" as he (and Gibbs and Bolger) puts it. Are we truly reconciled with God if that reconciliation does not lead to lives of reconciliation!?
- Post-evangelical - for McKnight this is a matter of inclusivity vs exclusivity both in terms of hermeneutics (the suspicion of systematic theology, of consensus, of static theology) and in terms of soteriology (with differing views!)
- Political - left leaning, concerned with social justice, freedom etc.