There’s a growing number of folks posting online their conviction that the emerging church is just a fad.
I was going to post a few links as examples, but you can read more than anyone needs to by simpling Googling “emerging emergent church fad”.
Some go so far as to call it a movement (most of the folks involved simply call it a conversation) and lump it in with WWJD, Purpose-Driven, Promise-Keeping, 40 Days Of, and anything else you’ve ever heard of that has enjoyed a bit of success.
My problem with being so sure about that is the same one Gamaliel had.
About the church itself.
You remember Gamaliel, don’t you? Paul’s teacher? The fellow who, in Acts 5:29-41, stood up in (and to) the Sanhedrin when they wanted to put Peter and the other apostles to death.
But the examples he gave were well-known failures, not successes: defeated revolutionaries Theudas and Judas of Galilee. Gamaliel’s advice?
“Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.”
Even the Sanhedrin was wise enough to yield to that advice and let them be – even though they threatened pain of death if any of the apostles ever spoke in the name of Jesus again.
It seems to me that the people conversing in emerging terms aren’t saying that the old ways of presenting the Story don’t work anymore. They’re just saying they don’t work for everyone. They’re not trying to change the Story; just the way it’s told.
In fact, they sound to me a lot like Gamaliel’s student Paul, who said:
“Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.” — I Corinthians 9:19-23