The Emerging church movement (or the Emergent church movement) is described by its own proponents as “a growing generative friendship among missional Christian leaders seeking to love our world in the Spirit of Jesus Christ.” Instead of calling it a movement, those of the Emergent sentiment would rather call it a “conversation.” The leading voice for the emerging church movement is the Emergent Village, which began as a group of young Christian leaders gathered under the auspices of Leadership Network in the late 1990s and organized in 2001. In their own words, they began meeting because many were “disillusioned and disenfranchised by the conventional ecclesial institutions of the late 20th century.”According to D.A. Carson, the emerging church movement “arose as a protest against the institutional church, modernism and seeker-sensitive churches… It has encouraged evangelicals to take note of cultural trends and has emphasized authenticity among believers.” At its heart “lies the conviction that changes in the culture signal that a new church is emerging. Christian leaders must therefore adapt to this emerging church. Those who fail to do so are blind to the cultural accretions that hide the gospel behind forms of thought and modes of expression that no longer communicate with the new generation, the emerging generation.”

Sam Storms notes that it is a protest against the “failure of [evangelicals] to recognize the demise and passing of so-called ‘Modernism’ and the ascendancy of Postmodernism and the countless ways it affects both the larger culture and how we live as Christians and pursue ministry as the Church… It has an emphasis on narrative rather than propositions (‘tell me your story, don’t explain principles’).” Quoting D.A. Carson, Storms explains that there is an emphasis “on affections and feelings over against rational, linear thought; on experience over truth; on inclusion rather than exclusion; on the corporate over the individualistic, etc. Tolerance is the principal virtue, as nothing is more indicative of the mentality of modernism than telling someone they are wrong (either intellectually, doctrinally, or morally).”

Given the diversity of the movement, “penetrating criticisms that apply to one part of it are sometimes inappropriate to some other part,”. In other words, the Emerging Church (EC) is difficult to pin down. Carson, while writing his book, wrote that he had “not found it easy to portray it fairly,”. Mark Dever notes that, “By its very nature it doesn’t appreciate definition.”

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Emergent versus Traditional Seeker – David Wells, Desiring God 2006 National Conference

Five Streams of the Emerging Church – Scot McKnight, CT (19 Jan 2007)
Emerging Confusion – Charles Colson with Anne Morse, CT (1 Jun 2006)
Article: The Emerging Church – Don Carson (adapted from his Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church), July/August Vol. 14 No. 4 2005
Interview with Don Carson on the Emerging Church movement – Kim Lawton, Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly (8 Jul 2005)
DA Carson and the Emergent Movement (5 parts) – Scot McKnight, (16 Apr 2005)
Discussion on Reclaiming the Center: Confronting Evangelical Accommodation in Postmodern Times – Justin Taylor, Between Two Worlds (22 Feb 2005)
Definition of “Emerging Church” –