Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I'm sort of emerging

Fellow Newfrontiers blogger Mark Heath has reflected on the influences shaping Newfrontiers at the moment in this post Newfrontiers Future Directions.

Mark lists, as he sees it, four key currents that are shaping our movement - church growth, reformissional, neo-pentecostal and emerging - with the strongest current being reformissional. I get an honourable mention under emerging, the weakest influence.

Mark writes,
"Emerging churches are passionate about the environment, social justice and the poor, and downplay the importance of many things that conservative evangelicals would consider central."
I'm mentioned because,
"It would be nice to think that we adopt some of the positive aspects of the emerging movement without needing to compromise theologically. I have written about how I think that can be done here. Phil Whittall is the best example I can think of as a newfrontiers pastor who has taken on board some of the emerging church concerns of the environment, living simply and social justice."
Which is interesting. If there are any NSCCers reading this, let me know what you think about this. Mark posted quite a bit on the emerging church as he was getting his head around it and listed six key areas, have a read.

I read authors like Shane Claiborne, Rob Bell, Brian McLaren and appreciate their works. I read bloggers like Andrew Jones and Christine Sine. Mark has me right I care deeply about the environment, social justice, simplicity, generosity and the church's response to consumerism. I think the church should have greater and better political engagement than it does.

I think if as a movement we can allow ourselves to be shaped by the best of all four currents we will continue to be focused on reaching the lost and building the kingdom, preaching the Word and keeping in step with the Spirit, caring for the poor and engaging with culture.


Blue, with a hint of amber on 17 February 2009 at 15:56 said...

I think that is a fair post by Mark and a fair suggestion about you.

By the way - I have lined you up for a preach here on the very subject.

I do think we need to have a look and take the best bits from all perspectives.

Mark Heath on 17 February 2009 at 18:14 said...

Hi Phil, glad you didn't take my pigeon-holing you the wrong way! Keep on provoking us with perspectives that don't come naturally to all of us.

We need plurality of perspective to keep us from stagnating. I doubt that any one person can be perfectly balanced, so its good to hear different emphases and nuances.

I liked your summarising sentence at the end.

Phil on 17 February 2009 at 19:39 said...

Thanks Dave and Mark. Pigeon hole away! Like I said, I'm not sure if I am 'emerging' or not but I do care about the issues you raised, so happy for those issues to be heard. Question that we should ask, is whether we see evidence of drawing from all 4 streams or not...I hope we do.

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