We were having an open and frank discussion on the phenomenon of the emerging church on a Canadian Site recently. Here is my two cents worth, I would be glad to hear your comments on the subject.
Movements come and movements go. For me the key question is the origin of the movement. If the emergent church is something that springs fom the heart of God and helps to reach people who otherwise woiuld not be reached by the Gospel so be it. As to the need to be constantly repainting the old old story, I think there is a real need. Its often been quipped that the church is identified by Gothic architecture, roman dress and victorian music. I am a traditionalist at heart, and for me the traditions that matter need to be old enough. They need to go right back to the New Testament. We need to be doing the things the apostles did, like preaching the gospel, healing the sick and raising the dead.That having been said, while the message of the truth of the Gospel of peace and the gospel of Grace doesnt change, the context within which that is expressed constanly does. To borrow from Rob Bell, If Salvador Dali painted the ultimate picture, he could hold a press conference and announce to the world that every artist around the world could hang up their brushes, because he had done it, and there was no more reason to paint.I think that there are great advantages in not nailing down the emerging church to a creed just yet. I believe this to be three fold:
firstly because it demonstrates a humility among the participants to subjugate themselves to the process of what they believe God is doing.
Secondly because it follows on in the great tradtions of the reformers, who were no so crass as to believe that they had got it right and so beleived that their process was one of reforming, and would need to be revisited to realign itself with the scriptures.
Thirdly I think it is prudent because it sucks the life out of the process once the legalists get hold of it.