Emergent Church

Here are a couple of articles which I recently published on the Emergent church.  The first is a more popular essay in the Torch, Cedarville University’s (my alma mater) magazine.  The whole magazine is well done, and my entry begins on p. 8.  Read it here:  http://www.cedarville.edu/departments/marketing/publicrelations/pdf/torch/torch_f2008.pdf

I also wrote a more scholarly treatment in Western Seminary’s Reformed Review, which you can access here: http://www.westernsem.edu/node/320.  I also proudly note that a former student, Brian McLaughlin, published an essay next to mine there.  Way to go, Brian!


8 responses to “Emergent Church”

  1. Pam Elmore

    Great preview… I’m looking forward to the book!

  2. Mike, your P.I. term is never going to catch on if even YOU don’t use it consistently! 😛

  3. Good stuff. Thanks for posting.

  4. Good overview of some of the emergent church’s weaknesses. Especially liked how you went back to Machen to compare yesterday’s liberalism with certain emergent writers.

    You have been very charitable towards the social ethics of the emergents, (more than I am) but I would have to say that on their part good intentions on behalf of the poor and oppressed are not enough either. Much of their social work that is being done also is a result of the optimistic anthropology that you alluded to. Many of the evangelical emergents have either developed a sacramental view of the poor, which believes that the poor are actually Jesus in disguise or more the liberal notion that it is all about their environment that keep the poor in their place. Either way, the sin nature is not accounted for and they end up with a romantic view of the poor which leads to responding to the poor by employing a version of behavior modification. An emergent surface view of sin, depravity, and evil will never get at the root causes of poverty. Without addressing complex structural systems of evil as well as the deep-seated sin within the hearts everyone, including the poor, the oppressed, and the oppressors, all of our efforts to make a dent in the battle against global hunger and poverty that the emergents are attempting to do amounts to be as Ballington Booth once said, like trying to “bail the ocean with a thimble.” That’s one of my soap boxes that I’ll eventually write about sometime…..

  5. I read the article in the Torch (or rather H. read it to me on a recent trip) and I thought it was a well written, dare I say “Fair and Balanced” look at the Emergent Church. I especially appreciated your willingness to distinguish between Emergent and Emerging. I look forward to reading the new book.

  6. mikewittmer


    Do you mean that I am using it inconsistently (in more than one way) or not enough? I am guessing the latter, and if son, the reason is that I can’t use the phrase until the book comes out, for who would know what I am talking about? Besides, I’m betting on your overuse of the phrase to carry the day!

    Hey, between you and me, if Obama wins today, does that mean the rapture is getting closer or further away?

  7. mikewittmer


    Great comment! I agree with your assessment. I often say that many Emergent do good deeds, but you rightly remind me that good deeds done for the wrong reason are not actually good–and even may not work that well either. Good point–from someone who is living out what Emergents say they want. Thanks for posting!

  8. Jonathan Shelley

    Interesting – I think the Torch did a much better job with the visuals for your article than Zondervan did with the book (no offense, Andy, I love the website). It really makes me wonder if Zondervan really put enough effort into DSB when a collegiate newsmagazine can produce something more visually stimulating than one of the largest publishing houses in America.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: