So what kind of church do you go to? Are you a Christian...a Bible believing Christian (as opposed to a ...)? We love wearing labels in a sense of self assurance and identity (I'm in...even if in means the rebellious out) and we love placing these labels on others as a sense of security (deciding whose in and whose not). Phyllis Tickle in her book Emergence Christianity published in 2012 now reveals that there is a fork in the emergence tree. Before those who sought to break away from stale institutional forms of church in their theology and ecclesiology motivated by a sense of mission and incarnational gospel would label themselves 'progressive' or 'emergence/emerging/emergent' or 'fresh expressions/pioneer'(the latter now being associated more with institutional churches like Methodist and Anglican). This general tree has now developed a spilt.
Lecturing in 2011 on hermeneutics and 'postmodern' responses to this in church forms, students studied the emerging church associated with Brian McLaren, Rob Bell and others. As I researched material for the students to use in their critique I came across a scathing clip by Mark Discoll on the matter: CLICK HERE I was surprised at the names associated with each and suprised that Mark would be so disapproving of Brian and Rob. I was also fascinated at how he defined 4 streams within this emergence philosophy. Another exposition of the movement was by an insidious summary by Piper concerning Brian and others posted in 2010: CLICK HERE.
What a zoo and what wild animals!!!
Both Discoll and Piper refer to MacKnight (author of the Jesus Creed...a good book) as a former supporter of Brian who now no longer supports Brian and both make some really outrageous claims about people and the movement as a whole. Tickle helpfully sheds light on these matters in her book. Indeed after MacLarens 'A New Kind of Christianity', MacKnight produced an article 'Here I stand' as a critique of Brian and which now serves as the point and manifesto of the split in the branch (p.156). This resulted in Emergent church/Christianity associated with names such as MacLaren, Bell etc. and Emergence Christianity/Church associated with names like MacKnight and Driscoll (p.142-143). Tickle insinuates that this split in Protestant Evangelicalism considering the neat divide already mentioned has also given rise to a New Calvanism in the likes of Piper and Discoll (p.190).
"Whenever one speaks of anything,one speaks from a particular point of view. When one speaks of religion, one speaks from more than a point of view; one speaks from a lifetime investment in a canon or particular explication of truth" Tickle, p.208