You see, if you read my blog as someone who is part of The Journey or someone who is starting to journey back toward Jesus/Church then I want to let you in on a reality happening right now in the American church. A movement away from the traditional style church was launched 20+ years ago. Churches started to reevaluate their effectiveness and ability to reach their communities for Christ. This shift led to changes in style of music, buildings, sermons, and outreach endeavors. This style of church has since become traditional in many ways as well, but there has been another movement. The "emerging" church has become a movement of people who have reinvestigated the entire thing again and are implementing changes once again. Within the emerging church are 3 very different camps.
1. The Relevants - this group is doctrinally and theologically orthodox and seek to find ways to make the message of Christ more relevant for a secular world and society, while seeking to serve the mission of Jesus both personally and communally.
2. The Reconstructionist - this group is usually doctrinally and theologically orthodox, but they spend most of their time critiquing methods and styles. Though they are sound theologically, sometimes they are light on sharing the message because they use most of their time criticizing other churches or camps. Preaching is replaced with conversations. Coffee houses replace buildings or other more traditional gathering spaces. These are not bad changes, though they are often treated as important as the message and ignore that they are simply their chosen methods. This group is often so critical of traditional churches, but can't seem to understand why those traditional churches won't engage in dialogue with them or partner with them in joint endeavors to advance the Kingdom.
3. The Revisionist - this group is not theologically and doctrinally sound. In fact, because of the secularization of our society they have been transformed with it. Methods and Message both have undergone major changes. Core tenants of the Christian faith have been tossed aside as outdated and irrelevant in a 21st century postmodern America. Because of doctrinal wariness this group has often been categorized as the Emergent Church, as opposed to the "emerging" church.
I self-identify in the Relevants camp, if I'm forced to be in one. I don't have a problem with Reconstructionist, but they are often highly critical of anyone not them that they are hard to engage with sometimes. The Revisionist in my opinion is not truly a church. For the church of Jesus is committed to the teaching of sound, biblical doctrine. See any of Paul's letters.
Why do I bring all this up? I'm just so frustrated when I look across the landscape of the church in America and see not only a decline in effectiveness, but fighting between the different camps. Instead of clinging to the message that unites us, we are divided by methods designed by us. I wonder if we really believe Jesus when he said the world would know we are his disciples by our love for one another. If we did believe it, would some of this change?
I'd love to hear your thoughts...