A NEW WAVE OF CONFUSION
The Influence Of
The Emerging Church On British Christianity
This is an online version of a research paper written in 2010. It has been revised in 2016.
Out of deference to those individuals whose views have changed since 2009, much of the material relating to the British church has been omitted. Rather than spend time (which I don’t have) on a wholesale revision of this research paper, I have even left the title intact though it would be more accurate now to entitle it ‘The Influence of the Emerging Church Movement’.
The best quick introduction to the Emerging Church is to go to the Video Page (on the menu on the right) and click on those links.
Part I is an overview of the teaching of the Emerging Church.
Part II is a more detailed examination of what and how they write, their influence, and their take on church history.
Part III shows how the Emerging Church has become a major influence within British Christianity. (Mostly deleted in the 2016 revision)
Appendix One contains a detailed compilation of quotations from the people who are generally accepted as the leading figures in the movement, such as Brian McLaren, Tony Jones, Doug Pagitt, and Phyllis Tickle.
PLEASE NOTE THIS IMPORTANT COMMENT…
I make no criticism of the personality or integrity of the individuals mentioned in this paper. Many of them are spoken of highly by those who know them, even when they disagree with their teaching. I recognise that many of their motives, particularly in the area of social justice, are admirable. Every act of compassion towards those in need brings joy to God’s heart. My commentary concerns only what they, as recognised Christian leaders, are teaching as Christian doctrine and the implications of that teaching for the worldwide church.
The purpose of this paper is to
- outline the main features of the Emerging Church
- identify aspects of its doctrine which are clearly at variance with orthodox Christianity
- provide detailed quotations from its leaders which confirm this, and
- show the widespread penetration of emergent teaching within the British church and parachurch organisations.
‘Emerging’ and ‘Emergent’ can sometimes be used to distinguish different aspects of the movement. In this paper, the terms are used interchangeably.
The Emerging Church has been defined, most notably by Mark Driscoll in 2007, as consisting of a number of streams of different churchmanship. As non-liberals have increasingly chosen to distance themselves from it, the theologically liberal stream of the Emerging Church is all that remains that can be identified as a movement. In this paper, ‘Emerging Church’ or ‘Emerging Church movement’ (‘ECM’) are therefore used to describe what has otherwise been described as the liberal stream of the movement.
As author of this paper, I give permission only for portions of my commentary to be to be distributed electronically as long as that extract does not exceed ‘fair use’ as accepted in copyright law. This means, except for purposes of criticism, a maximum of 300 words. Please cite this website address as the source.
The authors I cite are the copyright holders of their own text. My use of their material is for the purposes of criticism and I deem it to be within the terms of fair use for criticism. I am making no financial gain from this paper.
 See Epilogue: ‘Mark Driscoll – Admirable Emergent’.