Response: Karen, John, Doug
Questions From The Rest of Us
So, What’s There To Talk About? And Do We Dare Listen?
“Emergent” has become a popular, albeit nebulous, term that many are using to describe a new way of incarnating the essential message of the Christian faith. To some it is synonymous with the methodology of church-growth movement in North America. To others, the adjective closely resembles the “missional” language coined by Darrell Guder and others in The Missional Church; A Vision for the Sending of the Church in North America. What exactly does “emergent” have to say that hasn’t already been said? Are these postmodern cohorts simply an amalgam of online forums, chatrooms and podcasts that refurbish the same theological content? And what, if anything, do the mainline denominations have to gain from paying attention to the passions represented in the recently released book, An Emergent Manifesto of Hope?
Whitworth University and the Presbytery of the Inland Northwest present a forum for discussion that will raise more questions that we can answer. An Emergent Mainline Dialogue will host the following speakers, who will consider the vital witness to Jesus Christ that is being made amid the cracks of the institutional church as we know it. Nuances abound. And we need to talk about them without feeling threatened. Moreover, our hunch is that mainliners may have things to teach that emerging generations still need to learn. As Philip said to Nathaniel regarding anything new that might be coming out of Nazareth, “Come and see!”
Tony Jones is the national coordinator of Emergent Village
(www.emergentvillage.com), and a doctoral fellow and senior research
fellow in practical theology at Princeton Theological Seminary. He is the
author of many books, including Postmodern Youth Ministry: Exploring Cultural Shift, Cultivating Authentic Community, Creating Holistic Connections and The Sacred Way: Spiritual Practices for Everyday Life, and he is a sought-after
speaker and consultant in the areas of emerging church, postmodernism, and spirituality.
Karen Ward is the abbess of the Church of the Apostles, Seattle (www.apostleschurch.org), a five-year-old emerging, intentional Christian community of the Episcopal Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
John R. Franke is professor of theology at Biblical Seminary in Hatfield, Penn. He holds a D.Phil. degree from the University of Oxford and is particularly interested in engaging postmodern thought and culture from the perspective of missional Christian faith in order to explore the opportunities and challenges presented for the witness and ministry of the gospel in the contemporary setting. He has spoken on the relationships between the gospel, theology, mission, and culture throughout the U.S. and around the world. He is actively involved in research and writing and, in addition to publishing numerous articles and reviews, he is the co-author of Beyond Foundationalism: Shaping Theology in a Postmodern Context (Westminster John Knox Press) and the author of The Character of Theology (Baker Academic) and Barth for Armchair Theologians (Westminster John Knox), as well as the editor of Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1-2 Samuel in the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture series (InterVarsity Press). His most recent book, Manifold Witness: The Plurality of Truth, is forthcoming from Abingdon Press. In addition, he serves as an appointed representative of Emergent Village to the Faith and Order Commission of the National Council of Churches and as co-chair of the Evangelical Theology Group of the American Academy of Religion.
Doug Pagitt (B.A. Bethel College, M.A. Bethel Seminary) is pastor of Solomon’s Porch, in Minneapolis. He is part of the leadership of Emergent: a Generative Friendship among Missional Christian Leaders. He is also the author of Preaching Re-Imagined, Church Re-Imagined, and BodyPrayer.