We are not talking about renewal. Renewal is a concept foreign to the emerging Church. Renewal implies that the Church was once what God intended it to be and that our task is to bring it back to that golden age.
— Larson, Osborne, The Emerging Church (1970), p11 …as quoted in Our Daily Blog for January 3, 2006.
Depends on which “emerging church” you’re talking about I guess. I certainly have at least somewhat of a notion that many things have gotten screwed up over the years – left out, hacked off, forgotten, etc. – and part of our job is to look back and see what somebody dropped and do something about picking it back up.
Not that the church has ever been “perfect” but certainly less degraded early on. This whole subject is, or course, pretty complicated. Suffice to say from my end, I wouuldn’t say that statement is altogether accurate. I’t not only that, but there is an element in the church that is emerging that is concerned with “renewal.” Peace.
Good observation, Alan. I was thinking about this too, wondering… I decided (not that it’s up to me!) that the church has been closer to what Jesus intended than it is today, but probably has never been quite right. I agree there are some concerned with renewal, but this is probably in the “regaining lost ground” sense rather than the “get back to what we should be” sense. i.e., renewal doesn’t complete the task. Renewal might be a good start then, but it isn’t enough.
I would agree with the last part of the quote that implies there was never a golden age, even if the first part may be overstated. In the church that is emerging, there are always exceptions, so broad sweeping general statements are bound to be taken issue with!
Gratia vobis et pax.
I think the term renewal is more about “spiritual” renewal. Meaning the emphasis of a person who pursues renewal is one who is attempting to get at the spiritual roots of the problem as opposed to program. The term as used has nothing to do with back to a golden age. The author is using an etymological error. The term isn’t used to refer to going back but having a persons humanity renewed from a place of fallenness to a place of new humanity in Jesus by the spirit.
That comment from the Emerging Church (1970) struck me as a little bizarre.
I’ve always seen “revival” as times when God visits His people, drawing them more closely to Himself, and at the same time, many people become followers of Jesus for the first time.
“Renewal” is more about the church getting back to its First Love, not back to some idealistic nostalgia for the good old days. Structural renewal is about getting rid of the crap that is preventing the Body from functioning in a healthy way. Personal renewal is about getting the crap out of our personal lives that prevents us from having a growing relationship with Jesus. Church renewal (different than structural renewal, which would come out of church renewal) is when the Body commits itself to being rightly related to the Head.
I wonder if their definition of “renewal” is a little narrow? If the emerging church is NOT about renewal, count me out.
I don’t prefer to talk about “renewal” or “reform.” It implies that whole business of an idealized (idolized?) past time when everything was just rosy, and that’s neither honest or correct. I also have no interest in reforming or reshaping stubborn and disobedient instititional church made of recalcitrant individuals. I’d much rather collaboratively learn and teach a lived eccesiology with those who have eyes to see and ears to hear, and some capacity for healthy self-criticism.
the problem with this view is Jesus does love his whole church “smells bells and all” – John Wimber
Ah, but just because Jesus loves somebody doesn’t mean they’re willing to live in a relationship with Him or me.