This conversation certainly deserves more attention than being a series of comments to this post. While it started as an impromptu interview with DJ Chuang about how he came to be more open to the notion of Emerging Church, subsequent comments have really been exploring polemically how emerging church is poor man's theology or whether it is a valid reaction to traditional church.
Billy Park opens the dialgoue with
"the following quote from Tim Challies after hearing Brian McLaren: “The faith of the emergents, the postmodern faith, is a faith that is devoid of boldness before God…It emphasizes the unknowability of God more than what God has revealed to us about Himself. The faith McLaren commends is a faith that always questions, always doubts. It seems that the only faith McLaren hates is the faith of a person who knows what he believes and is convicted by Scripture and by plain reason that what God has revealed is truth–true truth. As others have observed, the real enemy of the Emerging Church is conservative, biblical Protestantism. McLaren will commend anything or anybody, it seems, except those who have a faith built upon the truths revealed in the New Testament epistles” (click here for the whole post).
While I don't really consider myself an apologist of the Emerging Church conversation, per se (much like this fellow blogger), I did find myself trying to make points for it in our comments going back and forth, mostly because I think the notion of emerging church is not going away, especially in terms of its willingness to contextualize the Gospel to the culture. Take for example, Christian music record companies that push artists who don't have overt Christian packging in order to put their message to a greater audience, in the mold of U2 and Switchfoot. In essence, they are trying to promote, not "Christian bands," but rather, "bands-that-have-a-deeper-spiritual-message-that-is-derived-from-Christianity." Oddly enough, to the person for whom the path to church is not well-trodden, the latter sounds more palatable. Sure it sounds troubling to conservative Christians that artists like P.O.D., Bono, and John Coltrane may have more impact on the culture than the reformers and theologians, but I don't think it's going out on a limb to say that it would be a true statement. Christians are going to have sublimate the Gospel in order to be heard in corners of the culture where the Gospel is currently having little penetration at all, or getting very bad press with no Christians in sight.
In a recent Time article that featured Malcolm Gladwell (author of "The Tipping Point" and "Blink"), speaking about the future of evangelical Christianity, (check out the excerpts from this blog), it appears that Christians are already moving toward taking what is around them and "Christianizing" it. I think emerging church is part of the same deal, just not from the institutional level, but on an individual, coffee-shop conversational level. I don't have any beef with reformed theology, actually I'm quite a fan of it, but I do think that the emerging church, at least from what I've heard and seen, is a good thing, if for no other reason, than to keep us humble.