Emerging and Reformed?

by May 2, 2008

Our church is a strange creature, a mix of traits that normally don’t go together. Kind of like the marriage between Anna Nicole Smith and that pasty old white guy with the wheelchair and the respirator.

On one hand, we look a lot like an Emerging church. We emphasize relational ministry more than big, complicated programs and events. We revel in the paradoxes of Scripture, such as the fact that God is unchanging but our prayers initiate things that otherwise wouldn’t occur (James 4:2). And here’s the nail in the coffin: we even have candles in our services.

On the other hand, we sound a lot like an old Reformed church. We’re pretty sure about our sovereignty-of-God-centered theology, and we’re not afraid to ruffle a few feathers defending it. We think the things we do need to be informed by the things we believe, not the other way around. And we have an insanely high contingent of John Piper groupies.

With that kind of split personality, I was interested to see there are two new books out exploring both sides: The New Christians: Dispatches from the Emergent Frontier by Tony Jones, and Young, Restless, Reformed: A Journalist’s Journey with the New Calvinists by Collin Hansen. This week, Christianity Today’s website is hosting a conversation between the two authors. So far, along with some glaring differences, they’ve unearthed some similarities between the two movements that they weren’t expecting. Maybe our church isn’t as schizophrenic as I thought.

You can get in on the interaction here: Day 1 | Day 2