After reading my post on the possible demise of the emerging church movement (see here) our most famous biblioblogger, Jim West, gleefully declared her death was not a moment too soon (read here). On the other hand, Drew Tatusko responded by writing that those of us who think the end is near have made such declarations much too soon (read here).
In a similar vein, Tony Jones has responded (read here) to Andrew Jones’ declaration that the end may be near (read here) by basically arguing that it may be as alive as ever. Andrew Jones has promised to respond (see here). So it appears that we are now arguing over the possible demise or rise of the emergent church.
In all reality, there is no way to know if the emergent church era is coming to an end or if she has simply morphed into something else. Of course, if she was “emerging” who was to know where this would lead and it may be that she has become exactly what she was intended to become as a type of renewal movement for some things that the church had been ignoring. Can we know?
Update: Andrew Jones has written on the ten types of emergent churches that “no longer upset your grandfather” here.
So if the emergent church will not be the sociological salvation of the Christian Church, what will?
If you judge by numbers, the Church continues to fall among the educated and among those with economic and physical security. Religion is general thrives among the needy. The Church 100 years from now will be mostly African-Hispanics perhaps.
The emergent Church was reaching to the educated, well-off, disillusioned Christians, wasn’t it? Is there any sign of growing numbers of this sub-set of believers in any non-emergent Christian sect?
This is a good question, but I have no answer. The mainline church has been on the decline for years. I think this may be why it quickly locked arms with the EC. Evangelicals always seem to report that there numbers are growing, but I have no idea if this is accurate or if what we are seeing is some mainliners going evangelical. George Barna may have an answer!
You are 100% correct that the future of Christianity is African and Latino. We may add Asian in there as well since the underground church of China is believed to have more confessing Christians than the United States (but less Christian per capita) and South Korea is now the nation who sends out the most missionaries to other countries.
So I am not sure what the future is for the North American church, especially amongst the affluent. It may or may not still look like the EC, but it may be something else. The Christian church has often survived in some pretty amazing ways over the years (some good, some not so good).
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