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« Emergent '05 - Grenz and McLaren | Main | Emergent '05 - Final Night »

February 04, 2005


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As a charismatic, the most I can say here is that Pentecostals and charismatics are sort of a redheaded stepchild as far as Evangelicals are concerned. The Evangelical churches still do not really know what to do about charismatics and their theological peculiarities even as they try to usurp some of the successful aspects of some charismatic churches--The Vineyard and Calvary Chapel in particular.

In some ways the charismatic stream of Evangelicalism is the forerunner of the Emerging church movement and can still be considered an emerging stream itself (even if the modern movement is a hundred years old.) Once you try to make a subset of a subset, your overlap is going to be astonishingly small, so maybe this is why Emergent hasn't caught on in charismatic churches or vice versa.

Under the microscope, Emergent and the charismatics are both renewal movements, so some jockeying will exist for the title of "Who's doing a better job?" In this way, maybe the two streams have more of an adversarial relationship than some are admitting, especially since I see Emerging churches trying to co-opt some of the innovations charismatic churches are fond of.

Anyway, that's my take for what it is worth.

Wow, Chris - when I saw the title to this post, I thought "Yeah, I really want to read this one!", and now I am also a little dissapointed... (not with you!). You've definitely touched on questions that I would really look forward to reading more about...

Chris – Man I wish I had the $$ to get to emergent ’05 as I have never been to an EC yet. I am an AOG guy who got his M.Div at Regent. (Stan Grenz was one of my favorites!) I wonder what sub-division of AOG I fall into. Did you get any notes?


So…why are there so few of us? The AOG has been so successful, as a sub-set, that it has not seen the need to change. But as the numbers show a decreased trend in attendance, they are now beginning to question what is going on. In a conversation with my regional executive Presbytery I was told, “We don’t understand the new mindset but want to reach the postmodern.

In my context, i have to translate so much of my emergent language into the prior social matrix just to be understood. They are not very aware of what the emergent church is. In fact, I introduced the term to our local denominational leaders about nine months ago.

I think part of the issue is that many Pentecostals are not as aware of the current cultural trends as other denominations are. In the future I would expect to see more emergent Pentecostals.

pentecostals and charismatics are too conservative for emergent. they rarely discuss homosexuality, social justice, and global issues in the way that emergent people do, because they tend to already have the answers, and don't see much further need for the questions. they also tend to be less educated, and a liberal arts education, which is common in evangelical circles, brings a person to the questions that would lead one to postmodern and emergent thinking.

I guess I don't know what to say here. I am an AOG minister, consider myself part of the emergent movement and am very educated unlike what Tammy mentioned. Like in all groups, generalizations don't work too well. The key is that every group and sub-group are coming up with questions and realizing they have 'less' of the answers than they once thought.


That comment doesn't sound like the "real" you. I know some of your background and I think you are reacting solely against it. Most of the charismatics I run with are highly educated and they ABSOLUTELY care about global issues, social justice, serving others, and all those things you said we didn't care about.

Seeing how you have given me many passes in the past, I'll let this one slide. ;-)

then maybe it's part of rural midwestern culture. but at least 90% of the charismatics i personally know have not been to college, and about half of those 90% are suspicious of people like me who have been. they think i have been corrupted in my faith by my higher education.

i think i live in a backwoods place. :D

sorry if i offended any educated pentecostals out there ... but what i wrote is true in my little world. the mainline and catholic people understand me better, even though our theologies are different.

allow to give one example.

a woman in our church told me that she found out that the doctors were giving people rat poison!

she thought this was true because coumadin is a blood thinner, and it's also the active ingredient in rat poison. these facts are true.

she didn't understand that coumadin in the right doses can keep one from having a stroke. it is the high doses in rat poison that kill the rat, as they bleed to death internally.

i spent time trying to convince her of the facts, but i'm not sure she believed me.

this is one example of what i dealt with as a pastors wife in a charismatic church. she was one of our best people - a lay leader.

like i have said before -- rural america is NOT the same place as urban america.

"...maybe it's part of rural midwestern culture."

Tammy, I think there may be a good deal of truth in what you've suggested. In contrast with that, living out here on the "left coast", and in Southern California in particular often sets me up (and frustrates me) in experiencing a very different reality here than my friends in the midwest see as normative.

[related] I'm the product of a large independent charismatic congregation (10,000), whose pastor has a Ph.D. from Fuller Seminary. Higher education is therefore in my spiritual DNA. And I think you know that I (and my faith community) care deeply about the poor and are trying to address environmental issues.

My own denominational superintendent is agressively pursuing environmental issues on a global scale and has made this the focus of his doctoral studies (he's charismatic as well).

This kind of thing is "normal" for me out here among spirit filled people, for whatever it's worth. That said, Tammy, I will also attest to the fact that a dear friend of mine -- a pentecostal who lives in the greater Nashville area -- is generally out of touch with all of this.

So there you have it.

Earl Creps is a great guy, been a part of the whole emerging thing before it really had a name. Over the last couple years, I've complained to him often about the lack of presence of Pentecostals in the emerging church.

But the fact is that we are here, we just keep it mostly to ourselves for reasons that Pentecostals will understand if they are reading this. We often keep our heads down at non-Pentecostal functions because of the stereotypes, which are getting pretty outdated.

While it is true that we can be anti-intellectual--it just does not describe all of us. But that isn't true; I'm anti-intellectual but not ignorant. I just think that sometimes evangelicals (including emergents) make the same mistake Democrats make when looking at red state populations; stupid rednecks. When in fact, Pentecostals have a mystical view of the world that is somewhat like Catholics.

I in fact think that Pentecostals and the Pentecostal church is probably the closest in nature to the emerging church--intuitive, subjective, reckless and accused often of being unorthodox. Just add some liturgy, candles and wine and you have an emerging church (humor).

On a more serious note, Pentecostals also bring the possibility of diversity to the emerging church. It's indigenous missions principle is what makes it so successful outside the US.

I wrote "Describing A Postmodern Pentecostal Church" circa 10/15/2003,

Numerous people, particularly my beautiful and sagacious wife Wendy, have been on my case to finally get around to the "Post-Charismatic" articles that I've been meaning to put online for awhile now. Brother Maynard at Subversive Influence and Maggi Dawn, looks like I'd better get at it, eh?

P.S. There are actually quite a LARGE number of ex-Vineyard people who fit into the emerging church arena.

One thing about the Emerging church is that it is highly pragmatic and even a bit anti-supernatural. This is not true of charismatic churches, even the slightest bit.

I know that I have found that many of the Emergent books I have read advocate programs and models that can be implemented without God at all! They are very man-centric and largely operate off of what we can do ourselves, not what God can do when He shows up in power. Again, this is not the charismatic position.

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