7 marks of the ancient church emerging

Excerpt from The Emerging Church: The Old Church Made New, article by a Tim Dearborn ::

“Yet at the same time, there is a current moving away from the West?concerned about our individualized, consumer-oriented religion. There are several distinct marks of this church:

1. It is digging deep into traditional cultural forms, rejecting Western styles of church life and theology.
2. It is highly charismatic, relying on the Spirit rather than money
3. Anointed leaders guide its life, regardless of their academic training; generally with high authority and conservative morality.
4. Worship is a dramatic encounter with the power of God, rather than a passive and comforting moment of education and encouragement.
5. Its community is a gathering of people rather than a cluster of programs and activities.
6. Mission is a daily encounter with the demonic and evil, conducted through spiritual battle, suffering and a holistic engagement with the world; for all of life is deemed as the domain of God, with social, economic and even political ministry integral to church life.

  1. The church is not a human creation
  2. The church thrives in the context of opposition
  3. The crux of the church?s witness is her life and deeds
  4. The church flourishes by setting her mind on divine not human ways
  5. Denial and death are the beginning points of discipleship
  6. The church thrives when her sight is captivated by an alternate vision
  7. (intentionally left blank)

I believe that our American Christianity has been a faithful, culturally conditioned response to gospel. The emerging church is taking other forms. We now are junior partners in the global Christian movement and God forbid us from imposing any longer our forms and theologies on world Christianity.”

Read the entire article, slowly.

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  1. Sivin says:

    thanks DJ .. I met Tim Dearborn once in Singapore during the Asian Mission Conference. I really liked his plenary session and then we were in a workshop together. he probably wouldn’t remember me … but I value his perspective.

  2. Susan says:

    Concise, relevant and inspiring. thank you!

  3. Loren Bishop says:

    Hi DJ,

    Just a stranger surfing through lots of emerging church blogs. I wonder if I could venture some opinions.

    What I love about the emerging church is that they are open, and willing to hear you out. But at the end of the day, they want you to prove your case. They are not caught in our modern traditions, but willing to re-examine everything, and they want to be convinced for themselves. And they have a hunger for spiritual things.

    The emerging church has a hunger for a reformation, which is good (and needed!) But quite honestly, I think most of them are just spinning their wheels. I mean this kindly and sincerely, and even constructively, so I hope you’ll hear me out.

    I can’t tell you what a high percentage of emerging church blogs are filled with postings like: ‘Here I am, at this conference’ and ‘Last week I was dashing over to that conference’ and ‘Wow! Here’s a picture of a hat I bought while I was there!’

    I’m starting to get very disapointed in what I’m seeing. Their leaders seem to be known by how much jet-setting they do, and how cool their lifestyle is.

    When I first came across the emerging church, five years ago, they were still very keen on the reformation they envisioned. They were full of a very contagious excitement on how they would change the world. And I still see that – they haven’t slidden backward — but neither have they gone forward. In the end, all they’ve done is create another cultural expression. I told a friend (Berry Alvis), who was with me at the time:

    “They are like a troop of very fine actors, who are boasting of the performance they will one day give. But for the moment, they do not have a script.”

    The Bible does foretell a reformation that will occur in the last days. It will be driven by clearer persepctive of Jesus Christ, called ‘the knowledge of the Son of God’ (Eph 4:13). This should be the script!!! This is what they should yearn to embrace!!! But when I read so many of these blogs, Jesus doesn’t even get mentioned – not for one article after another after another.

    I find, instead, that they are talking about monasteries, missional approaches, conferences, candles, church structures, and other early Christian practices. This is nothing but religion, ancient or any other way. But true Christianity can be summarized in three words: “In Christ Jesus”.

    Where is the hunger for Jesus? The desire to know Him and abide in Him? Occasionally I do find someone in the emerging church with more of a focus on Jesus, so there is hope.

    Anyway, thanks for letting me comment.