"Emerging" vs. "Emergent"

"Emerging" vs. "Emergent" April 15, 2008

On Sunday night, I spoke with a small group — the young adult ministry at a local church — at the invitation of a long-time friend.  We had a great time.  But I was struck that among the questions was this, posed to me by a young woman: “Someone told me there’s a real difference between ’emerging’ and ’emergent.’  Is that true?

I said, “Well, that depends on what you mean by true…”

Just kidding.  What I really thought is, This used to be an inside baseball conversation, but if vaguely interested laypersons are asking about it, now we’ve really jumped the shark.

I get that this whole thing — emergent vs. emerging — is a meme being repeated by some people who mean well and others who, well, mean less well. But those people are making a huge mistake, methinks, because they are perpetuating the very modern mistake of separation and fragmentation.  This hyper-defining  is no different from the early Methodists saying, “We’re not Anglican,” and the Anglicans saying, “You’re damn right you’re not!”  But what’s interesting to me is how often I’ve lately heard Anglicans say, “We never should have let John Welsey go; that was a real mistake,” and Methodists say, “Too bad we couldn’t have stayed under the umbrella of Anglicanism, because I think we’d be better for it.”

Note well, O Definers, you may define me “out” of emerging or evangelical or orthodoxy, but beware, it’ll be you next.  Drawing lines and defending borders never ends well for the line-drawers because before you know it, someone has drawn a line right behind your heels and, guess what, you’re suddenly on the other side of the line with me.  Line-drawing is yet another form of infinite regression.

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  • THANK you!!! What a relief to hear you say that Tony! I get so sick of people asking me if I am emergent or emerging. I hate labels and it was one of the reasons I found Generous Orthodoxy (My first emergent reading) so refreshing. Thanks for the post and I will refer to it often.

  • Tony, I would offer that separating the terms is helpful for understanding there is an movement vs and organization supporting that movement. Distinctions are necessary in language for understanding something distinctly different (purple/magenta). It’s when we place a value judgment on them that we get in trouble.

  • I really share your frustration. I look at what our belief-labels have gotten us and it look less and less like the unity Jesus prayed for. I was told during an interview that there is a BIG difference between the emerging church and the Emergent church…I am assuming he meant that one was “safe” and the other, not quite so. Whatever.

    If labels help them place people in containers so they can know what shelf to put them on then so be it. But I got to go have lunch with a friend so we spur each other onto love and good deeds.


  • The incesant need to label everything casues more confusion than clears up. Working in a public school has shown me that labeling people or groups into rigid sectors denies their ability to be unique. Recently, some friends and I went to an gathering here in Texas and they kept saying ‘welcome to our emering conversation!” I dont know if they thought we were confused about where we were at or they feard we though they were a fundamentalist Baptist Church…these lable suck people in and the division never ends.

  • Tony,

    I think the first two comments here are illustrative of the complexity of this debate. For some people, the lack of distinction between “emergent” and “emerging” is refreshing and helpful. Why distinguish? They’re both “on about” the same things, right?

    But then you have others who find it helpful to make a distinction between the broader term “emerging” and the narrower term or focus (i.e., the organization/network) “Emergent.” For these folks, it is helpful to think of “Emergent” as a specific stream of the broader “emerging.”

    So who’s “right”? I realize this is just one blog post, so this doesn’t contain your full range of thought and emotion on the topic, but the debate is definitely more complex than this one post seems to indicate.

    And I don’t think anyone is trying to define you “out” of “emerging,” but rather to get more granular in their understanding of this particular thing called Emergent Village and how it relates to the wider emerging missional church movement. So that comment is a little bit of a red herring. But anyway …

    These are just my thoughts. Although, I would add that it seems more and more that “emergent” and “emerging” are getting distinguished primarily by those who want to defend “emerging” (which is primarily the “relevant” stream) and condemn “emergent” (which is considered the “revisionist”/un-orthodox stream). For those folks, I would just argue that these distinctions are not so cut-and-dry. So your caution against line-drawing is well worth repeating, although I reckon it will go unheeded by many because of their location in a foundationalist/bounded-set/centered-set theology. (Now I’m going to be accused of painting with too broad a brush, and so it goes, round and round.)

    Peace, ya’ll,
    Steve K.

  • Justin Grimm

    I understand why you spoke of emergent or emerging, but why didn’t you acknowledge postemerg/(ing)(ent)? I find myself in this camp, and others like me never here you refer to postemerg/(ing)(ent). Were are the truly emerging, who have emerged past emerg/(ing)(ent). I would appreciate it in the future if you would reference a reality that is already taken place; namely that there are those who emerge fast (like yours truly) and we should receive the fair amount of attention that those who lag behind like emergent or emerging have received. Despite this obvious overlooking in your blog of those in the postemerg/(ing)(ent) camp, I still found it helpful.

    Keep up the good work champ!

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  • Barry

    I use labels a lot because I honestly don’t know what to say otherwise. I describe people by it and pretty soon find myself placing more value in one label than in another and then after that I end up generalizing.
    But it also helps draw an understanding of where someone is coming from I guess. I usually draw a line between emerging and emergent and lately I have become more and more uncomfortable with it because, like the word postmodernism, it is getting either a highly positive association or a highly negative one (here in the south, it tends to be negative, or, at least, iffy).
    I wonder if a better way of distinguishing a person is by association with a leader instead of a boundary line (like conservative or liberal). Like, for instance, I like you and McManus a lot so maybe instead of saying I am emergent or emerging, I could say this: “I tend to see eye to eye with McManus. I like his stuff.” Instead of saying, “I would define myself as Emergent or postmodern.”
    But then that might create other problems… Its a thought and I am wondering what you guys think about it.

  • Phillip

    Another post that, well, never answered the question…
    But I suppose that’s typical of the “emerging.” Or would that be “emergent?” Who knows?

  • mikevandrie

    So should we every draw lines? Should we ever define what is right and what isn’t?

  • Tony,

    It strikes me that calling folks Hauerwasians, mafia or not, is a line-drawing action … but so too calling us Anabaptists …

    Be careful, brother, you might find yourself inside that line.

    O hasten the day!

  • Barry

    Of course there are times to define what is right and what’s wrong. We face moral issues everyday which draw us to these sorts of conclusions. That doesn’t have to be a dividing factor. There are times when it isn’t necessary or isn’t beneficial, but that isn’t all the time.
    There are moments when we must draw lines and it isn’t to divide it is to take a stand. But regardless of what you are taking a stand on, not everyone is going to like it. Thats not the point.
    We try to have open communication with others but ultimately we can’t choose for them to do the same. The point, I believe is to respect the opinion of others and not make it divisive but neither should you water down your own opinion so it seems nicer. It isn’t wrong to believe something, but you should believe more strongly in the love of God and in the love for others. Thats the key factor.

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  • O the futility and utility of words…

  • mikevandrie

    “Drawing lines and defending borders never ends well for the line-drawers because before you know it, someone has drawn a line right behind your heels and, guess what, you’re suddenly on the other side of the line with me. ”

    I think in this conversation of emerging v. emergent is and important one. We need to talk about the difference because there is. There is a line, sadly some have gone of the deep end and have made a need for the line.

    Don’t you draw lines everyday?

  • IF labeling is so wrong should we remove all signs from our buildings… There is mass confusion in the chruch today because no one wants to be defined. We are scared to make a definative statment because it might put us in a box. The New Testament is full of definative statment. But than again the emergant world does not like Paul very much anyway… maybe thats why.

    p.s. why do people think all of us getting along and ignoring our vast theological diffrences is true unity that Christ spoke of?

  • Jake

    “But than again the emergant world does not like Paul very much anyway… maybe thats why.”

    This may be futile, but would you care to actually provide some evidence to back up that statement? Because it strikes me as absolutely ridiculous.

  • Tony Arens

    We will always draw lines. I think the real question here is whether or not we have the courage to cross them. Let’s hope we don’t replace the lines with barbed wire!

    Interesting words here Tony – thanks! I might add that you are a champion at drawing lines – as am I…

  • Brian

    Sounds so painfully familiar. As a church musician from the classically trained stripe, I have worked in quite a few denominations. Church members never criticize the other denominations, with a few exceptions, but when push comes to shove, and the suggestion that we do things that move past denominational differences in a significant way, well, that is a different story. Even something as simple as attending music conferences for different denominations isn’t encouraged or supported in many places. Pity. We could have had lots of great chats and laughs.

  • And part of me thinks that line drawing and categorizing needs to stop being completely blame on modernity. I’m not so sure it’s “modern” as much as it “human.”

    Line drawing is not infallible and always boxes someone in where they don’t feel they should be, but that’s why we have lived lives–to demonstrate who we really are. But the idea that we can stop all line drawing (whether consciously or unconsciously) seems too daunting for any human.

  • As other have pointed out, there is a time for labeling, because it helps in terms of philosophical location. So maybe the real issue is motive. If we label to organize thoughts – in order to make a discernable schema of the world – then that’s not so problematic, in fact, its necessary for everyday survival. If, on the other hand, we label in order to exclude, well then that’s another thing entirely- especially when said line-drawing is more like hair-splitting.

  • Maybe she just didn’t pronounce the “E” in “Emergent” capitalized enough?

    Because I think we can all agree there’s a difference between ’emergening/emergent’ and “Emergent Village” (the “Village” is often pronounced silently), with the latter being a subset of the former…

    All I’m saying is it’s your fault, Tony, for picking such a dang confusing name for your organization.

    Couldn’t you guys change it ‘The International Asssociation of Theological Winkers’ or something like that? heheh

  • Tony,

    Thanks for saying this!

    However, I’m confused. I feel like this is EXACTLY what I said to you on the phone the last time we spoke about your view of Marcus Borg. You didn’t like it then. You claimed him and people like me (unashamed liberals) to be across the line because of our view on one particular doctrine. I felt like you lumped me in with secularism and atheism just because I don’t stick my head in the sand when it comes to reading biblical miracles literally. It felt like a perfect case of line drawing and border defending.

    I know you get bashed from all sides, but I think you might be imagining some of the opposition on the left. At least from my view, I can tell you it isn’t opposition. I appreciate all your doing. You’re inside my line!

  • Mike,

    Could you try being a little less offensive? You assume we’re all sticking our heads in the sand simply because we choose to reject the idea that the miracle accounts are necessarily ahistorical. Come on, dude. Join the 21st century. Let go of your modernistic hyperconfidence. It just makes you (and Borg) look naive.

  • Hey Tony,

    You make an excellent and important point. When the difference in these terms are used to exclude or distance ourselves from others, we will inevitably reap the same result in our own categories. I believe the distinction can be used to distinguish context and/or nuance, but it is too often misused.

    As someone who identifies with the emerging-missional conversation- and as someone who has stated difference with some expressions of the conversation- I appreciate your tireless commitment and contribution to the Body of Christ.


  • Just curious – given your opinion on this stuff, how do feel about all the sub-groups that have been forming – Anglimergent, Presbymergent, etc., etc.? Unhelpful also? Too much line drawing there?

  • “methinks” Ha. Funny. Will use that very soon.

  • there are three distinctions and that’s the problem.

    agreed emergent and emerging are great words that capture the sense of what is happening as a bottom up organic grassroots movement.

    the third term though is Emergent with a capital E. i know you guys don’t like this and maybe i’m one of the people who you see drawing lines in the sand. but E is a brand, a publishing company, organising big tours, has spokespeople, is american, fundraises, employs people. so when you sit elsewhere and people use the word emergent you have to qualify whether you are talking about the movement or the organisation. it’s not that i don’t like the organisation btw – i think you guys are doing great stuff. but i have to make the distinction in certain contexts i am in where Emergent’s take may alienate people who might be into the emergent stuff.

    i am not trying to be difficult here – it is a real issue.

    your book just arrived yesterday btw – look forward to reading it.


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  • Actually the labels can be helpful is used as adjectives to describe movements with The Church, but unhelpful when they are nouns which have a quasi-denominational emphasis. There is also the very different experience between the States on the one hand, and the UK Australia and New Zealand.

    Emergent with a capital E comes across as “evangelical” ( and retaining much of associated conservatism) to UK emerging Christians – even though ironically many Emergent churches and leaders seem to spend an inordinate amount of time arguing with former Evangelical leaders attempting to retain some long lost evangelical credibility – to the extent that it appears to be a minor change of form rather than a real change of circumstance.

    In the UK there is a much similarity and solidarity between emerging churches and missional churches which does not seem to seem to apply in the States.

    So any exclusion etc tends to be self afflicted rather than intentionally inflicted for the purpose of exclusion

  • Jonny,

    Good point. I would suggest that the difference between “emergent” and “Emergent” is becoming blurred through popular usage. While this not be fair, it is nearly impossible to use the term “e” without immediate assumptions being made that you are referring to “E”. It is unfortunate.


  • I so appreciate both the content of Jonny’s point & the generosity in which he makes the point.

    The business side of this “conversation” makes having what publishers see as a platform or identified market THE pivotal criteria for voices that get promoted (via published media or conferences). What people will buy is often the fulcrum that defines what voices get heard.

    I have feasted at the stalls of media, made choices about who gets heard & who does not. These are market decisions, influenced by the legacy business and the profit requirements. Money changes hands, people make a living and capital requirements are met by corporations. I like News Corp, Wiley & Baker – hell, I have to – some of them have my 401 (k).

    But I experience the distinction much differently. The brand/business that is EMERGENT has bent the conversation, turned it far too often into a transaction (or a proposal), made it a venue for feeding families and covering expense. From my POV, brand/business that is EMERGENT got way too far out in front of the more “emerging” conversation. By emerging, I do not mean how the churchianity bubble uses that short hand – I mean the way the term emergence is used in most discipline other than the church:

    the way complex systems and patterns arise out of a multiplicity of relatively simple interactions

    From my POV, this brand/business that is EMERGENT quickly morphed into a new sets of rock stars (better than the old set), a cooler set of white guys (cooler & less white than the last) and a different way to do the trappings of churchianity (events, products, affinity). To paraphrase the Exec Dir of SxSW interactive – it is to hard to market ideas, so we market people.

    So kudos to Jonny for his bit of truth-telling – my addition is that I wish the brand/business that is EMERGENT would fold its tent or at least get a clue(train) about what complex patterns & complexity of brands/business can look like:


    These markets are conversations. Their members communicate in language that is natural, open, honest, direct, funny and often shocking. Whether explaining or complaining, joking or serious, the human voice is unmistakably genuine. It can’t be faked.

    Most corporations, on the other hand, only know how to talk in the soothing, humorless monotone of the mission statement, marketing brochure, and your-call-is-important-to-us busy signal. Same old tone, same old lies. No wonder networked markets have no respect for companies unable or unwilling to speak as they do.

    But learning to speak in a human voice is not some trick, nor will corporations convince us they are human with lip service about “listening to customers.” They will only sound human when they empower real human beings to speak on their behalf.

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  • When it comes to the statements about line drawing and the “line-drawers” aren’t classifying or draw a line on whose a line-drawer?

    With the emerging conversation i hear a lot of “those evangelicals how dare they classify us.” I feel theres just as much line-drawing in the emerging conversation as there is on the evangelical side.

  • Frankly, I think it’s cheeky that you can co-edit a book, titled “Emergent Manifesto”, written by Americans only, and now tell us that there is no difference between the terms.

    Last year I was asked to review the Emergent Manifesto of Hope and expressed my disappointment that it was basically an American Manifesto of Hope.

    Doug Paggitt commented on my blog (http://www.emergentkiwi.org.nz/archives/an_american_manifesto.php): “Hey Steve, we have worked hard to keep the Emergent convervation from the US about the US – As you know the other expressions in other countries come under the name Amahoro. So when we in the US are speaking of the Emergent US we are not supposing to speak for the entire world, and ave worked hard to not do so.”

    So it take from that comment that Doug is wanting to draw lines around Emergent. US gets one organisation called Emergent, rest of world is lumped in Amahoro.

    Or perhaps it’s more to do with Doug wanting to draw authorial lines around the book brand?


  • Rob Moser

    Tomayto Tomahto,
    Potayto Potahto…..

    Lets call the whole thing off!


  • I can see where some of the frustrations come from (a potential “brand” called Emergent associated with Emergent Village, complete with a logo and play-on-word-name), but I think folks might be missing the point here. The point isn’t that it’s wrong to draw lines or use labels, I don’t think. We all do that. We can’t help it. I think the point is that when such inhouse wordplay and tinkering with the minutiae becomes a serious question from someone initially curious about an idea, then a problem has developed. A trivial conversation for those part of the broader conversation has begun to eclipse the broader, more important, conversation.

    In short, the broader conversation is beginning to sound a lot like some of the conversations the emerging church thought it was emerging from.

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  • Tony,
    As I’ve been reading your book, I , too, was struck by the fact that the national coordinator of Emergent Village was using “emergent” as a generic term for all those who are in the new conversation about church in a postmodern context.

    I understood that “Emergent” is the organization that you coordinate; “emerging” is a broader conversation that includes “Emergent” but may not necessarily be represented by everyone in Emergent Village (this was why DA Carson changed the title of his book from the more rhyme-friendly version “Becoming Conversant with the Emergent Church” to the awkward “Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church.”

    Our friend Scot McKnight even says this in his paper he presented at Westminster:
    “…Constantly misused in the debate today are the terms “emerging” and “emergent.” But, “emerging” is not the same as “emergent.” Please listen. “Emergent” refers to Emergent Village – an official clearinghouse for this conversation where there are cohorts across the world who officially associate themselves with EV. Emergent Village, or emergent, is directed by Tony Jones, a PhD student at Princeton, former youth minister, and now an energetic traveler on behalf of EV. “Emerging,” on the other hand, is bigger, broader, and deeper. “Emerging” is connected to EV the way WTS is connected to Reformed Christianity in the world (in all its brands). So, when you say “emergent” you should be thinking of Emergent Village and Tony Jones; when you think of “emerging” you should be thinking of … well, that is what I have to get to soon.”

  • Bob Carlton (32):

    Well, anyone in the know for that matter (but BC seems a good candidate)–is the branding being carried out primarily by participants/practitioners/interlocutors in emerging or by outsiders, merchants of cool and hip, Christian commodifiers who see a marketing demographic and money to be made from emerging? Both insiders and outsiders? Just curious.

  • kevin, what a spot on insight. brands are imposed & invited.

    cool is dead, isn’t it ? it kills effifiecntly, like some nuetron bomb

  • Let me lump my contribution in with Jonny, Scot MacKnight, Bob Robinson, Jamie Arpin-Ricci, and steve: from the South African context, I’m vary careful to make the distinction between “emerging” and Emergent (capital E – but synonymous with small e). This is simply because there are plenty of local folks who don’t like Brian McLaren, and the logic works like this:

    The global emerging church conversation =
    Emergent =
    Brian McLaren =
    Brian’s specific views on things (Scripture, homosexuality, hell).

    Setting aside the fact that people seem to find it all to easy to say, “Brian McLaren believes *this* heresy,” when Brian didn’t say anything of the kind, it’s been a challenge in SA to convince people that Brian McLaren’s views are not the views of the global emerging church conversation.

    One way I make that shift is by making a deliberate distinction between “emerging” and “Emergent”, saying that Brian is a part of Emergent, which is only one stream within the American emerging church conversation (the Emergent Village newsletter 2 weeks ago listed about 10 other networks in the States, like the Luthermergent), and the American emerging church conversation is part of the Western bit in the worldwide emerging church conversation.

    This gives us the freedom to say, “Yes, even if Brian McLaren seems to be saying […], there are other things happening which you may find hopeful.”

    As for Amahoro, I attended the first Amahoro conference (on postcolonial church in East Africa) in Uganda last year. Amahoro means “peace” – one of the hopes of the postcolonial world. We had about 300 attendees, mainly from the east African region, around 30 from the States, 20 from South African and one or two from elsewhere.

    The conference was brilliant and very helpful for providing a way forward for theology to work itself out within an African context. Dr Kenzo Mabiala gave a particularly helpful talk on this dynamic.

    Brian McLaren talked in SA just before that on “Postmodern and postcolonial” – showing how the postmodern conversation in the West has its parallel with the postcolonial conversation in the 3rd world.

    We also set up a conference blog on Emerging Africa. I think the idea with the Amahoro network is to link together non-Western countries who are participating in the global emerging church conversation.

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  • steve brown

    I understand that there is a level of danger that comes with putting labels on others and even oneself, but there is also a healthiness to it as well. I think it would be typical of a good postmodern to say down with labels, because they divide us. Yet still this is an oxymoron, because do we not draw distinctions on a daily basis? If we say that labels are bad then how can we say that someone is a follower of Christ or a non-follower of Christ?

    So what about being put under emerging vs. emergent? I think it is more important to realize what these terms mean before going any further in saying whether it is healthy or unhealthy to be placed under them. First if you are a believer you better be apart of emerging church, because the emerging church is the general term used for describing all believers who are being relevant within their local culture and trying to find new ways of being more relevant through illustrations, practices, and the process of disciple making.
    Emergent is a specific sect of believers who have a set of beliefs, quite similar to denominations. Yes we are called to be unified, as one body of believers, and all that means is we need to look beyond our disagreements in 2nd and 3rd order doctrines, address each other as the individual creation of God we are.

    Labels are bad when used for blanket statements, arrogant statements that say this is the only true denomination (theology, philosophy, worldview, etc.), and when used to define who we are.

  • Timothy Wright


    This is so funny. Lines. We all live in lines and boundaries. Tony here are a few lines that I live in.

    I am male, not female
    I am a follower of Jesus, not Buddha
    I am married, not divorced
    I am white, not black
    I am right handed, not left handed
    I am hetrosexual, not homosexual
    I read blogs, I do not blog
    I am an American Citizen, not a citizen of China
    I eat meat, I am not a vegetarian
    I am a pacifist, I do not believe in War

    Why have a dictionary if there are not lines and boundaries.

    I bet you and everyone else also live in a world of lines and boundaries.

    Looking forward to reading your new book


  • karen clewell

    A thought… drawing lines can sometimes create beautiful illustrations to create one idea. The concept of fluidity of the lines, as in animation or movement, might be a way to see the descriptive way of discernment in this case. Lines can be looked at as forming a whole, as well as judgmentally dividing a body or movement.

    Whatever we call it, or however we draw it, I’m a mainline suffocating pastor who is glad for the conversation that brings new breath to life.

  • JdO

    …and so what do you have to say about drawing the lines that insist non US emerging churches are to be called “Amohoro?”

  • ‘Just answered this question at dinner tonight. funny that its still around. I do think that your clarifying work at the mainline emerget conf and the AAR podcasts and the new book do say there are “Emergents” who are already outed, an who then hold a different set of understandings because of what they have been through. And i’d say that my own experiences over time have put me both in and out of emergent proper in other’s opinions because of whatever job or title i hold. So it remains a sticky wicket.

    I’m glad you can return to the owe-ness on the ouster for drawing such lines and the world that they hen create for themselves. Thats a good place to land on this- and it remains a reminder for us who owe a debt to the Emergent Village conversation for making space to more holistically live into the Jesus way.

  • Why are some of you so sensitive to the differentiating between “Emergent vs emerging”? You have to admit that there is some theological difference between and within emerging. For the sake of those who are seeking out the difference in theology, why not accept this differentiation? Why fear line-drawing? There are real people like myself who can accept emerging as a movement but not Emergent (the organization) so why not accept that as a fact? Yes, those on the wrong side of the line will naturally dislike the line-drawing but those on the right side find line-drawing helpful. If Christianity is suppose to be blurred without some theological distinction, then that is not the Christianity I can accept.

  • Jonno

    As far as I know, Tony hasn’t trandemarked the brand ‘Emergent’ leaving it open for anyone who thinks along the same lines as he to claim. I classify myself as emergent, yet, in a sense I am also emerging (i.e. becoming more ’emergent’ as I see it.) Labels are good to the degree they help define who we are/aren’t–that’s part of being human. Being Christ-like is acknowledging the labels we give ourselves, but seeing beyond and accepting the person as being precious, beautiful, and loved.

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  • Tony, I respect that any distinction between Emergent (Village) and Emerging (Church) is pretty irrelevant for yourself, but for those of us who aren’t members of Emergent cohorts it can be pretty important as directly equating Emergent (Village) and Emerging (Church) runs the risk of excluding us from the conversation in the minds of many people. A perfect example was when Don Carson last visited Australia and declared he wouldn’t call any of us Emerging Church because we didn’t fit his Emergent (Village) centric definition. When others take that fuzziness seriously the consequence is we end up being deemed irrelevant to the conversation, we end up being excluded. Surely that should disturb?

    We have a similar problem in Australia with the general public equating Pentecostalism with Hillsong, such that it is assumed all Pentecostals are Hillsong and that Hillsong is the only relevent voice.

    Accepting there are nuances in what people mean by these things is important for diversity. When people like Jonny and Scot and myself and others make these distinctions, we are not pitting Emergent (Village) and Emerging (Church) in opposition to one another in a “vs” way. We are merely suggesting that one is a subset of another and in such a diverse movement it is important not to confuse the part with the whole.

  • rottenjuju


    New to the blog, reading your book…a third of the way in.

    Have lots of questions forming in my mind, not the least of which is how many people wish they’d taken the blue pill. Anyway, I’ll be visting here more often, looking for some of those answers…if they exist.

  • Did you answer the question, Tony?

  • Rick


    I’ve decided to take your advice. From this moment on I will in no way use labels for anything.

    The woman formerly known as “my wife” will henceforth be known as “lady I live with.”

    The two childlings that I used to call “son” and “daughter” are now to be called “offspring.”

    I have even gone so far as to remove all labels from my food items. Yeah it’s a crapshoot everytime I open a can of soup, but it’s worth it! So what if I have no clue if something has expired or not and could cause me serious health damage if I consume it, I shall not draw lines!!!

    Oh…I better go…I don’t feel so good…it must be something I ate.

  • josh

    I can understand in some regards the frustration with such incessant questions but what about these

    Are you a Christian or Buddhist? Does the difference really matter? Both have noble truth

    Are you universalist or ‘jesus only’? Come on nit picking surely

    Are you Australian or English? (throw in Canadian or American if you wish) Same Queen surely the same

    Will he see you as a sheep or goat? Come on they both have wool, does it matter?

    Labels do matter to some degree because they define what is real or perceived.

    If emergent includes the crew that seem to continually want to play around with the fundamental tenents of Christianity then count me out. (which it generally seems to be the case), if emerging means I keep the core belief and focus but ask why am I expressing it in such a way then maybe I am more emerging.

    I am not sure I am either to be real but I think a good deal of ’emergent’ crew which question the necessity of the deity of Jesus, the inspiration of scripture etc. are actually a cult in real terms in the same way that JW’s, Mormons are a cult.

  • Joe

    There was one stream emerging that became two emerging and emergent, now I understand it is now four or is it five?

    Are all the streams still Christian or have they ventured too far?

  • chris

    before him (Jesus the Christ) will be gathered all the nations, and he (the Lord of Lords) will separate people one from another…

    the word of God is living and active… piercing to the division of soul and spirit… discerning the thoughts…

    therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord…

    blog…blog…blog…blog as you enjoy hearing your own words, but the answer is THE WORD.