E-Kerk and Emerging Church


I am a big fan of E-Kerk. I receive their letters every no and then, and I visit the E-Kerk (E-Church) whenever I get the chance. When I read that Pastor Stephan Joubert wrote something about E-Kerk and the emerging Church, I couldn’t help to go there and read it. You are welcome to read what he wrote. It is Afrikaans originally. I translated it, and the English translation is given after the Afrikaanse part in Italics.

I wanted to share it hear as well. Here is what he wrote, then:

“Dit het ‘n nuwe kerklike mode geword om enigeen van wie jy verskil te klassifiseer as deel van die “emerging church.” Om een of ander rede is hierdie etiket bedoel as ‘n teologiese skeldwoord. As jy deesdae enigiemand vanaf Rob Bell, Brian McLaren, Ron Martoia, tot by Doug Pagitt of Tony Jones se boeke op jou rak het of dalk iemand ken wat hulle ken, is jy outomaties melaats. Hierdie is die nuwe sonde van “guilty by association.” (Terloops, dan moet diegene wat so dink summier ophou om Paulus te lees wat ‘n keer of wat nie-gelowige Griekse digters aanhaal, of die Judasbrief, wat aanhaal uit geskrifte soos die Testament van Moses en 1 Henog, wat nie deel van die kanon is nie.)

It has become fashionable in the church to classify anyone that you do not agree with as being part of the “emerging church”. For some or other reason this label are meant as a theological curse-word. Nowadays, if you have the books of anyone from Rob Bell, Brian McLaren, Ron Martoia, to Doug Pagitt and Tony Jones, on your shelves, or maybe know someone who does have their books on their shelves, you are automatically treated as having leprosy. This is the new sin called “guilty by association”. (By the way, those who think this way should also stop reading Paul, who quoted non-religious Greek poets at times, or the Jude-letter, who quotes from writings such as the Testament of Moses or 1 Enoch, which is not part of the canon.)

In boeke, webblaaie en artikels word kerklikes deesdae met etikette van “emerging church” beplak en voorgehou as verdraaiers van die Waarheid, of as skeppers van ‘n nuwe, afgewaterde evangelie. Ook in Suid Afrika is dit die geval. Helaas het hierdie verdagmakery ontaard in moddergooiery en sub-standaard karakteraanvalle wat deurspek is van foutiewelike aanhalings en ongegronde uitsprake oor mense wat nie behoorlik gelees of uitgehoor is nie. (Ek bloos namens die klipgooiers!)

In books, websites and articles, church people are getting stuck by “emerging church” labels, and are held up as twisting the Truth, or as creators of a new, watered-down gospel. This is also the case in South Africa. This suspicions have grown into mudslinging and sub-standard character-attacks, which are full of faulthy quotes or unsubstansiated statements about people who weren’t read properly or who haven’t been listened to thoroughly. (I am ashamed on behalf of the rock-pitchers/-throwers!)

In die lig van bogenoemde reaksies kan daar eintlik geen goeie debat wees oor die sg. “emerging church” nie (lees egter die volgende artikel wat ‘n goeie oorsig bied oor die beweging: http://www.pomofaith.com/the-emerging-church/). Maar vir die rekord- dit is interessant dat bekendes wat hierdie term aanvanklik gebruik het, soos Erwin McManus en Dan Kimball, glad nie meer aan sg. emerging gesprekke deelneem nie. Op sy beurt het Leonard Sweet, wat die term “emergent” geskep het, in die Amerikaanse tydskrif RELEVANT (21; Julie/Aug 2006) homself hiervan gedistansieër in ‘n debat met McLaren en Jones. Sy ondubbelsinnige woorde was: “Count me out!” So voel ek ook. Trouens, ek wil saam met Leonard Sweet (Answering my Critics- A Response”) oor die “emerging church” die volgende beaam:

(In the light of the above-mentioned reactions, there can really be no good debate about the so-called “emerging church” (you can read the following article, though, which gives a good oversight about the movement: http://www.pomofaith.com/the-emerging-church/). For the record, though – it is interesting that well-known people who used this term at first, like Erwin McManus and Dan Kimball, doesn’t participate anymore in the so-called emerging discussion at all. Leonard Sweet, who created the term “emergent”, distanced himself from it in an American magazine RELEVANT (21; Julie/Aug 2006) in a debate with McLaren and Jones. His unambiguous words were: “Count me out!” That is the way I feel as well. I want to repeat the following statements by Leonard Sweet (Answering my Critics- A Response”) with regards to the “emerging church” (this was written in English, thus I do not have to translate it here):

“1. It is prone to cause political ruckus when it should be rocking the world for Christ;

2. It is missing a hunger and longing for the salvation of others, a passion for others to fall in love with Jesus and the sense that there are things at stake here that have both earthly and eternal consequences . . .

3. It appears more and more to be a new evangelical form of the old 70s liberation theology

4. It makes the mistake of separating the Person of Jesus from His teachings

5. It deconstructs everything, including the historic creeds of the church and the divine inspiration of the entire biblical canon

6. It revels in spreading doubt more than faith.”

NOU- VIR DAARDIE HOOFLETTER-VRAE (this part was written in Afrikaans, so I will be translating it again; NOW- FOR THAT CAPITAL-LETTER QUESTIONS):

IS EKERK ‘N “EMERGENTE KERK,” soos een geleerde vir my gesê het? Genugtig, nee!

ARE EKERK AN “EMERGING CHURCH”, as one scholar told me? Absolutely, no!

IS EKERK UITVERKOOP AAN CHRISTUS? Ja, Hy is die Een, die enigste Een! Hy IS en bly die regte roete Godwaarts!

ARE EKERK SOLD OUT TO CHRIST? Yes, He is the One, the only One! He IS and remains the true access to God!

IS DIE EKERK SE VOETE OP DIE ROETE VAN DIE BYBEL? Flou vraag! Loshande, en met alles in ons.

ARE THE EKERK’S FEET ON THE ROAD OF THE BIBLE? Weak question! Without a doubt, and with everything within us.

IS ONS TEEN DIE TRADISIONELE KERK? Wat? Gedoriewaar, nee! Ons is deel van die liggaam van Christus op aarde! Ons verabsoluteer net nie kerklike omhulsels ten koste van verhoudings nie!

ARE WE AGAINST THE TRADISIONAL CHURCH? What? Honestly, no! We are part of the body of Christ on earth! We just don’t elevate churchly encosures above relationships!

IS ONS TEEN DOGMA EN LEERSTELLINGS? Op dees aarde nie! Jesus is ons belydenis en belewenis. Ons bely ons geloof agter die 12 Artikels aan en beleef dit daagliks in ons harte en gedagtes, al die pad tot by ons vingerpunte en voetsole. Teologie is egter nie net klaskamersake nie. So ook is kerk nie net vir Sondae alleen bedoel nie. Ekerk is daarom die wêreld vol- hier, daar en doer. Bokse en etikette- asseblief tog net nie. Ons leef, werk, speel en leef tussen lyne en spasies vir Jesus! Dis daar en doer waar ons wil wees!”

ARE WE AGAINST DOGMA AND DOCTRINES? No! Jesus is our confession and experience. We confess our faith after the 12 Articles, and experiences it daily in our hearts and minds, and all the way into our fingerprints and footprints. Theology isn’t just classroombound, though. In the same way church isn’t meant for Sundays alone. Ekerk is thus all over the world – here, there, and everywhere. Boxes and labels – please not! We live, work and play between the lines and spaces for Jesus. It is there that we want to be!

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