Five Emerging Church Questions with Mark DeVine ~ BitterSweetLife

Friday, April 20, 2007

Five Emerging Church Questions with Mark DeVine

I recently tracked down my professor, Dr. Mark DeVine, who will be teaching a class this fall on emerging church issues. Dr. DeVine is a rare breed, in that he's a Southern Baptist with a deep love for the convention, a staunchly Calvinistic theologian, and a sympathetic investigator of the emerging church scene.

An additional paradox adds to his mystique: highly conversational in the classroom, Dr. DeVine is breathtakingly succinct via email (check his site for more elaborate discussion). Here are his answers to Five Questions About Emerging Church, shot toward your waiting brain like tiny, laser-guided bullets.

1) What do you see as a central, redeeming aspect of emerging church?
Its missional and communal emphases.

2) What do you see as a dangerous, negative aspect?
It’s ambiguous hermeneutic and view of the Bible’s nature and authority.

3) Is emerging church a trendy phenomenon or a movement with staying power?
I would be surprised if certain dimensions of emerging church emphases did not exert significant lasting influence in the West generally and in urban ministry particularly.

4) What are some consequences of dismissing the whole EC set of concerns offhand?
Real recovery of Biblical teaching is at work here in helpful corrective ways. Let’s not miss the benefit.

5) What are some consequences of buying in to the EC mindset unconditionally?
New insights, however on target, benefit from serious biblical and historical scrutiny and re-assessment. That goes for emerging as well.

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Jamie said...

You weren't kidding when you said he's succinct by email! But I like the crisp responses--they are clearer and more powerful than elaborate replies would have been. Good thoughts.

Steve said...

I really like his attitude toward Emergent. There are some really important things that the rest of the church needs to learn from them. And yet, they need to be careful that they don't compromise doctrinal integrity in the process. I like his balanced perspective and hope that we all heed his cautions.

Steve said...

My link is wrong above - it should be

romans1423 said...

Would it not be possible to embrace missional ideals (i.e., those listed at without getting on the emerg[ing|ent] bandwagon completely?

A simple embrace of missional living by even one family in a church could result in radical positive changes throughout, I would think.

Ariel said...

Dr. DeVine epitomizes a circumspect, no-nonsense approach to emerging church. I think that the balanced tone of his commentary has a disarming effect on both pro- & anti-EC "radicals."

Would it not be possible to embrace missional ideals (i.e., those listed at without getting on the emerg[ing|ent] bandwagon completely?

Absolutely. The doctrinally-faulty Emergent Village milieu doesn't have a monopoly on the missional principles we find in the life of Christ.


Culture. Photos. Life's nagging questions. - BitterSweetLife