Emergent Church Article

The good folks at Direction have posted the article co-authored by yours truly and Nick Toews  on their website.  This article is an assessment of what we see as the good qualities and deficiencies of the Emergent Church movement which includes such notable characters as Brian McLaren and Tony Jones.  The article was completed around a year ago and is the first work I have had published.  You can find said article by clicking here.

I cannot help but think that the decline of attention paid to the Emergent movement in church circles today makes our thesis even more valid now than it was a year ago…




  1. Dave · January 19, 2011

    I really think that you and Nick have done an excellent job of critiquing the Emergent Church.

    The one thing that I would add to this is upon going to their website, Emergent Village, i sense a huge glaring omission – an purposeful reference to God as the focus of worship and purpose.

    As you point out in the article, the main unifying concept seems to be conversation – not even discourse. Much of what they address seems to be as impactful or meaningful as a conversation on whether or not Verona or Christmas Blend are the best coffees at Starbucks.

    It seems as though one of the major traditional elements that the EC has dropped is GOD.

    • travisbarbour · January 20, 2011

      Hey Dave thanks for your reply,

      It is interesting to me that you noticed an abscence of God on the Emergent Village website. I haven’t visited the site since I completed the article and I wonder if they have changed their direction since Tony Jones stepped down and since the organization/movement lost a lot of its momentum…?

      I surely do not question the legitimacy of the belief of Emergent leaders, however I do question the manner in which they, somewhat haphazardly, ‘constructed’ their movement/organization. While I sympathize with their desire to include everyone in conversation I feel as though their appeal to “mere conversation” diluted any strong sense of community in their group. As Derrida pointed out communities which are so open to the other that they change who they are, lose a strong sense of self…This seems to be the case with the Emergents…

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