I have written before about how I would define an emerging church. I think, however, that my definition is still in progress. I had previously defined an emerging church as one that is intentionally seeking to connect the gospel to postmodern culture. While this is true, I am not sure it is the whole story.
I have come to think that there is a difference between "postmodern ministry" and an "emerging church." Many churches and ministries are doing the postmodern thing as a methodological style. (Saturday night at Fellowship feels like this.) In many of these ministries and churches, there remains a fundamental commitment to some of the modern tennents of absolutely known truth, certainty, and the like. These things are just packaged in a more *gulp* marketable way for postmodern people.
I cannot speak for all emerging churches, but it seems to me that at Vintage Fellowship, there will be a more philosophical commitment to postmodernism. It is not merely a methodological style that we will abandon for the next style. I think it is a basic commitment to the faithful expression of Christian faith within a postmodern ethos, emerging from within a postmodern ethos.
In other words, I think Vintage might have an air of uncertainty or even suspicion about it. In the modern era, churches declared "WE KNOW X-Y-Z FOR CERTAIN." Truth was absolutely known. I think the posture of Vintage will be more "we believe and are hoping for this, but ultimately, we're going to have to wait and see." Truth is not absolutely known.
Doubt is ok. Incomplete answers are ok. Saying "I don't know" and "I am not sure" is perfectly acceptable.
Do we know absolutely how eternity will embrace us?
Do we know absolutely how God will judge?
Do we know absolutely how the world will end, if the world will end?
Do we know absolutely how the Spirit moves?
Do we know absolutely what Paul meant?
Do we know absolutely how the church ought to be structured, if the church ought to be structured?
Here is my new definition of an emerging church: An emerging church is a church that is intentionally seeking to connect the Christian gospel to postmodern culture with an attitude of humility and even uncertainty. It needs work, but that's where I'm at. Thoughts?