Leonard Sweet on the emerging church

Len Sweet has written a response to his critics, who say he is too emergent, among other things. The response is three pages and worthy of full reading, but I found his listing of his primary criticisms of the emerging church quite interesting:

I can still call Brian McLaren (and others) my friends while critiquing their theology. The “emerging church” is a young movement grown old very quickly because . ..

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

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4 thoughts on “Leonard Sweet on the emerging church

  1. I read this last week on Sweet’s site. Cleared up some confusion for ME, because I couldn’t quite figure out for myself if he was or wasn’t.

    I haven’t decided whether #2 or #6 is the most damning criticism in this list.

    1. I am not good at ranking them, but I do think they are connected. If you have more doubt than faith, then there is no need to reach out to others. People are already full of doubt on their own.

  2. John, I’ve read a good many of Sweet’s books and cannot find anything that hints at “emerging church” in them. I especially liked “Jesus Manifesto” which sets out a wonderful Christology. And, for the record #2 is the most damning in the list followed closely by #6.

  3. I agree there is a problem in #2. The declaration to “to go and make disciples” is an imperative. This is where evangelicals miss the mark, they want a conversion but not a relationship. Jesus was about relationships, and we must invest our lives into the lives of others where we are emerging or evangelical. Build relations not numbers.

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