Remember back in 2010 when John Piper said that nobody will be talking about the “emerging church” in ten years?
Well, he was right.
But while the term “emerging/emergent church” has faded, Piper’s description of the emerging church and those who were drawn to it has not. I count myself as one of those who are resistant to plastic megachurch culture. Many of my contemporaries long for relationships and authenticity, and are less hung up on doctrines that divide. Instead, they want a church to engage in the work of social justice in their communities and cities. Enough religious dogmatism, let’s get on about the stuff that really matters in the world. As a result, we’ve seen some make the journey into progressive mainline denominations.
So goes the people who don’t prioritize doctrine…
But perhaps what Piper did not anticipate is the significant migration of Christians into Catholic, Anglican, and Orthodox churches. These are Christians who were indeed put off by excesses, put off by performance, put off by artificiality, who valued intimate community, but still affirmed the virgin birth of Christ. They are young evangelicals who gleaned the frustrations of corporate evangelicalism but also saw the misgivings of a watered down Christianity, and desired something robust and historically well-rooted.
And here’s one more prediction by John Mark Reynolds for 2020, “Liturgy never went away, but ‘contemporary worship’ will be so dated that these services will begin an obvious decline. The Prayer Book will continue to make a come back in many American Protestant circles. Catholic and Orthodox communities will continue to grow via converts while struggling to catechize their own.”
Will we see an increase in Anglican, Orthodox, Lutheran, and Catholic communities? God only knows, but I hope so.
John Piper was right. Evangelical Anglican, Charismatic Anglican, Anglican philosophy blog, Malayalee Pentecostal, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, Desiring God, Neo-Calvinism, Young Restless Reformed, Emergent Church
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