Friday, February 1, 2008

Emerging Anabaptists?

The great Tim Keller posted a comment on Andrew Jones' Tall Skinny Kiwi blog that the emerging/emergent church should just embrace the Anabaptist tradition as the stated beliefs of the more liberal stream of emergents cohere nicely with that tradition (i.e., pietism, pacifism, simple living, community, etc.).

The responses from my former emerging colleagues were swift. Some responded with the equivalent of "hey, man...we're really uniting the whole church", which is a lie. Even Tony Jones admitted that he is disturbed that 10 years into the "emerging movement" it is still overwhelmingly populated by white, upper-to-middle class lapsed evangelicals with few Pentecostals or people of color. Others who have responded have just been nasty, which is ironic to say the least.

Yet, it should be noted that Keller was not just pulling this thought out of the air but was actually responding to the suggestion by Andrew Jones and Scot McKnight that the Anabaptist denominations might make for a good home for "emergent ex-patriots." McKnight has stated several times that he worries that the "emergent movement" will fade away because, like neo-orthodoxy in the 20th century, it has no real church structure behind it to ensure its survival. Diana Butler Bass agrees with McKnight that this is real a danger. So, many emergents are attacking the ideas of their own just because it was echoed by an evangelical--a prime example of the intolerance of the "tolerant."