We hear an awfully lot these days about the words “emerging” and “misssional.” They in some degree are the same and yet at the core very different.
The sameness is their attempts to express in new terms and paradigms, the same eternal, timeless truths that have made Christianity and the concept of a worshiping church a part of our culture for over two thousand years.
But one of the big problems I see with “emerging” and “missional” missionaries is that they are making the same old mistakes as the Evangelical, Fundamentalist, Seeker, and Purpose-Driven paradigms of the past. They have developed either/or thinking. Rather than talking in ways that expand our understanding of the church and her redemptive potential in culture as it is, they too contract it by defining it as one thing or the other.
I was in a webinar the other day of one of the proponents of the missional church – a good person from whom I have received great benefit. But as I hear the rhetoric, I am disappointed with the same either/or discussion.
Now just as I say that, some people will remind me that Jesus was either/or. Some are in, and some are out. There is a door that you either get through or you don’t. Jesus even said that anyone who tries to enter the Kingdom other than through the door, is a thief and will be unsuccessful.
I do understand there are in and out, either/or, black and white statements in our faith. But outside that core which revolves around Jesus, who he is and what he did, and how we incorporate it into our own personal lives, these other things are both/and. Why can’t we be both/and thinkers? It would make a world of difference, what do you think?