Let me explain and make a distinction that will be important for us. Much of the movement is driven by a desire to do a "rethink" or "reimage." That in itself is not a problem and on many issues such work is necessary, potentially doing the church a great service. Where that "rethinking" touches issues of church form and structure tied sensitively to culture, that is a perfectly appropriate question to ask and work through. In this area, tied as it also is to concerns about incarnating the gospel and being missional about it, such questions must be asked and pursued. However, there is a certain segment of this movement that is less well connected to the ancient roots it sometimes espouses when it comes to issues of authority (Biblical), leadership (Pastoral), and some aspects of theological articulation (esp the atonement--or at least death for sin-- and the uniqueness and necessity of Jesus for the plan of God in salvation). Now if this reply sounds a bit "schizophrenic" about the movement, that is because that is exactly what my reaction to it is. I find what this means is that I must listen carefully to each E/E speaker rather than generalizing about the movement as if it were a monolith. It also means that the engagement with it becomes complex, depending on what topic and angle is being taken by a given speaker or writer. So you will get no blanket generalizations from me in this series. I also advise that this is the best way to engage this movement and the discussion. That standard I hope to maintain as I pursue these blog entries.
(HT: Justin Taylor)