Several months ago my pastor and friend Norm forwarded me a copy of Gary Collins newsletter which had an interesting comment regarding Emergent - Missional Churches and the tensions between Theological Liberalism and Fundamental Calvinism. What do you think?
I have followed the emergent-emerging-missional church movement since its appearance only a few years ago. Initially its roots were evangelical but it has expanded in different directions ranging from hard-core Calvinism to a loose liberalism that appears to dismiss or redefine most basic tenets of Christian faith and biblical theology. There is a theological drift in many emergent circles, a lack of accountability, a hyper-criticism of traditional or seeker-sensitive megachurches, and sometimes an uncritical embrace of postmodern philosophies. But this is not true of all, despite the sometimes strong condemnation from a few traditional Christian leaders or professors. At its core, emergent churches, mostly with younger leaders and congregations, are working to reach a contemporary, mostly postmodern, generation for Christ. This is a generation of thirty-somethings and under who consider themselves spiritual and want to know about Jesus. But they are turned off by their perceptions of formal religion. They are described in books like UnChristian (by David Kinnaman), They Like Jesus but Not the Church (Dan Kimball), or I'm Fine with God...It's Christians I Can't Stand (Bruce Bickel and Stan Jantz).
Along with therapeutic skills and Biblical knowledge, shouldn't Christian counselors understand the cultural foundations of their counselees and the context in which their problems are embedded? Counselees under 35 or 40 have been raised in a generation saturated by the media, technologically sophisticated, skeptical of your expertise, interested in spirituality but resistant to anything that looks like formalized religion. Even so, they are open to spiritual issues. Counselors can and often do earn the respect and trust of these people but it helps if we are sensitive to their worldviews and able to understand that they may like our Jesus but not like our Christianity.