Premodernity Emerging

Trevin Wax wrote some months ago about the waning of the Emerging Church. I agree with him that the movement has done its work of critiquing evangelicalism and opening that conversation and thus no longer is needed as such.

I still think there are many symptoms of modernity embedded in the church that we have not fully realized, but much of the useful non-modern influence on the church is not from people who consider themselves part of the Emerging movement. Instead, what have we? We have The Lord of the Rings, N.T. Wright, Benedict XVI and so on: rather than postmodernity, premodernity. And it is these, I think, who have succeeded in presenting an alternative to modernity and the wraiths of the Efficiency Movement without falling prey to what the Pope calls the dictatorship of relativism.

We can hear and know the narratives in the world and subvert them toward the narrative of the gospel: this is crucial indeed. The Emerging church has succeeded in bringing this to our attention. Now let us learn what to do with it: how to see incarnation of the gospel and model it, how to read signs of truth around us typologically and how to keep together word and flesh. Ad fontes, I say: to the sources.

Then we will make sense of – and live – these words of the communion hymn “Draw Nigh and Take the Body of the Lord”:

Salvation’s Giver, Christ, the only Son,
By His dear cross and blood the victory won.
Offered was He for greatest and for least,
Himself the Victim, and Himself the Priest.

Victims were offered by the law of old,
Which in a type this heavenly mystery told.
He, Ransomer from death, and Light from shade,
Now gives His holy grace His saints to aid.

Behold the Man, and know the body and lifeblood of the truth.


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