In a recent article Anthony Bradley summarized the demise of the movement formally known as “emerging”:
From Brian McLaren to Erwin McManus to Rob Bell to Tony Jones to Mark Driscoll and others, the theological lines have been drawn and are settled. We have all moved on. We know who fits into evangelicalism, post-liberalism, Anabaptism, Calvinism, and so on.
This is dead on. I know, I know, there is a difference between “Emergent” and “emerging”. Let us be honest–it is a semantic difference at best. In all reality “there is nothing new under the sun”. The emerging movement has demised and those who were part of it (whatever it was) has settled into pre-established ecclesiological categories. In fact, when Sojourners Magazine did a recent article on emergent titled “Is the Emergent Church for Whites Only?” I wondered if the next issue would address the “Jesus People” .
In my opinion Andrew Jones is asking the right question–“What is happening in the church, now?” It likely has to do little with European and North American evangelicals drifiting toward post-liberalism and more with global Christianity. In other words, read less Brian McLaren, more Philip Jenkins.
On a side note, it is funny how Pentecostalism–a movement that did not care about popular culture–is second to Catholicism globally (another movement that doesn’t care about culture, at least since the Enlightenment) in size. Ecclesiological movements that rise with the cultural tide also fall with it. Will we ever learn?