Last weekend I attended a conference about “Emergence Christianity” with featured speaker Phyllis Tickle talking about the ideas she presents in her books The Great Emergence: How Christianity is Changing and Why and Emergence Christianity. What is the Great Emergence or Emergence Christianity? (Not to be confused with Emergent Christianity, though there is some overlap). Emergence Christianity is this idea that recognizes the pattern in Christianity (and other religions) that every 500 years there is a reformation, a big change, a new form of Christianity that *emerges* out of the old form. We can see this pattern readily in both Judaism and Christianity, take a look (~ approximate dates):
Jesus (~0) –> Chalcedon/Gregory the Great/Fall of Rome (~500) –> The Great Schism (~1000) –> The Great Reformation (~1500) –> *NOW*
And before this, in Judaism we can see a similar pattern. Five hundred years before 70AD was the Babylonian Captivity and five hundred years before that was the end of the judges and the start of the Davidic Monarchy.
The main difference between all the other reformations of Christianity and *now* is that now we are AWARE of the change that we’re going through. We have the benefit of history, the pattern, the ease of the spread of information, an educated and literate people-force, an anticipation of change and the ability to consciously steer where this reformation goes. All of this is unprecedented. All of this positions us at an optimal place to effect positive change. And that is exciting! It means that what we do NOW matters more than ever for the Kingdom, for the world and for the future of faith. We can make this a Greater Reformation than all the rest. Hopefully we’ll make it a more peaceful one. I look forward to seeing and contributing to the fresh expressions of Christianity that emerge out of this unique time of change in our generation.
I should note that I was also pleasantly surprised to talk with so many pastors, authors and leaders who are favorable to a fulfilled covenantal view of eschatology, mainly due to the good work of the folks at Presence Ministries and Max King’s books and teaching videos. I also spoke with many people who were not familiar but who were open and interested in learning more.
Some of the other highlights of the conference were:
There wee also a number of amazing pecha kucha style presentations see here.