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The Emergent/Emerging Church Movement (ECM) is eclectic and broad based, so is very difficult to label. Imagine it as a huge American-style multi-lane freeway; all lanes of traffic are heading in the same direction, towards the same destination, but some lanes of traffic are travelling faster than others. On the freeway of the ECM people like Rick Warren are probably best described as being generally in the slow lane most of the time, so he can keep saying he is an “evangelical” without most Christians batting an eyelid. However he does “flirt” (dice) with the middle lanes from time to time, and has even been spotted cruising in the outside fast lane, but he tends to do that mostly under the cover of darkness, so it is more difficult to catch his licence plate! Warren must have been driving in the outside fast lane with his headlights turned off when he had Leonard Sweet in the passenger seat for their 1994 joint audio teaching titled Tides of Change, because very few “evangelicals” seemed to notice, or even care.

Brian McLaren

ECM leader (and very obvious New Age heretic) Brian McLaren just spends all his time exceeding the speed limit in the outside lane with his hand on the horn, so no one can ignore him! Wherever the ECM is headed McLaren is leading the way and wants to get there first and make a name for himself in the process. Where is the ECM freeway headed? McLaren gives us the very clear answer to that question. The ECM freeway is headed off the God-given map. In his book Church on the Other Side McLaren explains the objective of the ECM:

We are “exploring off the map” – looking into mysterious territory beyond our familiar world on this side of the river, this side of the ocean, this side of the boundary between modern and postmodern worlds. We are looking into an exciting, unmapped world on the other side of all we know so far (pages 7-8).

Rob Bell

In spite of this admission McLaren continues to be accepted by much of the “evangelical” world Rob Bell on the other hand weaves in and out of the middle lanes and the outside fast lane, so it has at times been difficult to keep up with him, or pin a precise label on him. Nevertheless, all lanes of the ECM freeway are headed in the same direction; some people will just arrive quicker than others at their destination.

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