Monday, June 12, 2006
While checking out the North Park Theological Seminary web site, I found this really interesing article in their news section: "Reluctant Pastor Describes 'Long Spiritual Struggle.'"
Becky Erickson felt called to go to seminary, but didn't want to. After a long battle with God over the matter, she decides to go, and it turned out to be a blessing for all involved.
There's a couple of interesting points in this article:
1. A women pays attention to the call God has put on her life, and it turns out to be a great blessing.
2. Yes, God calls people to go to seminary, even (horror of horrors!) conservative, Bible-believing women.
In the emerging church movement, there is a luke-warm attitude towards seminaries, and I think for good reason. However, there are still some wonderful, conservative, Bible-believeing semenaries out there, like North Park, that take their training and equipping ministry very seriouisly.
A point that some in the emerging movement take great pains to mention is that the emerging church is not meant to take the place of previous movements, but compliment them, and expand upon them. There will always be a need for the traditional local church with pastor, choir, Sunday School and so forth, and there is a whole group of people who need that type of structure. Certainly the Catholic Church didn't fold-up and go out-of-business simply because Martin Luther & Co. had that little reformation thing back in the 16th century. Not only are the Catholics still around, amazingly it seems they are doing better than ever, while the Reformers are tyring to deal with diminished market share.
From my viewpoint, it seems that the emerging church has a very particular, yet very important niche to fill. It doesn't seem God is calling the emerging church to replace all that's gone before it, but to go to those for whom the more formal, traditional church is unable to reach or deal with.
In a way, the emerging church is called to be God's trash collectors. All those considered to be "trash" or "losers" by traditional religious institutions should be able to find a place in the more liquid, organic structure of the emerging church, and even prosper in that sort of environment. I know I'm certainly one of them.