Here’s a thought—at least my thought: For a while now [getting on for twenty years] the ‘Missional Movement’ has encouraged local churches to ‘reach out’–in ‘whatever-which-way’–often heralding the mantra of ‘belonging before believing’. Of course Christ followers get it. Who would not want those who don’t know Christ to remain outside the influence of the Gospel that SAVES? Who would deliberately make it difficult for those outside the church entry into it–to saving faith in Christ?
‘Emergent [Church]’ ideas have also been around for a while now; the question to ask now though is: What is it that has been emerging? How can it best be described? What is it achieving? And, last but not least: What are the ‘statistics’ emerging from it–in terms of those coming to faith in Christ and going on to maturity in that faith?. It could be argued [and I do] that–what, it most likely, has achieved is the weakening of the Church [i.e. the people and not the building]. Could it be that this ‘idea’–especially ‘belonging before believing’ has been one of the major reasons the church has been in decline—for it has encouraged a culture in which major Biblical Truths have been marginalised–producing a ‘mind-set in which the Christians within the ‘Emerging Church have, due to the notion that just ‘being church’ is all that is needed–that this will be the catalyst for ‘growth. and not the proclamation of the Gospel–making excuses—seldom proclaiming the Gospel—allowing itself to be marginalized by social mores etc.
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the Power of God for salvation to everyone who believes…whosoever].” Romans 1:16