I have thought for some time that some people are self-titled "emerging," others call themselves "emerging," and some are "emerging" though they don't care, or don't know it, or don't want to admit it. Guys like Mark Driscoll and Tim Keller I put somewhere in that last category.
But Driscoll has been quoted as saying,
Let me agree that much of the church today is incredibly frustrating. Personally, when I hear so many young guys denying substitutionary atonement and the like after drinking from the emerging church toilet I turn green and my clothes don't fit. However, let me say though that we need to stay on mission.
Does this mean he is trying to distance himself from the emerging church and say he isn't a part of it, or that he is trying to pull the emerging church in his direction by distancing himself from parts of it (like notable authors), or something else?
Sure, some pastors and churches are angry that I'm not putting my weight behind their mission but in the end...I won't stand before them for judgment and they won't stand before me, so I just let it go and keep pushing ahead until I see Jesus and he can separate sheep and goats and hand out rewards to the faithful. In the meantime, I refuse to get off my ladder but keep my sword close by and if a wolf shows up in my flock then I draw my sword but not until then.
While Driscoll seems to be doing much to not even use the word "emerging," it doesn't appear to me that he is abandoning the emerging church as worthless. He is trying to be faithful in his context to lead his church and influence The Church in whatever way God gives him opportunity. As he says...
What I'm finding is that if I stay on my mission eventually a platform gets big enough that you kind of just have permission to do your thing and others respect you even if they don't like you.
So it seems to me that Driscoll is "emerging" in the generic sense that he is missional to the postmodern (so to speak) culture, and in the sense that he still desires to influence (in some way) the conversation. Whether he means to or not, there is no doubt he has influence in the emerging church conversation. But he obviously isn't "emerging" in the sense that he doesn't care to push or carry the papers of a movement.
Mark, if someone points this out to you, I'd love you to set the record straight.
Read Missional Church Part 1