Whether it appears in the by-laws of a congregation or in the catalog of an educational institution, a “statement of faith” tends to stop conversation. Such statements can also easily become tools for manipulating or excluding people from the community. Too often they create an environment in which real conversation is avoided out of fear that critical reflection on one or more of the sacred propositions will lead to excommunication from the community. Emergent seeks to provide a milieu in which others are welcomed to join in the pursuit of life “in” the One who is true (1 John 5:20). Giving into the pressure to petrify the conversation in a “statement” would make Emergent easier to control; its critics could dissect it and then place it in a theological museum alongside other dead conceptual specimens the curators find opprobrious. But living, moving things do not belong in museums. Whatever else Emergent may be, it is a movement committed to encouraging the lively pursuit of God and to inviting others into a delightfully terrifying conversation along the way.
I think its great on a number of levels. First, it ticks of all Emergent Critics who are trying to pin down their beliefs only to rip into them. I think the reasons Sholts posted are pretty valid but there are a few concerns posted below that I think are good also. Of course the critics don’t want to really interact with it all, they just think its “stupid.” Only enhancing the idea that its probably better that they don’t. It’s interesting how easy it is to tell those that are just looking for something to rip into and those that are actually seeking truth and looking to encourage and seek together. There is also a few other good posts responding to this statement, positive and negative.