There is no emerging church (singular) there are only emerging churches (plural). The Emerging church implies a monolithic entity. There are new forms of church that are emerging but they have diverse ecclesiologies and other theologies. There is strong desire and effort within peoples questions about the emergingg church conversationn and movement to try and figure out or categorize or label what is happening in this movement. Those in my opinion are modernistic tools that help us bring control to our environments. Emerging churches (not the Emerging Church singular) are still emerging, evolving, developing and discovering who they are and they are diverse and have a deep ecclesiologyogy. This is due to the changing cultural landscape that the church finds itself in. Ecclesia, the church, is not a heavenly Platoinic form it is a fluid structure that morphs depending upon what culture it finds itself in. That is the heart of the incarnationion. The emergence of new church forms is rooted in the reorientation of church around Missio Dei, the mission of God, as one of the primary characteristics God and thereforeore also that of the church. As the Father has sent me so I send you, says Jesus.
Take our church that is emerging out of our particular context, history and story. In no particular order - the Open Door is an emerging, Reformed, missional, justice seeking, charismatic, liturgical, contemplative, ecumenical, evangelistic, innovative church community. On our web site under our beliefs we list the Apostles creed. Is that Reformed, evangelical, charismatic or ecumenical? Depends who you talk to. I am comfortable with the some what ambiguous and eclectic theology ecclesiology that we have. I think we are entering into (if we have not already arrived) a post-denominational time. This requires some Christian pluralism and eccumenical partnerships. Recently Dr. John Franke compared our time to the Reformation. The only thing we had in common as Protestants is that we thought the Catholic Church was not the best way forward. If there is a similarity to our time I think we are saying the denominational Christendom church is not the best way forward. Our context requires our theology and ecclesiology to reform once again. What is concerning for a lot of folks is that the future is unknown and uncertain and the power and control of the known church is being threatened. So our human response to those threats is to grab back control and return to what we know and are familiar with. This is my theory on why some want to categorize things. If we can label and categorize the movement of the Emerging churches or any other for that matter, then we can control it or them.
Don't get me wrong, modern categories are not bad I just think much of life is lived "on the way" and we discover things on the journey and in process of following after Jesus. If we hold categories too tightly they begin to define us and we become less malleable in the hand of God and less willing to move where the Spirit blows. Categories and labels tend to impinge and restrict the church instead of free and release us into the mission of God.