A popular seminary joke states that at any given moment, American mainstream culture is ten years behind Europe's, and American church culture is ten years behind that.

In a seeming attempt to prove the equation right, the Values Voters Summit in Washington included the "emergent church" in its list of "channels the adversary is using to bring America down."

Satan must be getting a little desperate. Ten years ago, when the "emerging church" conversation was in its heyday, the topic would have made more sense. But today, when the lines of "emerging," "emergent," and "emerged" are nearly meaningless, it seems severely out of step with the times.

It's also an interesting reminder of the development of ministry conversation over the past decade.

Sarah Pulliam Bailey quotes Tony Jones and Scot McKnight:

"'When I first saw this, I thought it was a headline from The Onion,' Jones said. 'Some people say the Emerging Church is dead, other people say the Emerging Church has spread so far it's just been absorbed into the fabric of the American church, so maybe that's what frightens these guys.'

But what [the Summit]considers to be part of the Emergent Church might include a wider definition … While hesitant to name names, Ally suggested that megachurch pastors Rick Warren, Bill Hybels and recently retired pastor John Piper could be considered emergent …

'It's an unaware perception of what's going on in the church today,' McKnight said. 'I'm thinking this is going to appeal to people who are 70 and above.'"

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