The church that the Simpsons attend is “The Western Branch of American Reform Presbylutheranism.” Presbylutherans are a product of Matt Groenig’s imagination, as far as I know. But fundagelicals, evangecostals, and presbycostals are totally not make-believe.
(Listen to Tim read aloud this blog post!) Those Christians really exist. Along with bapticostals, baptigelicals, cathodoxes, evangecostals, fundevangecostals, methobapterians, pentebaptists, baptimethocostals, and other tongue-twisters. I’ve catalogued at least 31 of these “blended” denomination names so far, one for every flavor in the Baskin-Robbins display case. Half of these blended denomination names have to do with the so-called emerging church, and I hope my readers who represent the emergent streams of postmodern Christianity will crack a smile at my comparison of denominations to ice creams.
Now these denomination names don’t, in the strictest sense, represent bonafide denominations. For the most part, these blended denominations are descriptive labels that people use to indicate a mixture of influences. Suppose you grew up Baptist and have since gone Pentecostal. You’ve got roots in both traditions, and so you might refer to yourself as a Bapticostal. Or maybe you attended evangelical churches for years before you switched into the emerging/emergent church stream. Bingo: evangemergent.
Maybe back in your parents’ or grandparents’ day, the denomination you were born into was the one you stuck with your whole life. Reminds me of the old Baptist saying: “I’m Baptist born and Baptist bred, and when I die, I’ll be Baptist dead.” (I can’t wait to research the history on that one!) But in this day and age, religious affiliations are a little more fluid. People are experimenting with different religious communities in the course of their spiritual life. Some people are putting a foot in each camp, attending multiple church services in order to experience a wider variety of Christian experience. Hey, if that’s someone’s story, then it’s good there are some funky denominational labels that can at least attempt to describe what’s going on.
While most of these compound words reflect two denominations, such as the way pentegelical represents Pentecostal and Evangelical, there are a couple that attempt to pack three different denominations into one word: fundevangecostal (fundamentalist, evangelical, and Pentecostal) and methobapticostal (Methodist, Baptist, and Pentecostal).
Then we come to the emerging/emergent church. These are Christians from a wide variety of backgrounds who, if they aren’t all asking the same questions, are least in a loosely knit dialogue with other question-askers. The sheer number of labels coined by these folks is a testament to the movement’s widespread appeal. Some of these blended denominations incorporate an initialism of the traditional denomination: AGmergent and UMergent (for the emergent folks in the Assemblies of God and United Methodist denominations). many of the other labels simply tack on “-mergent” to the front end of the denomination name: anglimergent, baptimergent, evangemergent, luthermergent, nazamergent, pentemergent, and reformergent. Then there are a few that are not so intuitive. Can you figure out the meaning behind convergent Friends and submergent? Each of those is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.
You can try to puzzle the meaning of these “-mergent” labels on your own, or you can make things easy on yourself and just scroll down a ways to see all the definitions of these terms in alphabetical order.
Even though this Dictionary focuses on the Christianese of the various Protestant churches and denominations, I’m including a couple of blended denominations that deal with the Roman Catholic church: cathodox (Catholic and Orthodox) and presbycatholic (Catholic and Presbyterian).
The last two blended denominations actually refer not to denominations but to theological positions: reformergent and Calvminian (Calvinist and Arminian). From what I know about the differences between Calvinism and Arianism, it really makes me scratch my head to see how Calvminian holds its own without imploding. One of these days I’ll have to find a Calvminian and get the skinny on how you combine those.
Well there are your 31 flavors of blended denominational ice cream. Do you know any other blended denominations that I haven’t mentioned above or defined below? Please let me know in the comments!
agmergent n. [AG ‘initialism for Assemblies of God’ + emergent] Also AGmergent. A Christian who identifies with aspects of the Assemblies of God denomination and the emerging church movement.
• 2008 agmergent.wordpress.com/about : This is a stream in a larger conversation about following Jesus, particularly in response to a shift toward postmodern thinking in the West. The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the Assemblies of God as a whole, and are not endorsed by the General Council of the Assemblies of God. 2008 emergentvillage.com : AGmergent: Assemblies of God/Pentecostal.
anglimergent n. [Anglican + emergent] A Christian who identifies with aspects of Anglicanism and the emerging church movement.
• 2007 Garrison Rising from the Ashes: Rethinking Church 000 : “Anglimergent” … The whole idea is to engage emerging church “conversation” across divides and within the Anglican communion. 2012 Tickle Emergence Christianity 86 : St. Greg’s, as it is known, is the oldest anglimergent congregation in the United States.
bapticostal n. [Baptist + Pentecostal] A Christian who identifies with aspects of the Baptist denomination and Pentecostalism; a conservative Christian who favors the use of charismatic gifts.
• 1992 Rambo The Legacy of Buck and Dottie Rambo 26 : He called me a Bapticostal because I was part Baptist and part Pentecostal. 1998 Annals of the Am. Academy of Political and Social Science vol. 558 110 : Members of the local community jokingly referred to the church as “AMEP” or “African Methodist Episcopal Pentecostal.” Sometimes the term “Bapticostal” was also used. 2006 Beaujon Body Piercing Saved My Life: Inside the Phenomenon of Christian Rock 181 : “My dad has always called himself a ‘Bapticostal,’ because he grew up Baptist, but most of his friends … were Pentecostals.” 2009 Walton Watch This!: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Black Televangelism 91 : Dancing, running the aisles, and audible moaning are just a few of the tangible expressions of parishioners’ experiential encounters with the divine. Insofar as this is the case, such congregations among the Baptist denominations have been playfully tagged as “Bapticostal.” 2010 Wardwell, Gibbons Youth Ministry Lessons I Learned the Hard Way 73 : How do you minister to the First United-Bapticostal-Wesleyocatholic student? In other words, the kid who attends every youth service in town.
baptigelical n. [Baptist + evangelical] A Christian who identifies with aspects of the Baptist denomination and the evangelical movement.
• 2008 weedon.blogspot.com (4 Apr.) : I was baptized E. Orthodox (at the mandate of my rural Ukrainian grandma), and grew up baptigelical (but I’m all better now).
baptimergent n. [Baptist + emergent] Also baptomergent [Baptist + o + emergent]. A Christian who identifies with aspects of the Baptist denomination and the evangelical movement.
• 2009 Roberts Baptimergent: Baptist Stories from the Emergent Frontier (title) : 2010 baptimergent.ning.com : An open-space for baptists who do not seem to fit common stereotypes, assumptions, categories, and expectations.
baptocatholic n. [Baptist + o + Catholic] A Christian who identifies with aspects of the Baptist denomination and Roman Catholicism.
• 1958 Thought XXXIII. 386 : High-Church Anglicanism has even taken on the name of Anglo-Catholic, and Kenneth Latourette, the outstanding Protestant church historian, with a smile calls himself a Bapto-Catholic. 2008 Jorgensen “Bapto-Catholicism: Recovering Tradition and Reconsidering the Baptist Identity” (dissertation) 121 : A range of terms—including “Bapto-Catholic,” “Catholic Baptists” and “Baptist Catholicity”—has been employed by theologians who look to the diverse contours of the Baptist story, and to the breadth of the Christian tradition, for the sake of discovering sources of renewal for Baptist life. 2010 Wood “Academic Convocation Address” (Providence College, Rhode Island) (15 Sep.) : I call myself a Bapto-Catholic. I believe that I have been called to bring the immense artistic and theological richness of the Catholic tradition to bear on the lives of my largely Protestant student audience at Baylor.
calvminian n. [Calvinist + Arminian] Also Calminian [Calvinist + Arminian]. A Christian who identifies with aspects of Calvinism and Arminianism.
• 2003 Burke Making Sense of Church: Eavesdropping on Emerging Conversations About God, Community, and Culture 134 : While the modern world would demand that one profess either Calvinism or Arminianism, the postmodern world seems to be able to accommodate bizarre new creations. One can be a Calvinist in the present reality and not spell anything. One can be a Calvminian or even a Presbycostal.
cathodox n. [Catholic + Orthodox] A Christian who identifies with aspects of the Roman Catholicism and the Eastern Orthodox tradition.
• 2002 angelfire.com/pa3/OldWorldBasic (28 Jan.) : The real centre of “Cathodox” church life, the traditional Liturgy/Mass, is what these people hunger for but perhaps they don’t realize it.
convergent Friends n. [conservative Friends (=Quakers) + emergent + Friends ‘common name for the Religious Society of Friends, also known as the Quakers’] A Christian who identifies with aspects of conservative Quakerism and the emerging church movement.
• 2005 robinmsf.blogspot.com (2 Nov.) : So I have a new idea for what to call the new conservative/liberal/open minded/plain/etc. sector of the Religious Society of Friends: Convergent Friends. 2006 robinmsf.blogspot.com (24 Jan.) : “Convergent Friends”: This is still my favorite phrase (so far) to describe the coming together of several strands of Quakerism…. Linguistically, it alludes to an affinity for both Conservative Friends and the Emergent Church. 2011 Abbott, Chijoke, Dandelion Hist. Dict. of the Friends (Quakers) 87 : Convergent Friends draw on what has become known as the emerging church, a movement of Christians who identify themselves as post-modern or post-secular in their orientation. Following this trend, “convergent” identifies individuals and meetings that seriously look for ways to make meaning of Quakerism within a post-modern culture.
emergematic n. [emergent + charismatic] A Christian who identifies with aspects of the emerging church and charismatic movements.
• 2007 squarenomore.blogspot.com (18 Jan.) : I suppose I’m really pentemergent, or better yet I think emergematic. I am convinced that pentecostals and emergents can all get along.
evangecostal n. [evangelical + Pentecostal] A Christian who identifies with aspects of evangelicalism and Pentecostalism.
• 2005 mannais.org (24 Apr.) : “I just really desired a church that was more contemporary and where we could allow the spirit to be utilized in a balanced but open way,” Bradford said. “I call myself an ‘evangecostal.’” 2007 Schroeder Walking in Your Anointing: Knowing That You Are Filled with the Holy Spirit 146 : [The Christian and Missionary] Alliance people are not sure whether they are pentegelical or evangecostal.
evangemergent n. [evangelical + emergent] A Christian who identifies with aspects of evangelicalism and the emerging church movement.
• 2008 mcroghan.blogspot.com (16 Oct.) : But to me, it just seemed like a natural thing. In many ways, the new network seems like it’s just “Evangemergent.” It’s a network of folks who are, de facto and by association, part of whatever this “church that is emerging” is becoming—but who don’t want to give up on some of the cherished distinctives of their traditional background. 2009 mikebellanti.blogspot.com (16 Feb.) : I can’t remember the title of the article but in it the author described himself as an “evangemergent,” combining the words evangelical with emergent.
fundagelical n. [fundamentalist + evangelical] A Christian who identifies with aspects of fundamentalism and evangelicalism.
• 1982 A View from the Loft vols. 5–8 : In Alabama, Fundagelicals—our modern day moral majoritarians—calling themselves Citizens for a Positive Education, banned the use of a social studies textbook on the grounds that it failed to extol the virtues of capitalism. 1985 Hoffmann “The Jewishness of Jesus” Humanistic Judaism 13/3 29 : Students … rather liked seeing their fundagelical friends scandalized at the suggestion that Christianity somehow derived its religious consequence from the Judaism of Jesus and his followers. 2002 Callaway Making Life Rich Without Any Money 155 : I grew up in a conservative community which some called Fundagelical. I realize the term may be a new one for you, so let me define it by saying that some in our congregation felt we shouldn’t evangelize the Amish because they dressed a bit too flashy. Of course I’m stretching things a little here. 2004 McLaren Capitalists and Conquerors: A Critical Pedagogy Against Empire 308 : Referring to President Bush as a “fundagelical,” John Sutherland places Bush among the growing extremists within the evangelical movement.
fundevangecostal n. [fundamentalist + evangelical + Pentecostal] A Christian who identifies with aspects of fundamentalism, evangelicalism, and Pentecostalism.
• 1995 Babinski Leaving the Fold: Testimonies of Former Fundamentalists 22 : Those groups that acknowledge being fundamentalist, along with many evangelicals and pentecostal groups…. These dedicated “fund-evange-costals” (to coin a term), therefore, constitute at least one out of every five Americans.
luthermergent n. [Lutheran + emergent] A Christian who identifies with aspects of Lutheranism and the emerging church movement.
• 2008 Tickle The Great Emergence: How Christianity Is Changing and Why 142 : They are the Presby-mergents, the Metho-mergents, the Angli-mergents, the Luther-mergents, and so on. 2010 Clark-Soles Engaging the Word: The New Testament and the Christian Believer 26 : Many denominations now have an emergent arm (Luthermergent, Presbymergent, Anglimergent, etc.) and the movement is thriving.
methobapticostal n. [Methodist + Baptist + Pentecostal] A Christian who identifies with aspects of Methodism, the Baptist denomination, and Pentecostalism.
• 1998 Lyon, Smith Tending the Flock 100 : The eclectic nature of the congregation is epitomized in its self-identification as an actively inclusive “Metho-bapticostal” body. 2001 Keener Gift and Giver: The Holy Spirit for Today 14 : I was ordained in a black Baptist church…. My Methodist cousins prayed me into the kingdom, and I taught for four years in an AME Zion seminary. (I therefore sometimes jest that I am a Methobapticostal.)
methomergent n. [Methodist + emergent] Also methodomergent [Methodist + o + emergent]. A Christian who identifies with aspects of Methodism and the emerging church movement.
• 2006 emergingumc.blogspot.com (4 May) : We’re talking about possibilities for a broader “methomergent” kind of site. 2008 onlywonder.com (28 Mar.) : What does it mean to be Methomergent? … This ultimately leads to the question of this post: What does it mean to live in the tension between serving as a pastor in the traditional United Methodist world and also being a part of the emergent world that envisions a new kind of church?
nazamergent n. [Nazarenes ‘colloquial name for the Church of the Nazarene’ + emergent] A Christian who identifies with aspects of the Church of the Nazarene and the emerging church movement.
pentegelical n. [Pentecostal + evangelical] Also pentagelical [Pentecostal + a + evangelical]. A Christian who identifies with aspects of Pentecostalism and evangelicalism.
• 2006 Gee When God Lets You Down: Trusting Again After Pain and Loss 66 : I often asked myself if I was a Pentecostal trapped inside an evangelical mind. Or was I an evangelical who had been set free by the Spirit? Pentecostalism appealed to my soul. Evangelicalism appealed to my intellect. Liturgical worship appealed to my imagination. I often felt like a “Pentegelical” or “Presbycostal.” 2007 Schroeder Walking in Your Anointing: Knowing That You Are Filled with the Holy Spirit 146 : [The Christian and Missionary] Alliance people are not sure whether they are pentegelical or evangecostal.
pentemergent n. [Pentecostal + emergent] A Christian who identifies with aspects of Pentecostalism and the emerging church movement.
• 2007 philwyman.blogspot.com (8 May) : I have a little Emergent in me, and yet I still have the Charismatic/Pentecostal in me. So I am looking to find how these divergent worlds fit together. I guess we’ll see if I end up Pentemergent or Emergematic.
presbycatholic n. [Presbyterian + Catholic] A Christian who identifies with aspects of Presbyterianism and Roman Catholicism.
• 2003 strangefamousrecords.com (3 Sep.) : As for me, I’m a member of the St. Ron’s 34th Day Adventists Presbycatholic Evangelical … Church of Christ. 2005 Feherty An Idiot for All Seasons 179 : Yes, my tiny flock, I am now Rear Cardinal of the brand-spanking-new Hasidic Presbycatholic Church of St. Arnold-on-the-Green (none of the fun, all of the guilt, but half the price). 2005 ianblanchard.xanga.com (24 Sep.) : As I have frequently joked, I am a Presbycatholic. There are many disagreements I have with the Protestant church; I even take issue with sola fide. But if you can find a more fervent advocate of sola gratia, introduce me that I may learn from him. 2007 cordelia-naismith.xanga.com (8 Jan.) : I was raised in the PresbyCatholic tradition: the one where you can say the rosary in three languages and subscribe to the Westminster Confession, go to St. Dominic’s Ash Wednesday and Christ Presbyterian the following Sunday without apparent conflict. I believed in predestination and I carried a St. Christopher medal. I still hesitate in the Lord’s Prayer, trying to remember whether it’s “debts” or “trespasses.” 2013 tadmonroe.com (23 Jan.) : My institution is the Presbyterian Church USA, but I have very little interest in institutions. My spirituality—which is where the religious rubber meets the road, is a deeply Ecumenical experience. I have joked that I am a Presbycostal or a Presbycatholic.
presbycostal n. [Presbyterian + Pentecostal] A Christian who identifies with aspects of Presbyterianism and Pentecostalism.
• 1999 Stark Life Directions 101 : Actually, those who know me best understand that I’m a flaming “Presbycostal.” 2003 Burke Making Sense of Church: Eavesdropping on Emerging Conversations About God, Community, and Culture 134 : While the modern world would demand that one profess either Calvinism or Arminianism, the postmodern world seems to be able to accommodate bizarre new creations. One can be a Calvinist in the present reality and not spell anything. One can be a Calvminian or even a Presbycostal. 2006 Gee When God Lets You Down: Trusting Again After Pain and Loss 66 : I often asked myself if I was a Pentecostal trapped inside an evangelical mind. Or was I an evangelical who had been set free by the Spirit? Pentecostalism appealed to my soul. Evangelicalism appealed to my intellect. Liturgical worship appealed to my imagination. I often felt like a ’Pentegelical’ or ’Presbycostal.’ 2011 Peterson The Pastor: A Memoir 215 : But something was going on, incrementally, that formed an identity that vocationally fused Pentecostal and Presbyterian. Later I learned that there was a name for it: presbycostal.
presbymergent n. [Presbyterian + emergent] A Christian who identifies with aspects of Presbyterianism and the emerging church movement.
• 2009 emergentvillage.com (18 Feb.) : Presbymergent grew from The Mainline Emergent/s conference in January 2007 at Columbia Theological Seminary, organized by Troy Bronsink. That conversation fashioned thoughts of what it means to be a loyal Presbyterian and a part of the Emergent Village. 2011 presbymergent.org/about (28 Feb.) : Presbymergent is the online community for those who live in both the Presbyterian (PCUSA) and Emergent/emerging church worlds and want to try and find a balance between the two.
reformergent n. [reformed + emergent] A Christian who identifies with aspects of the reformed tradition and the emerging church movement.
• 2008 emergentvillage.com (28 Mar.) : Reformergent: This group is somewhat different from the others because it’s “interested in the interaction between Reformed theology and the emerging church movement.” 2009 Gibbs ChurchMorph: How Megatrends Are Shaping Christian Communities 74 : A new blog called “Reformergent” seeks to find common ground between Reformed theology and the emerging church, focusing mainly on theological interaction.
submergent n. [submarine ‘alluding to the anabaptist practice of baptism by immersion’ + emergent] A Christian who identifies with aspects of the anabaptist tradition and the emerging church movement.
UMergent n. [UM ‘initialism for United Methodist’ + emergent] A Christian who identifies with aspects of United Methodism and the emerging church movement.
• 2011 Jones The New Christians: Dispatches from the Emergent Frontier 241n33 : Several online groups (Presbymergent, UMergent, and Anglimergent) have sprung up to explore the possibilities of bringing emergent thinking to bear on the legacy denominations.