Each view underlies one basic understanding of the Emerging Church: we are living and ministering in a postmodern age, we better catch up. Most Emergents come out of a "modern" church full of propositions and theological doctrines. The Emerging Church, then, offers narratives and general truths to live by. They seek to be relevant to the current culture and this book makes that very clear.
Brian McLaren, perhaps the most known Emergent in America, argues that the Church must be willing to change their method, but not their message. The problem, however, quickly becomes apparent: he has begun to water down the message. He refers to the gospel, not as propositional truth or a state of beliefs and convictions, but to a story. A story? Whatever he means precisely about this and how it affects one’s standing before God is uncertain. He seems to question penal substitution as something invented by Christians within the past few centuries.
Erwin McManus, on the other hand, emphasizes relevance. We must hold firm to the past, be present in the now, and preparing for the future. This all sounds nice, but his theology too is a bit water-down. Like McLaren, he seeks to win over the culture,but in the process abandons the faith. He questions why we have gone from a theology of missions to a more systematic theology. Again, fear of absolutes.
Perhaps the overall theme in response to the main question would be: relevance now, theology later.