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February 17, 2006


Clint Walker

This was interesting....and kinda sad.

I am not as offended as you are with this whole thing, but I can understand why you are frustrated.

I think it is important to remember that emergent folks do the same thing. Attacking evangelicals and evangelical theology. Raging against the religious right.

I think that it is also important to note that John McArthur and the Emergent Church (and Saddleback, seeker senstitive, evangelical etc) are all brands. They are all simply marketing schemes for an audience they desire to appeal to.

It is all just church as business instead of church as gospel.

There are issues where I fall more in line with the Emergent folks, and some where I am more evangelical, and some where I am way to the liberal end of things (say immigration law for example).

I guess more and more I don't seek to be part of a certain group, but just be faithful in my life and in my neck of the woods.

Which you are probably doing better at than me these days.

Mike DeVries

Thanks for the comments. The more I thought about the post through the day, I wondered if I had "bled" a little too much. Perhaps I have.

I think what has broken my heart is the tone and the rhetoric in which was used. I can also agree that I've seen many things written in the name of the emerging church that have likewise been of a hurtful and hateful tone and rhetoric. My disgust centers more on the "spiritual elitism" that seems to be all too evident of today. It appears to be very elitist, domineering, and quite arrogant in its approach. I am just fearful that this is the picture that is being portrayed for the majority of people out there looking at what Christianity is all about.

So, is the tone and rhetoric faithful to the teachings and life of Jesus? I just struggle to say "yes".

It brings to mind a few quotes...

How did so few come to speak for so many. - Rob Bell

I know there are many in the Protestant-Evangelical camp who are appalled at the concept of the Pope speaking "ex cathedra." So why is is that we allow, or give freedom to a few in evangelical circles to speak the same way..."ex cathedra"...as if they are the only ones who speak, teach, write and preach with absolute clarity? - Rhett Smith [posted here in reference to another issue]

Rhett Smith

ahhh..it's a day for bleeding!


I just feel disheartened... I think somehow there is a lot of fear involved. Fear on both sides, fear of the unknown, of the future. Fear that somehow we have missed the boat, which ever side the boat may be on. Somehow we don't feel that God is big enough to question, that causing people to really question what they believe might somehow devastate the entire world church. That fear seems to turn into a tight grip on whatever truth that one deems to be true. In order to let go of that grip one must be willing to actually hear the other side, maybe question what they are clinging to and spend some time with nothing to hold onto. That is an uncomfortable place and I think that very few spend enough time there, self included...

Clint Walker

I think there is a lot of fear involved actually.

I think that evangelical churches think that emergent folks are recruiting from their constituencies...which I think is partly true with some, but not true of all.

And, the evangelical movement has made its bread and butter on the idea that praxis can change, but the theological underpinnings cannot. Again...true to a point, but people like MacArthur and Colson have a hard time seeing how much their theology is based on their experience.

Mike, is there other stuff that is going on that is driving this as well.

Wes Ellis

Why did you make me read this... (just kidding) I'm so exhausted with all the bashing and criticism. The real problem isn't that we disagree, that's always gonna happen, the problem is we don't know how. I am searching for a way to disagree and still remain united. It breaks my heart too, mike. It frustrates me and frankly sometimes I just wish I could quit. Sometimes, I wish I could just go back to my fundamentalism where the fundamentalists would accept me again and the emergents would have patience (as they always seem to do). But I can't. I wouldn't. I love the Jesus I see now; a Jesus I never knew before. I love the Bible more now than ever before, how could MacArthur or anyone else say I am attacking it? I don't know that I want to associate with any side of the line but I know where I fit in. I know what I have been labeled and I think that's what bothers me the most.

Sorry about the rant... this post just hit me at the right time (or wrong time).

Zach Lind

Great thoughts Mike. I'm with you all the way.


I hate religion when it trys to position itself. I believe this takes us further and further away from what God intended us to be and do.

Do we really think that those that are outside the fold really give a rip about what camp we are in. I spent many years defending "camps" and won't go there again.

I am finding it increasingly difficult to focus on good in a religious environment. I find that most of the time it serves only to distract.

Derek Frenzel

I'm going to switch gears from my normal position here regarding the "emergent church." I've read the books and heard the debates and it would appear that too much of who they are and what they represent is to set themselves apart from the mainstream fundamentalist established church- they're disenchanted and want to right the way that they and the world have been wronged. There has been some pretty sharp criticism on their side (in addition to harsh words on the fundie side) to business as usual. The problem is that they've managed to define themselves (or be defined) as the "opposition party"; they have questionable autonomy and a perception as being rebels of the mainstream. Now the issue isn't about how we ought to engage the world, but rather who is right and more importantly, who is going to win this debate. This fight could have been a revival and a natural evolution of the church if rather than trying to challenge what was wrong with the mainstream church in the form of a movement, they just lived out the principles they stood for and inspired others. Maybe that's what they did and the fundies freaked. Maybe once the label of "emergent" is given by whomever, it's a scarlet letter and there's no way to avoid being accused of crimes against Christianity. I don't know. I just seems like we've been dialoguing for a while. Is the end in sight so that we can move on to bigger things like welcoming the lost into the kingdom of heaven?

Derek Frenzel

Sorry, the last line was too sarcastic.

Travis Scott

Funny point Derek. So many names and "types" of Christians. We cannot even co-exist on our own level and worship God together and we want the world to follow, right?!

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