strawmanSaw an interesting and disturbing post over on Slice today. It’s a profile of Phil Wyman, a pastor in Salem, Massachusetts. Apparently Mr Wyman was kicked out of his denomination for confusing reaching out to Wiccans with trying to help Christians embrace these poor, misunderstood people. Seeing as how I’m not God, I won’t claim to know Mr Wyman’s spiritual state, but it would appear that he’s got some pretty whacked-out beliefs.

All in all, it’s pretty creepy stuff.

Almost as creepy as the Slice post title (emphasis mine):

Evangelicals and Wiccans Together? Emerging Pastor Fascinated by Witches/Pagans

Nowhere does the word “emerging” appear in any of the links provided on that post. Nowhere does any derivative of that word appear. Nowhere does any reference to any emerging leaders appear. Nowhere does any allusion whatsoever to anything even remotely emerging appear.

Even in the post itself, even the author could only muster a sixteenth-hearted (it wasn’t even close to half-hearted) attempt to somehow tie Wyman to emerging beliefs.

So tell me again, why should I take anything that she says about emerging seriously?

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008 at 7:00 pm and is filed under Emergent Church, ODM Responses, What Can You Say?. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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19 Comments(+Add)

1   Keith
January 22nd, 2008 at 9:31 pm

The church’s website does use the word “postmodern”…and their methods do seem quite unconventional.

Just sayin’.

2   Joe Martino
January 22nd, 2008 at 10:00 pm

Keith, I’m asking because I didn’t go to the website. Did you see the term ermerging/emergent there?

3   M.G.    
January 22nd, 2008 at 10:12 pm

My graduate program in philosophy talked about post-modernism sometimes and had some distinctive qualities. Who knew a bunch of secular professors were emergent?


4   Keith
January 22nd, 2008 at 10:14 pm

No. I looked at several pages (not very easily; the site isn’t layed/laid out very well) and the exact term “emerging” or “emerging” didn’t appear.

I imagine CRN made the “connection” because of the use of the word “postmodern” and other content from the site that certainly leans toward a non-conventional form of worship/evangelism.
I’m not sure I’d view them as emergent as much as I would “off the wall.” “Whacked out” was the term I believe Brandt used. I’d have to agree.

I guess in this case, if I were emergent, I’d be afraid people would read their website and think WE’RE LIKE THEM! That would be bad.

5   Bruce Gerencser
January 22nd, 2008 at 10:39 pm

let’s give Phil Wyman some space without hanging him just like SOL.

Granted his ministry philosophy seems very unique :)

Without knowing a lot about it I suspect his notion that Wiccans are judged wrongly has some merit. we think wiccan=wicked witch of the east

I think it would be very hard to truly understand the scope of this guys ministry without going there and spending some time.

Now that doesn’t mean we won’t talk about it in the mean time :)

Emergent is rapidly becoming like the word Christian. Means anything and everything and as a result it means nothing

6   merry    
January 23rd, 2008 at 12:24 am

I think “emergant” is just a general term they use for any Christian whose theology they don’t agree with, genuinely emergent or not. Kind of like “autistism” is a general term used to describe people with a wide range of learning disabilities.

Whether Wiccans are judged wrongly or not, I don’t know, but I do know genuine Wicca is something that should not be messed with . . . quite the opposite of Christians beliefs and morals. I’m all good with teaching Wiccans the gospel. You don’t have to be emergent or a post modernist to do that! Just so you aren’t sucked into their beliefs. :)

7   Brendt
January 23rd, 2008 at 6:47 am

I looked at several pages (not very easily; the site isn’t layed/laid out very well)…

Yeah, they need a visit from Vincent Flanders.

8   Brendt
January 23rd, 2008 at 7:01 am

I imagine CRN made the “connection” because of the use of the word “postmodern” and other content from the site that certainly leans toward a non-conventional form of worship/evangelism.

Credit where credit is due. It was Slice that made the “connection”.

Depending on the context of “postmodern”, that word may be irrelevant. If it was referring to the society, Western society is postmodern, regardless of your views on if/how the church should react to that fact.

Assuming that was the context, the rest of the definition (”non-conventional form of worship/evangelism”) would mean that Fred Phelps is also emergent. ;-)

Although, in retrospect, the ludicrousness of that would probably be lost on Slice/C?N, as (one would hope) they probably look down on Phelps’ methods, too.

9   Brendt
January 23rd, 2008 at 7:13 am

Bruce, I don’t really think anybody here is hanging him.

It does seem that the general consensus is that there’s not a real need to dig into this much further, as Wyman seems so far out there, that it’s improbable that someone not in his situation could gain much.

Which, of course, is completely anti-thetical to what the ODMs preach about us — how we allegedly embrace anything and everything.

Gee, maybe that means we’re being discerning. ;-)

10   Matt
January 23rd, 2008 at 8:06 am

To be fair, Tony Jones did speak at a conference sponsored by Bill Wyman, called “God for people who hate the church.”

In his blog (Bill Wyman has about 3 of them), he as the Emergent Village logo.

There is quite a difference between emerging and emergent, though.

11   pastorboy
January 23rd, 2008 at 8:45 am

I read the entire site, and nowhere does he say emergent/emerging, though his blog is more indicative of the fact that he holds to some emergent ideals to be fair.

I think the idea of reaching out to Wiccans is frightening, yet I think it is exactly what we are supposed to do! They are not followers of Christ, therefore we should be trying to reach them of the Gospel. If Wyman can do that without practicing syncretism (which would be really scary, like bringing together Islam, Jews, and Christians)

I spent most of my early years in outreach ministering to Wiccans and Pagans and Goth kids. They were very misguided, yet very sensitive to things of the Spirit. We need to befriend them while standing for the truth of the Gospel. Today, I know very few of them, and I spend more time trying to win Hindus, Buddhists, and the Religious lost, which are just as difficult to reach, but just as lost as the Wiccan. So I don’t see the difference, as long, again, as we stand strong for our faith, and do not compromise just to make friends.

12   Brendt
January 23rd, 2008 at 8:46 am

Matt, not to discredit your statement but two things occur to me.

1) The tag/logo is “Friend of Emergent Village”. Mark Driscoll is friends with Doug Pagitt, but only those obsessed with incessantly defecating on Driscoll think he’s emergent.

2) I’ll run naked down the interstate at rush hour if the Slice author used that tag as her “reason” for labeling Wyman as emergent.

There’s an image seared into your brain for eternity. No extra charge. ;-)

13   Matt B
January 23rd, 2008 at 8:51 am

My point was that no, the guy isn’t emerging. Your original post about it was correct.

I’m just pointing something out before Ken Silva does. :)

14   Zachary Forrest y Salazar
January 23rd, 2008 at 9:42 am

I know Pastor Wyman, and considering the fact that my Mother-in-law is Wiccan, I can tell you that this pastor isn’t “whacked out.” He wouldn’t want me defending him, he’s very capable when it comes to theological discussion. Suffice it to say, I think before you start to judge the man, you should go and talk with him yourself.

Trust me, he’ll email you back.

15   Bruce Gerencser
January 23rd, 2008 at 10:36 am


I am off now to see my psychiatrist.

I can’t get the picture of you running naked down the interstate out of my head :)

talk about being free in Christ.

Bruce :)

16   pastorboy
January 23rd, 2008 at 10:46 am


I think that is called lust. No need for a psychotherapist, just repent 8^}

17   Brendt
January 23rd, 2008 at 10:50 am

Matt, true dat.

Zachary, good to know that what I said “appeared” to be the case isn’t necessarily so. My overall point still holds, though.

Bruce, sorry about that, chief.

18   Zachary Forrest y Salazar
January 23rd, 2008 at 5:25 pm

I don’t take anything Ingrid says seriously; however, Wyman does identify with “emerging” thought. You can find more here.

19   Matt B
January 23rd, 2008 at 5:27 pm

Zach, that would be “emergent” thought. Not emerging.