I think the Editor at CRN may need to brush up on his talking points.  In the span of the last two days we have been treated to three stories on the Emerging Church.  The first one says that Emergent thinking is swallowing youth.  Oh no!  Sounds scary, right?

The next story says the Emerging Church is receding.  Phew, that was close!

Wait, what’s this?  This article says that Brian McLaren “continues to gain more and more acceptance within the mainstream evangelical camp”.  Oh no!  Panic again!

As a reader, I wonder who edits the Editor?  We got a story to sell here boys!  Either the EC means impending doom, or it can be laughed off.  Let’s get our facts straight for once.

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This entry was posted on Monday, February 18th, 2008 at 7:15 pm and is filed under Church and Society, Editor, Emergent Church, ODM Responses, ODM Writers, 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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26 Comments(+Add)

1   David C    http://davidcho.blogspot.com
February 18th, 2008 at 8:10 pm

This is why I have changed my position to come out in favor of Christians taking meds (if they are properly diagnosed ) and having a drink every now and then. At times it seems that we can use some meds and drinks more than anyone else.

2   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
February 18th, 2008 at 10:55 pm

Phil,
When I read this I kept thinking about “waves” or like tides coming and going… hmmm sort of like Ephesians 4:14

Well that is what I get from the ODM’s, they claim God is sovereign then run around claiming that God’s church is being so damaged by whatever “fad” they see as bad.

iggy

3   merry    
February 18th, 2008 at 11:06 pm

Here’s Ephesians 4:15 as well! :)

15Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.

4   Henry (Rick) Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
February 19th, 2008 at 7:32 am

And Iggy points out the elephant in the room, the large, confusing, and illogical elephant. If you are a Calvinist/reformed in your theology then what does it matter if the non-elect construct aberrant doctrine? They are born and destined to live their entire lives in aberrant theology without any God given hope of repentance.

While Calvinists want to shade the implications of their theology by saying we “misrepresent” their position, they are stuck with the systematic elephant in the room. The entire doctrinal battle is of no eternal use, it doesn’t help Christians to stay saved and it doesn’t allow a sinner who isn’t elected to hear and respond to the truth.

Imagine a man falling from a 200 story building. There is no way to save him but you energetically set up a booth on the ground complete with written transcripts of the things you are shouting at this man as he falls. These are some of the things you shout at this man:

Hey, you are headed the wrong way!
Mr. Smith, that is not the correct way to teach others!
Hey, stop falling you compromising man lover!

How ridiculous, right? But when you think about it Paul corrected and taught doctrine in the New Testament, even rebuking false teachers. What does that tell you about Paul?

Free will, baby, free will.

Now, to be fair, there is a way to speak strong correction without getting personal and many reformed guys do, but some speak the truth packaged in self serving rhetoric designed to draw attention to themselves and not the issues. And then there are the reformed people who will not allow a woman to be an elder, not allow her to be a pastor, and teaxh that she should not e the head of her house. But they support a non-elder, non-pastor, and non family head to speak personally and caustically and even sacrcastically to any ordaine pastor or elder she deems necessary.

That is one of the greatest and most blatant acts of doctrinal hypocrisy practiced in the church today. Regardless of what Ken says and the methods he uses he is on sound Biblical ground as an ordained elder. No woman can act in the Biblical calling of a man, no matter what theology she espouses. So the parameters of “orthodoxy” can be expanded subjectivly when it helps your own cause.

Please provide me with a list in church history of the women who rebuked and corrected men in positions of pastoral leadership. Most women preachers today are in the charismatic genre. I am still looking for Mrs. Ravenhill’s ODM blog.

5   jazzact13    http://jazzact13.blogspot.com/
February 19th, 2008 at 10:30 am

So, let me see…

One entries says the movement as a whole is wanning, but another says that one person is that movement is increasing in popularity; thus, the second is said to refute the first?

Also, one the says the movement is wanning, but another says that the movement is (still) misleading youth; thus, somehow the second is said to refute the first?

Sorry, not seeing any contradictions here. Something can still be losing popularity, maybe losing some followers or not be blindly accepted by all, yet still have some influence and still gain new followers. And, a movement can be in decline and still have one spokesperson still be popular and accepted.

6   Henry (Rick) Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
February 19th, 2008 at 10:34 am

Correction – the movement is not waning, that is just wishful thinking. It may be morphing.

7   Phil Miller    http://veritasfellowship.blogspot.com
February 19th, 2008 at 10:35 am

Jazz,
Saying something is waning and increasing in popularity is self-contradictory. The fact is the actual facts of the matter don’t really matter to the editor, it’s just whatever fits his agenda at the time.

8   jazzact13    http://jazzact13.blogspot.com/
February 19th, 2008 at 10:39 am

Perhaps the should have been ‘waning’, but that doesn’t seem right, either.

9   jazzact13    http://jazzact13.blogspot.com/
February 19th, 2008 at 10:41 am

–Saying something is waning and increasing in popularity is self-contradictory.–

Except that’s not what being said. The movement is said to be waning, but McLaren is said to be gaining popularity. There is nothing contradictory in those statements.

10   Phil Miller    http://veritasfellowship.blogspot.com
February 19th, 2008 at 10:48 am

Jazz,
Are you really stretching that far too defend these guys? You know these people hold up McLaren as the de facto leader of the EC all the time.

The funny thing is that the article about the EC receding was actually pretty fair, and it seems the author is quite sympathetic to people in the Mark Driscoll wing of the emerging movement. I actually wonder if the editor read the article or just saw the title.

My point is that CRN isn’t interested in actually telling the truth. They’re just interested in fear-mongering for the sake of getting a few more donors, or they’re interested in maligning things and people they don’t fully understand.

11   Henry (Rick) Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
February 19th, 2008 at 10:49 am

It is a little like throwing both fire balls and water balloons at your enemy.

12   jazzact13    http://jazzact13.blogspot.com/
February 19th, 2008 at 12:12 pm

–Are you really stretching that far too defend these guys?–

And you are concluding that I am defending anyone–how? Really, where I have come out and defended them in my posts? I’m pointing out a case of bad logic in the OP, not saying CRN is right or wrong.

–You know these people hold up McLaren as the de facto leader of the EC all the time.–

Which he is, whether he wants to admit it or not (and it would be honest of him if he were to go ahead and admit it), but that is also beside the point.

The point is, McLaren’s increase in popularity (however that is measured) has no bearing on whether or not more or fewer people are following the EC movement as a whole.

13   Henry (Rick) Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
February 19th, 2008 at 12:18 pm

Jazz – I believe there was a minor inconsistency with those posts. As a matter of fact, the emergent movement is increasing not decreasing and I think CRN knows that. We all have inconsistencies sometimes, this one was minor.

14   nc    
February 19th, 2008 at 12:51 pm

I love how people talk about something growing and waning as if the EC is an organized, definable group with a clear set of actionable items that are universal…AND

that the EC then wants to grow (i.e. become the controlling reality) or are afraid of waning (i.e. lose power).

Nope. That’s not us.
That would be the people who are shrieking about us.

Bottom line: To the crooked all things appear crooked.

Next time there’s a “take over the world” meeting in the secret rituals of the ECM, I’ll take notes, record it and put it on a podcast for everyone…

I’ve yet to hear anyone in associated with the ECM advocate for anything more than discerning how to “live out” the Christian faith within your own particular cultural setting.

What bothers ODM’s and the such is that their cultural setting isn’t really as homogenous as they believe it “was”, “is” whatever….and instead of coming to grips with the fact that their construction of “christian reality” never really was real, they moan and whine and tantrum about it.

This isn’t about the Truth or the Gospel or whatever…this is about “who gets to say what is the Truth, the Gospel, etc.”

This is about power and the inability to disagree with any sense of nuance and, dare I say, genuine discernment.

15   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
February 19th, 2008 at 1:07 pm

nc,

Thank you…

iggy

ps the meeting is at my house tomorrow night at 9pm bring some Guinness. Brian wants to go over some details in taking over the world and how to deal with Driscoll’s and Sweet’s defection… Kimball will be doing a study on the rockabilly haircut and their connection with the early church. Pagitt will be honored as the best communicator and be sure to bring some money as Shane will be selling bandanas. It will be a full night. (DEVO and Air Supply will be leading worship)

16   nc    
February 19th, 2008 at 1:10 pm

Oh, and I’m sure, Bin Laden will be there with a “true Christian” hitlist too…

17   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
February 19th, 2008 at 1:20 pm

nc,

Shhhh he is the super secret guess speaker… you know to undermine the gov’t and all

iggy

18   jazzact13    http://jazzact13.blogspot.com/
February 21st, 2008 at 7:43 am

So, nc, you’re pretty much saying the EC is a nothing, stands for nothing, has no ideology in common, and in short is a figment of everyone’s imagination? A sort of mass hallucination? An amorphous blob that can include anyone and everyone? That despite all the books and articles and attempts to tell us of “the secret message of jesus” that people somehow missed (except for a few pagans like Gandhi) for roughly 2000 years, all the little playings at politics they do even as they deny being interested in politics, and attempts to make us rethink-reimagine-deconstruct everything (but only along lines they approve), that no they aren’t really interested in growing and having power?

19   Henry (Rick) Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
February 21st, 2008 at 7:48 am

“An amorphous blob that can include anyone and everyone?”

Jazz – I may steal that great line in the future! Do not look for any footnote!

20   Phil Miller    http://veritasfellowship.blogspot.com
February 21st, 2008 at 8:36 am

So, nc, you’re pretty much saying the EC is a nothing, stands for nothing, has no ideology in common, and in short is a figment of everyone’s imagination? A sort of mass hallucination? An amorphous blob that can include anyone and everyone? That despite all the books and articles and attempts to tell us of “the secret message of jesus” that people somehow missed (except for a few pagans like Gandhi) for roughly 2000 years, all the little playings at politics they do even as they deny being interested in politics, and attempts to make us rethink-reimagine-deconstruct everything (but only along lines they approve), that no they aren’t really interested in growing and having power?

I would actually say that in a sense this is true. The EC hasn’t defined itself by a statement of belief, and as it is now it doesn’t really have a need to. It’s not a denomination, and it doesn’t ordain anyone, so what would be the benefit of defining itself in narrow terms?

As far as The Secret Message of Jesus, it’s pretty obvious you haven’t actually read the book beyond the title, because it’s not really the point at all that Christians have missed the point for the last 2000 years. The point is more that American Christianity in many ways has distilled the Gospel to a point that it has neglected much of the original meaning of the Incarnation.

21   Henry (Rick) Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
February 21st, 2008 at 8:42 am

“The point is more that American Christianity in many ways has distilled the Gospel to a point that it has neglected much of the original meaning of the Incarnation.”

OK, Phil, that sweeping statement elevates MacLaren to a reformer status. Is he implying that Wesley, Calvin, Spurgeon, Edwards, Moody, and most of the evangelical missionary organizations have all had it wrong and have neglected much of the original meaning of the Incarnation?
It does not get much more serious than that if it is as MacLaren suggests.

22   Phil Miller    http://veritasfellowship.blogspot.com
February 21st, 2008 at 9:04 am

Rick,
I’ve not thought McLaren has ever dissed the Reformers more than they deserve. The fact is that even though the Reformation was necessary, it doesn’t mean we can just erase the previous 1500 years of Christian thought from the history books.

Much has American Evangelicalism has basically said either explicitly or implicitly that the only reason Jesus came so we can go to heaven when we die. In a lot of ways, it because we have bought into the Greek idea that the only way we can be free is to have our spirits leave our bodies. It’s as if we think our bodies and physical creation are inherently evil. Basically, it’s a form of gnosticism.

But the Bible doesn’t say we were made for heaven. We were made for earth. The story of Scripture is God making earth and the cosmos, humanities rebellion, and God’s plan to redeem his creation. If we buy into another story, we miss the point to some extent.

I’m actually probably going to write a full article about this in a form of a book review within the week. I’m almost done with N.T. Wright’s new book, and this is precisely what it’s about. Actually I think Wright has succeeded in writing the book McLaren has been trying to write in a lot of ways.

23   Henry (Rick) Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
February 21st, 2008 at 9:09 am

My point was that if MacLaren’s characterizations about the redemptive plan is true, then it indicts not many but all of the great men and women of church history. The same argument that the pre-trib view is so new it makes its validity suspect could be made about MacLaren’s new views.

I said his views make him a post modern reformer.

24   Phil Miller    http://veritasfellowship.blogspot.com
February 21st, 2008 at 9:12 am

Rick,
Well, I think it’s possible to have wrong ideas and still be saved. It’s still grace that saves, not our intellectual capacity. If not, we’re all doomed probably.

I just think that some Christians who have died expecting to spend eternity in heaven as a disembodied spirit of some sort might be surprised to find themselves with a resurrected body in the renewed creation.

25   Henry (Rick) Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
February 21st, 2008 at 9:18 am

That is another issue, Phil. The substance of “heaven” is difficult to capture this side of eternity per se, even Paul said he couldn’t tell whether it was in or out of the body. That as you noted does not affect one’s salvation.

But MacLaren and others move the sin atonement view of redemption into some form of earth renewal and social justice. That is much different than has always been preached, and if true then Wesley et. al. have significantly misrepresented and minimized the scope of the gospel itself. Those are the implications.

26   Phil Miller    http://veritasfellowship.blogspot.com
February 21st, 2008 at 9:28 am

Rick,
Well, I don’t have time to get into the details of it all today, but I would say that Paul had a pretty firm grasp that the resurrected body was a physical one in the nature of Christ’s body after he rose. Jesus and Paul basically affirmed and expanded on the Jewish expectation of a bodily resurrection.

I actually think people like Wesley, Spurgeon, etc. had a grasp of this concept, too. I think it’s some of their followers who’ve taken their ideas in some directions they didn’t intend. Probably one of the biggest culprits has actually been hymn writers, if I had to blame anyone.