Sunday, September 17, 2006,5:07 PM
Safe places
So I was talking with Mike the other night about if there exist any safe places for "emerging" conversation. We have been interested in the ideas wrapped up in the emerging church for the last 6 years or so. Its not so much that we were convinced to join a movement, but that in the emerging church conversation we found others who were asking similar questions and approaching scripture in a deeper more wholistic way. We went through (and are still on)a long journey of examining the assumptions of faith and interpretations of scripture we had been exposed to. The process caused us to change our opinions on certain issues, become undecided on others, and as a whole deepened our faith. We identify with the emerging church and Emergent not because they are "it" or have got it right as organizations, but because they represent people who are on the same page as us.

But as the emerging church conversation has grown, it has made its fair share of enemies. It became the easy whipping boy for many evangelicals. Many who refused to read anything by emerging authors would read a critique in some magazine and assume they had it all figured out. Most weren't even interested in discovering what "postmoderns" or "emergents" really believed - they just made assumptions about stuff they didn't like and projected it onto us. So in our churches and ministry groups real conversation was impossible and you had to be careful about who you would offend if you thought too differently than they.

For awhile it seemed like online places like blogs, The Ooze, or emergent village were safe places for conversation. But then they were overrun by critics who came to show us why we are all wrong. On one side you had the atheists who were there to tell us we were all stupid and wrong. On the other you have the fundamentaists/evangelicals who were there to tell us we are all stupid, wrong, and going to hell because of it. None of them really want conversation, just to tell us we're wrong.

Even the gatherings and conventions weren't safe. I remember at the emergent convention in Nashville in 2005 how hard it was to hear a deeper talk. The convention was concurrent with the National Pastors Convention. So at it there were sessions for Pastors, them Emergent on-ramp (for beginners) and fast-track (for those already involved in the conversation). I attended mostly fast-track sessions hoping to hear deeper theological/philosophical/cultural discussions that went beyond the questions I was asking 6 years ago. But instead there always showed up the critics who came to throw questions as accusations and traps (or perhaps they thought by just asking the questions they would enlighten us to or stupidity and wrongness). Every time one of them would ask why postmoderns don't believe in "absolute truth" or something else that completely missed the point, the room would groan and mourn the fleeting chance for intellegent conversation.

Its not that I think debate and conversation are bad. There are people asking questions and at all points of discovering their faith. There need to be places to engage ideas and debate. But there also needs to be places where people who have been on the journey and part of the conversation for awhile can safely converse. Where ideas can be brought up and not automatically condemned. Where issues can be pursued and practical expressions of faith explored without one being told they are going to hell. Where the same 3-4 questions are not the ONLY ones brought up. Where being "different" or "outside the box" isn't an issue or are even categories.

Anyway... just wondering and dreaming...
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posted by Julie at 5:07 PM ¤ Permalink ¤


  • At 9/17/2006 07:30:00 PM, Blogger peter lumpkins


    I am one of those who like questions. I also try to be non-condemning in my approach. I desire to be open. But I certainly, I am not naive enough to think I do not possess firm--whether true or false, is irrelevant--internal commitments to my understanding of truth.

    Given that, I only know of the emergent/emerging idea via evangelical critique. And, given your present post, I possess a tiny bit of reluctance to ask but I will anyway: do you entertain elementary questions pertaining to the emerging/emergent paradigm?

    If not, perhaps you could refer me to another site that does so.

    Have a great evening. With that, I am...


  • At 9/17/2006 08:07:00 PM, Anonymous Jose

    Here is an article that every person from the "Emerging/C" should read to learn what the EC is all about.

    Emergent church “leading theologian” declares: statement of faith would be “disastrous”
    By Jason Carlson

    On Thursday May 4th, the National Coordinator for Emergent-U.S., Tony Jones, sent out an e-mail alert to all followers of Emergent defending Emergent’s refusal to clearly define their doctrinal beliefs.[i] In this e-mail alert Jones states, “we have been inundated with requests for our statement of faith in Emergent, but some of us had an inclination that to formulate something would take us down a road that we don’t want to trod.” I will explain later why Emergent is so reluctant to travel the road of doctrinal definitions, but in the meantime, Jones goes on in his alert to state, “imagine our joy when a leading theologian joined our ranks and said that such a statement would be disastrous.” Who is this “leading theologian” who has so bolstered Emergent with confidence over their doctrinal ambiguity? His name is LeRon Shults, recently resigned theology professor at Bethel Seminary in St. Paul, MN who is taking a new teaching post in Norway, and he happens to be one of my former instructors at Bethel Seminary.

    Following Jones’ introduction, Emergent’s e-mail alert continues with Shults’ statement attempting to justify the Emergent leadership’s wallowing in doctrinal ambiguity. (By the way, these regular e-mail alerts that Emergent sends out are titled “Emergent/C”. I find this to be a fitting title for what follows in Shults’ statement, as Emergent’s love for ambiguity, uncertainty, and haziness inevitably leads to real and serious EMERGENCIES within the church.) Shults states, “I believe there are several reasons why Emergent should not have a ‘statement of faith’… Such a move would be unnecessary, inappropriate and disastrous.” How does he justify these claims?

    First of all, Shults declares that a statement of faith is unnecessary because “Jesus did not have a ‘statement of faith’”; and then he goes on to state, “The writers of the New Testament were not obsessed with finding a final set of propositions the assent to which marks off true believers.” Secondly, Shults says that a statement of faith is inappropriate because, “The truly infinite God of Christian faith is beyond all our linguistic grasping… and so the struggle to capture God in our finite propositional structures is nothing short of linguistic idolatry.” Thirdly, Shults declares that a statement of faith would be disastrous because “Emergent aims to facilitate a conversation among persons committed to living out faithfully the call to participate in the reconciling mission of the biblical God… a ‘statement of faith’ tends to stop conversation. Such statements can also easily become tools for manipulating or excluding people from the community.”

    Let me say a few things in regards to the above points by Shults, points affirmed by the Emergent leadership, points which celebrate and seek to justify Emergent’s theological and doctrinal elusiveness. First of all, Shults is simply wrong when he states that Jesus had no statement of faith. Jesus may have never written down in a formal document the core essentials of the Christian faith, but he did teach them and affirm them throughout his earthly ministry. Consider just one of Jesus’ many teaching encounters, in John chapter 3 Jesus teaches the Pharisee named Nicodemus numerous crucial propositional truths central to genuine Christian faith, Jesus declares the following:

    V. 3… There is a kingdom of God.

    V. 5-7… To see the kingdom of God you must be spiritually born again.

    V. 13… The Son of Man (Jesus) came from Heaven.

    V. 15… Belief in Jesus leads to eternal life.

    V. 16… God exists and He has a Son.

    V. 16… God loves the world.

    V. 16… Those who believe not in the Son will perish.

    V. 19… Men love darkness and their deeds are evil.

    V. 21… Men may be saved, but only through God.

    This short list is just a tiny sampling of the vast amount of propositional teaching that Jesus revealed to us, truths central to the Christian faith, truths which if not assented to remove you from the bounds of Christian orthodoxy. Jesus himself affirmed the necessity of assenting to these core doctrines when he said to Nicodemus, a Jewish Pharisee, “I tell you the truth, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony” (v. 11). In other words, because of their failure to accept Jesus’ revelations, his statements of faith, Jesus did not include the Pharisees in the ranks of those who would receive eternal life. Make no mistake friends; Jesus had a statement of faith and our acceptance of it really matters!

    Secondly, not only is Shults and Emergent wrong when they claim that Jesus had no statement of faith, but to claim that the writers of the New Testament were not concerned with teaching and protecting a core of propositional truths which marks off true believers from those unsaved is absolutely ridiculous. Consider just the following sampling of New Testament references to guarding the true faith to which we must assent:

    2 Timothy 4:1-4… “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage- with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.”

    Jude 3… “Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.”

    Galatians 1:6-9… “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel- which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!”

    1 Timothy 4:11-13, 15-16… “Command and teach these things. Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. Until I come, devote yourselves to the public reading of scripture, to preaching and to teaching… Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.”

    I could go on and on citing such biblical admonitions for teaching and protecting the essential doctrines of the true Christian faith to which we must assent. For the leadership of Emergent and their “leading theologian” to miss or ignore these clear biblical declarations to the reality of a core set of Christian doctrines which marks off true believers is absolutely astounding. There is absolutely no way that anyone who takes scripture seriously can read these passages and claim that statements of faith are unnecessary.

    Not only do Shults and Emergent wrongly claim that a statement of faith is unnecessary, but they also claim that a statement of faith would be inappropriate. Shults states, “The truly infinite God of Christian faith is beyond all our linguistic grasping… and so the struggle to capture God in our finite propositional structures is nothing short of linguistic idolatry.” The problem with this statement is that we have not imposed our finite human language upon the infinite God; rather the infinite God himself chose to reveal himself to humanity through the medium of finite human language, both verbal and written. In fact, the entire Bible, which was written by 40 different authors in 3 different languages, is not simply a phenomenon of finite human linguistics, but the Bible was fully inspired by the infinite God himself. 2 Timothy 3:16 declares that “All scripture is God-breathed.” God chose to use the finite human medium of linguistics to reveal divinely inspired propositional truths to us. This fact alone dispels Shults’ claim that our human attempts at defining our doctrinal beliefs is a form of linguistic idolatry, for it was the infinite God who first chose to use the medium of finite human linguistics to reveal himself to us. For human beings to take seriously God’s revealed propositional truths to us, by defining them and systematizing them, is not idolatry, it is called faithfulness.

    Finally, after declaring that a statement of faith is unnecessary and inappropriate, Shults concludes his defense of Emergent’s lack of doctrinal clarity by claiming that a statement of faith would be disastrous. How would a statement of faith be disastrous? Well, they’re not, unless you’re an emergent church, of the Emergent persuasion. You see according to Shults, “Emergent aims to facilitate a conversation among persons committed to living out faithfully the call to participate in the reconciling mission of the biblical God… a ‘statement of faith’ tends to stop conversation. Such statements can also easily become tools for manipulating or excluding people from the community.” This last sentence is especially crucial for understanding Emergent’s distaste for doctrinal clarity. You see postmodern inclusiveness and tolerance are pretty much the highest values within the non-systematized belief system of Emergent.

    Now, I don’t have any problem with inclusiveness or tolerance, especially in the true biblical spirit of these terms, but within Emergent there is such a premium placed on inclusiveness and tolerance, as defined by postmodern philosophy, that there is basically no sense of biblical discernment in terms of recognizing and labeling false beliefs, practices, or lifestyles. This is why for example in a recent debate here in the Twin Cities Emergent church leader Doug Pagitt, in reply to a question about whether or not Mormons were within the bounds of Christian orthodoxy, simply could not, no matter how many opportunities he was given, state that Mormon’s were not Christians as defined by Scripture. This is also the motivation behind Brian McLaren’s recent call for the church to take a five-year moratorium on making any judgments against homosexuality.

    You see, never mind what the Bible clearly states, what matters most is inclusiveness and tolerance; and so, within Emergent, whenever they come across a biblical teaching which is exclusive or judgmental, that teaching is either flatly ignored or redefined and neutered through their lenses of postmodern inclusiveness and tolerance. This is why a statement of faith would be “disastrous” in the view of Emergent’s “leading theologian” LeRon Shults; statements of faith are naturally exclusive. The bigger problem with Emergent’s position though is this, not only are statements of faith naturally exclusive, but what the leadership of Emergent doesn’t seem to understand, or is unwilling to accept, is the fact that the truth is always exclusive and so is the gospel of Jesus Christ; and it is these facts which have always driven those who desire to remain faithful to God’s revelation to declare and defend doctrinal positions that distinguish true believers from the unsaved.

    The leadership of Emergent refuses to produce a statement of faith, calling the idea of doing so “disastrous”. Emergent theologian LeRon Shults has provided them a flimsy justification for Emergent’s ongoing theological and doctrinal ambiguity, but with his statement he will inevitably embolden the Emergent faithful in their ongoing march away from biblical absolutes, discernment, and exclusivity. With each successive step that Emergent takes away from affirming the historical absolutes of Christian orthodoxy, the more we can expect to continue to see Emergent’s leadership flirting with and outright embracing non-biblical beliefs, practices, and lifestyles. This is already taking place within the Emergent conversation and Shults’ statement will do nothing more but propel Emergent further into error.

  • At 9/17/2006 09:27:00 PM, Blogger Mike Clawson


    Julie and I are so involved in the Emergent Conversation that your attempts to "inform" us with that Carlson article just comes across as ridiculous. We are already well aware of what Tony and LeRon have written, and happen to fully agree with them. If you hope to "scare" us away from the emerging church, I'm afraid we're already way too far gone for that. We are the Emergent "enemy" that you are trying to warn us about.


  • At 9/17/2006 09:39:00 PM, Blogger Mike Clawson


    Julie's husband here. I know any of us in the emerging conversation will welcome questions asked out of true desire to understand, and not simply out of a desire to "prove us wrong".

    However, if you really are interested, I would highly recommend moving beyond the evangelical critiques and just go straight to the source. Why bother with the often grossly inaccurate caricatures of emergent ideas put out there by evangelical critics like Don Carson or others, when you can simply buy a copy of Generous Orthodoxy, Velvet Elvis, or Church Re-Imagined (among many others that I could recommend) and judge for yourself?

    In fact, please, please don't listen to what others try to tell you of the emerging church, until you've had a chance to read the primary sources or dialogue with folks like Julie or I (or others in your own area) and let us speak for ourselves. The ideas involved are sometimes complex, or at least highly nuanced, and most critics that I've read really don't seem to get it at all.

    In order to "detox" from some of the critics you may have already been influenced by, I would highly recommend the following two articles:

    Response to Recent Criticisms by Tony Jones, Doug Pagitt, Spencer Burke, Brian McLaren, Dan Kimball, Andrew Jones, Chris
    Seay (most of the "big names" in the emerging church).


    The Emergent Church – Another Perspective
    A Critical Response to D. A. Carson’s Staley Lectures
    , by Dr. David Mills, a professor at (the very conservative) Cedarville College.



  • At 9/17/2006 09:43:00 PM, Blogger Mike Clawson

    BTW Peter, I don't know where you're located, but if you want to converse with real live people about the emerging church, you might try to find an Emergent Cohort in your area.


  • At 9/17/2006 09:50:00 PM, Blogger Tripp Hudgins

    I am sorry that you guys are taking so much flack within the "evangelical center" of this country. If you want a physical location for the cohort to gather, you are more than welcome at Reconciler or at the Community Church in Wilmette.

    We may be coming out to the next gathering. Don't hold your breath, but mebers of Reconciler are very interested.

    Peace to you sir.

    We are all oppressed for the sake of the, me, Julie, Jose...all of us.

  • At 9/17/2006 10:11:00 PM, Blogger Mike Clawson

    Thanks for the offer Tripp... though I think we'll stay out in the west suburbs for now. It's a little closer to home. :)

    And I do hope to see you and/or some Reconcilers folk at the next up/rooted with Pagitt on the 28th. It should be a lot of fun, he's a wacky guy.

    I was going to say that I think Cohorts like up/rooted really are the best place left to have real, in-depth conversations like Julie is longing for. The face-to-face, small group dynamic allows for real conversation and minimizes the likelihood of a deliberate flamer showing up and disrupting the group.



  • At 9/17/2006 10:15:00 PM, Blogger Cary

    Well, Julie. Looks like you attracted a little bit of the very thing you are so frustrated by with this post, huh? I totally agree with you and have been irritated at the same dilemma.

    I think by our fear of limiting open dialogue, we may have shot ourselves in the foot here.

    I don't think we should delete a comment, block a user, or ignore a question at a conference on the basis of disagreeing with someone. I do think that it's completely legitimate to delete a comment that's completely off topic and argumentative, though. I also think it's good common sense to block a user who continues to commit that offense. And I believe it would be acceptable for a speaker at a conference (as politely and with as much love as she/he can muster) to tell the person asking a question that "We would prefer to stay on topic here, but I'd be glad to discuss that with you after this session if you'd like."

    I've seen way too many blog discussions go down that road of no return arguing with people who are hateful and completely close-minded, who obviously aren't going to change their views anyway. Fruitless argument irritates me! :-)

  • At 9/17/2006 10:50:00 PM, Blogger peter lumpkins


    Thanks for the tips. I very much appreciate that. Have a great Monday. I am...


  • At 9/18/2006 05:17:00 AM, Blogger dan h.

    It's funny how much joy some people find in "imploding" a conversation. And they think they've actually accomplished something.

    I'm not as "involved" in this stuff as you and Mike, but if you ever find a place like this, please let us know.


  • At 9/18/2006 12:56:00 PM, Anonymous jose

    Mike, your answer is very clear. However, the Word of God states that we are to build our lives on no other foundation than Jesus. Not secularism or any other ideology. On the other hand, in deed I see the reason why there is no Emergent/C statement ,it would be disastrous for the movement. Becuase God's truth doesn't matter, but rather what everyone makes out of it.
    One either chooses to build on the ROCK (The absolute truths of the Bible, Jesus) or the SAND of secular theology that rips pages out of the Bible (figurative) to conform to the world and the "culture relevance"
    I hope you change your direction before Jesus comes back, and its all too late.

    Yes. the reason for my posting is to help everyone that reads see the truth of God's Word. Not my truth, but what the Bible says.

  • At 9/18/2006 05:11:00 PM, Blogger Julie

    wow - quick responses here

    tripp and Dan - thanks for the support!

    Cary - I agree. I would love good discussion and sometimes its hard to know who is really open to that.

    PeterQuestions with intent for real discussion are more than welcome. Of course we all have commitments - thats kinda the point of faith. I hope though to always be open to learning and growing. I too echo Mike in advising you to go to the primary sources and research for yourself what people are saying. But feel free to ask questions - I'm not the most intellegent or articulate emergent to ask, but I find the conversation fun...

    Josewhy the anger? You are entitled to your opinion and perhaps even to your name calling. But please stop spamming my and my fiends blogs if you have no interest in the conversation. And please stop pretending you're God and telling me the eternal state of my soul.

  • At 9/18/2006 06:21:00 PM, Anonymous jose

    Julie, No anger. Just sad to see the deception. God loves you and everyone reading this blog.

  • At 9/19/2006 02:50:00 AM, Blogger Sally

    wondering and dreaming... me too... as I read through the comments on this post I am saddened by the lack of desire from some to enter into a constructive dialogue.... we see this mirrored over here in the UK, where questions are being raised over what exactly authentic churchis, and what is required for an orthodox faith...
    Many blessings Julie and Mike as you try to keep the dialogue open and loving... many blessings too on your journey of discovery
    From a fellow traveller

  • At 9/19/2006 07:04:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous

    Hi Julie --
    I just wanted to welcome you to Rev Gals and boy, I'm exhausted reading through these comments. Bless you, is all I can say. It sounds like you and Mike are doing the faithful thing and I hope your ministry thrives. Are you going to the Emerging Women's Conference in Virginia?

  • At 9/19/2006 02:55:00 PM, Blogger brett

    Mike and Julie-I appreciate your responses to jose and to peter. grace and peace to you. Hopefully a new friend-brett
    Peter- thank you for being gracious in your search for answers and not condemning.

  • At 9/19/2006 03:02:00 PM, Blogger revabi

    welcome to revgalblogpals. thank you for bringing the emerging conversation to us. I think you will find a few other that are open to hearing you.

  • At 9/19/2006 03:11:00 PM, Blogger Sue Densmore

    Having run into Jose's unchristian spam now in several places, I find myself wanting to remind blog owners that you can remove whatever comments you want from your own blog...

    Julie - I am glad you joined up on revgals. I may do that someday...

  • At 9/19/2006 04:07:00 PM, Blogger Amy

    I think some people are hostile towards the Emergent church because it is unfamiliar and they do not understand it. Anytime you bring a new practice or idea out there, people get scared because everything they believed and did in the past is now challenged. Honestly I am not as involved in the Emergent movement as a lot of these other people who posted are, but I try to keep an open mind. It is interesting that a lot of "Reformed" people I have worked with and am friends with know absolutely nothing about it. Are a lot of the people involved in this movement from an evangelical background?

    I am skeptical about some ideas, but I don't think that is a reason to flat out attack someone. I think we can all learn from one another even if we choose to disagree. If you believe you are doing exactly what God has called to you, that is the most important. I hope you find people you can connect with who won't resort to being judgemental.

  • At 9/19/2006 05:02:00 PM, Blogger Julie

    Hey - thanks for all the comments and for the RevGalers for stopping by!

    Yes, I'm going to the Oct. Emerging women Gathering (ha I'm even presenting at it). Registration is still open if anyone's interested!

  • At 9/19/2006 08:37:00 PM, Blogger Mike Clawson

    Hey Amy, welcome to Julie's blog!

    The majority of people in the EC right now are from an evangelical background. In fact, some have called them "post-evangelicals".

    It's interesting that many Reformed are unaware of the EC. I couldn't say for sure, but if I had to speculate I'd say that it might be due to the fact that most Reformed folks I know of are really big on doctrine, and especially on the distinctives of Reformed theology. The EC, by contrast, places far less importance on doctrinal distinctives and sees orthopraxy (i.e. really living after the way of Jesus) as being just as important as orthodoxy. Thus it would seem that there wouldn't be an automatic affinity.

    Though I wonder, haven't most folks around west Michigan at least heard of Rob Bell and Mars Hill Bible Church? He's a great example of an emerging pastor, even though he doesn't like to use that label for himself.

    Anyhow, it's good to see you're online again. Are you settled into your new home yet?



  • At 9/19/2006 11:28:00 PM, Blogger Shoshana


    I was asking Char the other day what denomination the Emergant Movement was affiliated with, etc. She explained to me that it is a conversation, not a denomination.

    But from my conversation with her, and from the hostil posts I see online, I am more and more convinced that the Emergent Movement will become it's own denomination. If not by choice, then by being thrown out by the traditional evangelicals. After all, Martin Luther did not set out to split with the Roman Catholic Church. He just wanted to reform it, and they threw him out.

    (btw shoshana is susan in hebrew)

  • At 9/20/2006 06:34:00 PM, Anonymous Just a voice....

    Dear Shoshana,

    The emergent movement has never been and will never be part of any true Bible believing organization. Its a house on the sand. The Bible is a mere college text book, not the absolute truth for them. Its not new either, its part a a movement called ecumenism, mostly promoted by mainstreem religion (catholics). I know, I use to be one. Ecumenism is the sum off all religions forming one world order. In this I do believe that the EC can become an official denomination for the antichrist.

  • At 9/21/2006 06:57:00 AM, Blogger Shoshana

    Just a Voice -
    Thank you, you've hit the nail on the head. Since I was born and raise Roman Catholic, and currently practice another "main stream" religion, I'm obviously going to hell in a handbasket and am completely beyond redemption. So you can quit trying to save me now. I like it here in the sandbox.

    Julie & Mike -
    My point exactly. The Pharisees are going to kick you out of their club someday. Not that that's a bad thing...

    By The Way -
    Have you noticed that the most hostil posts that are trying to "save" us have their preferences set so that no one can view their profile or link to their own blogs?

  • At 9/21/2006 07:28:00 AM, Blogger gerbmom

    The Pharisees already kicked them out over a year ago.....:)
    And I share your frustration with Jose and Just a Voice. Cowards....

  • At 9/21/2006 08:28:00 AM, Blogger Julie

    Just a voice - welcome to my blog, I encourage you to have an identity and personality profile...

    You wrote - "The emergent movement has never been and will never be part of any true Bible believing organization."
    - I'm emergent and bible believing, but you not even knowing me assume I'm not. What even qualifies for this under your interpretation of everything?

    You said - "Its a house on the sand. The Bible is a mere college text book, not the absolute truth for them."
    - You and Jose (or is this Jose again) seem very fearful of education and learning. I'm amused at how you guys use "college textbook" as the worst thing ever. Most of us here have college and graduate degrees (from christian colleges) and embrace education, so that tactic will not work here. And I would really love to know what do you mean by the bible being absolute truth?

    You say - "Its not new either, its part a a movement called ecumenism, mostly promoted by mainstreem religion (catholics). I know, I use to be one. Ecumenism is the sum off all religions forming one world order. In this I do believe that the EC can become an official denomination for the antichrist.

    wow a real live fundie dispensationalist on my blog. Back in jr. high I used to be into all that conspiracy language too. It was fun to point out how anything I didn't like was going to form a new world order or something. Luckily I no longer have to use the bible to need my entertainment - LOST is a good enough mystery now...

    and yes I am ecumenical. no issue with it. I support all christ followers even when I disagree on minor points of doctrine. You can be a chrisatian, I'm a christian, emergents are christian, and catholics are christian. I care more about christ than following some human denominational doctrine. I won't draw lines about who is in and who is out based on who is not like me. And I think a whole lot of good will come from churches working together. Denominational lines are becoming a thing of the past, in todays global society the point is about being a christian, not which brand of christian you are.

    and you can impose your dispensational theology (which was the spiffy new and dangerous movement around 150 years ago) all you want. You have the right to that interpretation of scripute. I just don't have enough faith to read something into the bible that just isn't there. so your insults and namecalling are meaningless albeit good for a laugh - I mean I been called a proseletyzer of satan for just reading Harry Potter, and now it seems I'm working for the antichrist - is that moving up or down in the world??

  • At 9/21/2006 08:29:00 AM, Blogger Julie

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  • At 9/21/2006 03:41:00 PM, Blogger Amy

    Wow, it's interesting to read all these comments. I worked at a conference center that I would say was mostly "evangelical." I have been Christian Reformed my whole life. I would say one of the main differences is the evangelical's placed way more emphasis on "living Christian" and "holy living" and "getting everyone saved." Like the sermons we would hear were like "10 Ways to Live like a Christian" and it seemed like the Bible was more of a guidebook to living. It also seemed a little more "rules driven" like no dancing, no smoking etc. It seemed like there was a big dark line--"This is Christian" and "This is not Christian." Going to this camp is a Christian vacation. We should listen to Christian music. Whereas the Reformed tradition doesn't draw such a dark line and we seem to not have as many rules either. We do focus on doctrine, but we do emphasize practice as well.

    I understand the Emergent church doesn't really have a doctrine nor a statement of faith. I read "Generous Orthodoxy" to shed more light on it. My question is if the Emergent church embraces all faith and beliefs, is there anything they don't accept? Like Mc Claren says "he is this" and "he is that." But is there anything he isn't? I would love to hear your thoughts (not from the Emergent church bashers who have already posted here).

  • At 9/22/2006 12:09:00 AM, Blogger Charlotte Wyncoop

    Just a Voice,
    Why have a conversation if you have no points of agreement? What could possibly motivate you to read this far and then actually post?

    Hecklers have no motivation but to create strife and discord - and those are tools of Satan.

    Become a tool of God, have a conversation - ask questions, participate, disagree, give your viewpoint - but make sure your light is not darkness. Bring light to the conversation, not darkness.

    Luke 11:34-35
    34Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are good, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are bad, your body also is full of darkness. 35See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness.

    From a Voice with a Name

  • At 9/22/2006 06:01:00 AM, Blogger Sue Densmore

    Julie - You are so gracious! Thanks for living out the grace of Jesus with people like Jose and "Just a Voice." I am trying, but find it difficult to retain my patience with people who "spam and run."

    Amy - I, too, wondered if there is anything the EC would say God "isn't." I have a lot of trouble just throwing out 2000 years of orthodox, Christian doctrine. I know that is not what we are supposed to exclusively be about, and living that doctrine is really important.

    But sometimes I feel like some in the EC are choosing to ignore, or give up, even the basic faith "delineated" in the Apostle's Creed. And if we throw that away, can we really be called Chritian?

    It is hard to be open and closed to things at the same time. But it seems to me we have to still accept the basic facts about Jesus if we are to claim to follow Him, right?

  • At 9/22/2006 03:56:00 PM, Blogger Mike Clawson

    Sue, I can assure you that no one in the emerging church has even remotely suggested that we just throw our all doctrine or reject the great ecumenical creeds.

    You might find this statement from Emergent's paper "Response to Recent Criticisms" helpful:

    "We would like to clarify, contrary to statements and inferences made by some, that yes, we truly believe there is such a thing as truth and truth matters – if we did not believe this, we would
    have no good reason to write or speak; no, we are not moral or epistemological relativists any more than anyone or any community is who takes hermeneutical positions – we believe that radical relativism is absurd and dangerous, as is arrogant absolutism; yes, we affirm the historic Trinitarian Christian faith and the ancient creeds, and seek to learn from all of church history – and we honor the church’s great teachers and leaders from East and West, North and South; yes, we believe that Jesus is the crucified and risen Savior of the cosmos and no one comes to the Father except through Jesus; no, we do not pit reason against experience but seek to use all our God-given faculties to love and serve God and our neighbors; no, we do not endorse false dichotomies – and we regret any false dichotomies unintentionally made by or about us (even in this paragraph!); and yes, we affirm that we love, have confidence in, seek to obey, and strive accurately to teach the sacred Scriptures, because our greatest desire is to be followers and servants of the Word of God, Jesus Christ. We regret that we have either been unclear or misinterpreted in these and other areas."

  • At 9/23/2006 07:00:00 AM, Blogger Sue Densmore

    Mike -

    I appreciate you posting that statement. I had been reading some articles and comments in some of the blogs, and had started to worry that the EC was drifting too far away from center.

    It's so hard, you know - to talk about things too openly without sounding like we are "drifting." And some of the conversation does sound pretty relativistic. So to hear someone say that the creeds are still a "given" is important.

    Then there are the varying degrees of "emergence." There are some people who are really progressive, and then there are some that aren't. Rob Bell was mentioned in this thread, I think. He is considered emergent, yet he has not "emerged" at all with regard to women in leadership, from what I understand. These varying degrees of the EC can confuse people. Unfortunately, sometimes confused people don't try to get "un-confused," and just throw mud instead.

    I'm glad I asked.

  • At 9/23/2006 08:23:00 AM, Blogger Mike Clawson

    I'm not sure what you mean about Rob Bell. Are you sure you're not confusing him with Mark Driscoll, the pastor of the other Mars Hill, the one over in Seattle? (Bell's Mars Hill is in Grand Rapids, MI.)

    As far as I know, Rob Bell is very supportive of women in ministry. There are several female pastors on staff and they are not shy about inviting women to preach in Rob's place when he's out of town or in joint sermons with him.

    Driscoll, by contrast, is a well known misogynist, not just on ministry roles, be even to the extreme of saying that a woman's primary purpose in life is to get married, serve her husband, and have lots and lots of kids. From what my friends in Seattle tell me, he has burned many women through their church's attitude.

    The only reason some people consider Driscoll to be emergent is because he has people with lots of tattoos and piercings in his church, and because he used to be friends with a lot of the current Emergent leaders (at least until he recently started slinging rather perverse insults at them online). But, in my opinion at least, being emergent is about a lot more than just doing "cool church".

    Anyhow, just wanting to clarify. Did you get mixed up or have you heard something about Rob Bell that I haven't?


  • At 9/24/2006 07:52:00 AM, Blogger Sue Densmore

    Yeah, turns out I had the two Mars Hill churches confused. Sorry about that!

  • At 9/26/2006 04:45:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous

    Here is something to stir up the chicken coop...