Thursday, June 29, 2006

are there emerging church shibboleths?

Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church in Seattle has become something of a flashpoint in the emerging church conversation because he's been so adamant about not being an emerging church revisionist (using Ed Stetzer's term for emergers who wish to modify, or at least discuss modifying, long-held theological beliefs such as substitutionary atonement and the nature of hell). The claim of some that Driscoll isn't "emerging" based on some of his traditionalist theological beliefs has led to a discusson on the faithmaps discussion group as to whether or not there are emerging church shibboleths.

In contrast, emergent's National Coordinator, Tony Jones, in a piece critical of Stetzer's taxonomy and Driscoll's differentiation of "evangelical emergers" from "liberal emergents", has written passionately that emergent welcomes their inerrantists, complimentarians as well as their "Bush-loving neocons."

One thing that the various categorization schemes out there (and I offered one myself a while back) do reveal is that folks have different resonances with the emerging church conversation (here's mine). Some really are just trying to communicate better to postmoderns. Others want to do that and they also want to radically change how church is done. And others really do believe the time has come to tweak the church's theology.

With due respect to Stetzer (for I do find his categories helpful), I think that one of the things that hindered his nomenclature from being more favorably viewed was when he seemed to lump all of the revisionists together and basically dismisses all of their theological speculations with the comment that "their prescriptions fail to take into account the full teaching of the Word of God." Then he writes, "Revisionists are questioning (and in some cases denying) issues like the nature of the substitutionary atonement, the reality of hell, the complementarian nature of gender, and the nature of the Gospel itself" as if these matters were of equal importance. He seems to reject any degree of revisionism out of hand.

However, even so Reformed and conservative a leading light as the great exegete John Murray once commented,

"However epochal have been the advances made at certain periods and however great the contributions of particular men we may not suppose that theological construction ever reaches definitive finality. There is the danger of a stagnant traditionalism and we must be alert to this danger, on the one hand, as to that of discarding our historical moorings, on the other."

Murray continues, "When any generation is content to rely upon its theological heritage and refuses to explore for itself the riches of divine revelation, then declension is already under way and heterodoxy will be the lot of the succeeding generation.... A theology that does not build on the past ignores our debt to history and naively overlooks the fact that the present is conditioned by history. A theology that relies on the past evades the demands of the present"(emphasis mine, from his article "Systematic Theology" - see Looking Beyond the Facade of Modernity, Part 2).

Those critiques of Stetzer's comments aside , I'll nevertheless suggest that categorization can be helpful as a discussion tool as long as we don't collapse folks down to their category. They help us to see the different ways in which we are interested in the emerging church conversation.

And perhaps the one legitimate shibboleth for emergers is a dissatisfaction with the status quo.

photo courtesy of kindhelper @ stock.xchng

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

mark driscoll on streams within the emerging church

mark driscoll of mars hill differentiates the emerging church and emergent in this brief video interview clip. Echoing the taxonomy first laid out by ed stetzer, driscoll extends stetzer's categories of relevants, reconstructionists, revisionists by adding a fourth category which he characterizes as "reformed/missional."

i'm not sure driscoll means to deny the missional description to the other ec streams. and i'm not sure it's helpful to denominationalize (and I realize "reformed" is trans-denominational, but you get my point) the emerging church conversation.

nevertheless, the reformed participation in the emerging church is notable and we had commented on that some time ago.

ht: justin taylor

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

"Goodbye to the White House Evangelical"

Get Religion has a nice piece on Michael Gerson's exit from the Bush Administration.

Monday, June 26, 2006

transpropositional evangelicals

Beth and I have been involved in our church's KatrinaGrace ministry, which so far has sent 7 teams to either Louisiana or Mississippi to work on Katrina relief. As one who has criticized the evangelical church as being overly propositional, I've been very encourged by the fact that I'm only aware of one or two evangelical churches that aren't sending folks to work in the area.

Recently, Stephen Monsema completed a four year study of 500 welfare-to-work programs in LA, Chicago, Dallas and Philly. One of his most interesting findings - and one that contradicted conventional wisdom - was that most of the Christian programs were evangelical and not mainline. Christianity Today Senior Associate Editor Agnieszka Tennant interviewed Monsema on his findings about transpo evangelicals.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

more mike frost

a friend of mine found the rest of the series that jordon has been posting.

great stuff!

from the site:

"Michael Frost is the Director of the Centre of Evangelism and Global Mission (CEGM) at Morling College, Sydney. He has shared the gospel extensively throughout Australia and overseas and is a highly sought after speaker.

Michael has written a number of books including The Shaping of things to Come(co-authored with Alan Hirsch), Jesus The Fool, Longing For Love, Seeing God in the Ordinary and Eyes Wide Open (Christian Book of the Year in 1999).

He is often invited to speak at conferences and conduct seminars on Christian belief. Michael has a gritty, pragmatic and challenging style that engages us with the power, passion and wonder of God's love in Jesus Christ. "

Friday, June 16, 2006

gone fishin'

emergesque goes dark while we go to the beach for a week!

Very Helpful New Bible Reference: The HyperConcordance

"Each hyperlinked word takes you to a new list of verses for that word, so you can go directly from one set of word contexts to another. All words are grouped according to their dictionary forms, ignoring plurals and inflected verb forms. So in this example, the word "said" is linked to its dictionary form "say". Likewise, the noun "measure" and the verb "measured" both link to the same entry. If you hover over a link, a tooltip displays how many entries there are for that word. "

- The New Testament Hyper-Concordance

ht: Andrew Jackson

Thursday, June 15, 2006

more mike frost talks

@ remix.

mike co-wrote The Shaping of Things to Come with Alan Hirsch.

I haven't heard a talk of his I haven't loved. Great stuff.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The Southern Baptist's New President on the Emerging Church

"I see many valuable contributions to the SBC coming from the Emergent Leaders Movement. I believe it is a positive thing to see a broader number of participants in our convention’s direction. I personally applaud this movement."

from an interview of Dr Frank Page, who was elected this week as the SBC's new president.

Now that's not a quote you see every day coming from a Southern Baptist President!

Time Magazine says that bloggers elected this president (and then admits it's a bit more complicated).

Also, see the NY Times article on the election (free registration required),

ht: Andrew Jones

Best Books on the Emerging Church

according to Andrew Jones, a-list ec blogger.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

more mclaren on criticism

In a recent Darren King interview, Brian McLaren speaks about ec criticism.

He also addressed this in a later piece he wrote for emergent village.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

a great flickr hack

One of the unfortunate limitations of flickr, even with a paid acct, is that slideshows don't show captions. (Other than this, I love flickr and will reup when my $35 yearly sub expires).

Some guy at Harvard has put together a marvelous hack that adds this feature. Click here.

We used this for our slideshows from our Katrina Relief trip last week (pics from the Lower 9th Ward in New Orleans, Slidell, Covington and vicinity).

great advice for new (or not so new) writers

from 52 Projects.

Lots of advice and links. Very helpful.

ht: jordon

Friday, June 09, 2006


Beth, Michaela, Skye, Alia and I saw Cars tonight and it was fantastic. Unbelievably vivid animation - very rich and I need to see it again to catch it all - and the story might be the most wholesome and helpful one I've seen in forever. Highly, highly recommended. The critics are liking it too.

The Orange County Weekly on Jim Gilliam

OCW ran a nice piece on Jim, who is awaiting a double-lung transplant while fighting for what he believes in. I met Jim through Will Samson when Will and I and others were participating in the Internet Evangelism in the 21st Century Conference. Jim was there working on a documentary.

While Jim and I don't agree on everything , I admire his passion, commitment and sheer intelligence. And he is a gentleman.

Please pray that Jim would get lungs very soon. He's down to 17% capacity.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Wednesday, June 07, 2006


is a growing online encyclopedia of Christianity and Biblical Theology.

from the site

ht: Brad Boydston

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Monday, June 05, 2006

i'm back

A report and pics of our Katrina relief trip to the New Orleans area can be found here.