Emerging church panel discussion…

For those interested in this thing called “emerging church,” wherever you might be coming from, here’s a good video as an introduction for you.  Here’s the link to the video.

I encourage you, even if you find this stuff stupid drivel, meaningless chatter, or an unwise discussion for the church to be having, listen to these panel members. Tony Jones, especially in this panel discussion, has his finger on the pulse of why the “emerging conversation” matters for the church and for the world we live in.

Tony is already talking about it on his blog at Beliefnet, and I’ve posted my initial reflections in the conversation there.   After you watch the video (and only IF you DO watch), I’d encourage you to join in the conversation.    While I don’t agree with some significant theological positions Tony has developed, I was extremely impressed by his integrity, passion, and commitment in this panel. And Scot McKnight as well, though McKnight kept using the word “orthodox” in unwise, overly confident ways.

Panelist Kevin DeYoung, on the other hand, should be ashamed of himself and should publicly repent for his ill-advised book  “Why we’re not Emergent” and perpetuating in his public persona the oversimplistic, demonized image of the emerging church conversation that evangelicals carry.   I don’t expect him to, though, because he’s getting plenty of backslaps in the conservative evangelical community for it.  A community, I should add, that loves drawing huge generalizations and massive stereotypes of people unlike them.   In other words, a community perpetuating unwise distinctions that lead to masses of evangelicals being unwise stereotypers. And when they engage in that sort of behavior, that lack of wisdom obscures some of their solid, Biblical teachings that our culture needs to hear and see lived out.

Nate

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4 thoughts on “Emerging church panel discussion…

  1. I watched the panel and am confused as to why you think DeYoung should apologize? He has his opinions/beliefs and he clearly stated them. He based his comments on the writings from the emergent leaders and regardless of what McKnight says, the guys who sell the most books are the leaders because they’re who the general public identifies as the leaders.

    DeYoung’s book (have you read it?)does not demonize; he lets the emergent people speak for themselves and the book has gobs of footnotes. (I checked a few of them on the Bell book I have.)

    As for your comment that the conservative evangelical community, “loves drawing huge generalization and massive stereotypes of people unlike them”: pot, meet kettle.

  2. Labels. I can honestly say that I cannot understand humanity’s passion for labels. That’s what I saw this whole video being about. People discussing why one group has decided to label themselves this or that and what it means to the others.

    Why do we have to complicate things to the point of absurdity? Love God with all your heart, soul and mind…and love your neighbor as yourself, if you do these things, then you’ve fulfilled the whole of the law.” That’s seems pretty simple to me. (I must clarify, the CONCEPT is simple, but the application of it isn’t…cause I’ve found it’s hard to love people who spit in your face…)

    Honestly, why can’t people study their scriptures, let the Holy Spirit reveal the truth within and stop worrying about whether they are liberal, moderate or conservative…whether they are orthodox or emergent…arminian or calvinist..?

    The only thing that I really enjoyed hearing was when, I believe it was Tony quoted the response regarding working with anyone who knows that he was lost and is now found…etc. That’s unity. That’s not worrying about labels. That’s saying, I’m a Disciple of Christ, first and foremost and if you are a Disciple of Christ too, then we are family….

    *Shrugs* I’m not the most educated person in the world, but sometimes I wonder whether educating myself is worth it if it leads to having to decide upon all these labels….

    In Humble Service to Christ Jesus,

    -Troy W. Greene

  3. Christy,

    I think DeYoung should apologize for the reasons I used above. Whether he has opinions/beliefs or not is not particularly relevant to the discussion.

    What IS relevant is that DeYoung widely read on the Emergent conversation, which he confessed is very wide-ranging, and that different thinkers and practitioners are involved in it from very liberal to very conservative theologically. Yet he wrote a book primarily focusing on several thinkers in which he didn’t even address them on their own terms, but rather cherry-picked some of their positions he disagreed with, and inflated them into statements that read as statements that the Emergent crowd all subscribes to. In the quotes I’ve read from the book, Kevin spends a good dose of time “stacking the deck” on the quotes to make readers read the quotes the same way. On his behalf, many writers do this today to sell books and win friends in their own camp, but it doesn’t befit someone who warns others about the responsibility of teaching and turns around and perpetuates one of the biggest problems in the church today; stereotyping.

    I’m not sure what you’re trying to accomplish with the “pot, meet kettle” comment, because I share a whole lot of affinity with the conservative evangelical community’s desire to know the Bible, to preach and live Jesus, and to be faithful as a higher priority than cultural relevance. If you had read a little closer, I said at the end,

    “when they engage in that sort of behavior, that lack of wisdom obscures some of their solid, Biblical teachings that our culture needs to hear and see lived out.”

    I’ve read the first two chapters of the book, and I trust Scot McKnight more than most Christian leaders as an even-handed, wise man. When Scot McKnight says you’ve been uncharitable and inaccurate, no matter who you are, there’s a great chance you’ve been uncharitable and inaccurate.

    Nate

  4. Troy,

    I share your distaste for labels. I did hear lots of labeling as well, but I do think it’s important to comment that Tony Jones and Scot McKnight were trying to resist certain labels of the emerging conversation because that’s precisely what it is; a conversation, not a denomination, and a wide range of voices, not one or three leaders.

    I too appreciate the simplicity of Jesus’ words there as to the summing up of the law and the prophets, and I also agree that the application isn’t simple. In fact, there is a huge word that shows up time and again in the Bible and in the ministry of Jesus, and the word is “wisdom.” Wisdom, to define it loosely, is the ability to appreciate laws and boundaries while transcending the black/white to lead people in the gray of normal everyday living. One thing true of the Bible, for better or worse, is that it doesn’t give absolute answers for every little thing we run into in life. We, then, need to rely on God’s Spirit within us, the community of disciples around us, and other wise persons for how we make decisions and find out what is true and right and good.

    I think where the distinction lies between a poor education and an excellent education is whether the knowledge we acquire “puffs up” our pride or whether it drives us to our knees in humility as we seek out truth together.

    Thanks for your perspective. Don’t let the sometime abstractions of theology keep you away from the pursuit of truth, brother!

    Nate

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