Monday, April 6, 2009

Confusion or Clarity?

Over at Pyromaniacs Phil Johnson has posted, what I believe, are some spot-on observations about the panel discussion (above) on the Emergent Church at the recent Christian Book Expo. Check it out HERE.

Your Thoughts?


Mark W. said...

A few observations Todd:
- I understand the Emergent spokespersons' frustration with the critical focus on Brian McLaren BUT his books are the ones we saw on reading lists in our church before we took action. He sells books; Dan Kimball, Stanley Grenz not so much.
- I'm surprised at how defensive and angry Jones and McKnight were. A little arrogant too.
- Surprised that Jones challenged the Harris brothers' "orthodoxy" by citing the example of the church fathers. I'm no great church historian, but one of the reasons for the great church councils was to confirm the foundational truths of the faith. There were strange concepts proposed by some church fathers largely because doctrine wasn't yet settled.
- Agree with DeYoung that this was a wasted opportunity for a more substantive discussion and for displaying humility and Christian charity to those whom we disagree.
- It would have been off-topic, but I wish someone would have asked Jones to defend his approval of homosexual lifestyles. Would have highlighted just how far off the reservation he is.

Todd Pruitt said...


I agree with your observations. McKnight totally missed the opportunity to engage thoughtfully. Also, Jones is the last one who should be challenging anyone's orthodoxy. He claims to be orthodox because he says he believes the Apostle's Creed. The problem is that the Creed is by no means exhaustive. Also, many emergents claim the right to private interpretation. When they say they believe Jesus rose again they do not necessarily mean that he actually rose from the grave but that they "experience Jesus as risen." Rob Bell has said that it does not matter if someone digs up Jesus' bones. The apostle Paul, of course, would disagree.

It is entirely appropriate to bring up MacLaren. He is the most well-known and prolific of all the emergent leaders (a term they don't like). Brian MacLaren IS mainstream Emergent. I think McKnight simply does not want to admit this.

Karen said...

Todd, I recently followed some links on the right side of your blog to info about Dave Dunbar and Biblical Seminary. Do you care to comment? As you know, Dave preached at COS before you came. Dave mentioned an issue he had had w/his board over what a missional church should look like once in a sermon, but I was not aware of the whole emergent issue at the time. Thank you!

Mainline Mom said...

Wow, finally watched this whole entire thing. Honestly I really hate to see this kind of conflict...Jones got totally out of hand and McKnight did come off as a grouch...DeYoung just stewed a lot. Those Harris kids are awesome of course. Being somewhat unfamiliar with the whole work of the Emerging movement I was STUNNED to hear McKnight mention two names extremely familiar to me that I had no idea were involved...John Franke and Dave Dunbar. Dave for obvious connection to COS and John I know through personal connections. I really am curious about those two and their writings now. Was not a big fan of Dave's preaching while at COS, but his doctrine was not the reason.

Todd Pruitt said...

I am sure John Franke is a fine man. But I would never want any of my children to sit under his teaching. His post-modern approach to truth and error have obvious impacts on how he views the Bible and theology.

Michael Horton quite effectively in my mind showed the deficiencies of Dr. Franke's approach in a point/counterpoint they did a few years ago at Westminster.

I have almost no knowlege of Dave Dunbar. He seems like a terrific guy. I am concerned however with his invitations to Brian MacLaren to speak at Biblical. It would be one thing if the invitation was for MacLaren to debate someone who actually believes the Bible. But as far as I know MacLaren has been there to teach without being challenged. That is troubling because not only does MacLaren deny the reliability and authority of God's Word he also denies the atonement, justification by faith, hell, and the necessity of faith in Jesus for salvation.

Why would this man be given an audience at Biblical Seminary?

Todd Pruitt said...

One more thing...

There is a website from concerned alumni and former faculty at Biblical Seminary - They are raising some valuable questions.

Mainline Mom said...

Ok so, I have a few close friends who are alumni of Biblical and that is how I know of John. My opinion of him is very very NOT good and it has absolutely nothing to do with his teaching or writing or doctrine. Kinda like the Harris twins's personal and saying that is not helpful ;) But gossip is not something I will do. Sad that McClaren has been invited to teach with no challenge. I read Tony Jones' blog about the crucificiation of Christ today and I was totally disheartened by it. And the man was downright nasty to the Harris twins in a previous post. Humbled epistimology my a**.

Todd Pruitt said...

Each time I read emergent's like Jones or MacLaren on the cross I get disheartened. They have stripped the cross of its power. They deny that anything objective happened on the cross. They deny that Jesus "died for sins according to the Scriptures." They deny that a sacrifice had to take place for God to forgive sins. It truly is blasphemy. And yet MacLaren and other men who hold this view are invited to Biblical, not to debate, but to speak.

Dr. Franke is a favorite theologian among the emergent crowd. He is an organizing member of Emergent Village.

And I agree with your assessement of the "humble" epistomology of Jones and others. They love questions so long as they are not the ones being questioned. They love challenges so long as they are not the ones being challenged.

Mainline Mom said...

I don't know if the world is really THAT small, or if somehow I just happened to run in certain circles of people in the Philly area, probably as a result of my connection with DCCS and COS. The first I EVER heard the term Emerging came as a warning from Kent Sparks in the Young Families class. I'm still on the Y-Fam email list and I admit that I miss being involved.

One thing in that video that caught my attention was Scot's comment about kids raised in "orthodox homes" are 75% likely to adandon the church and only return in their 30's. I'm conducting a brief survey of my class at DC on Facebook and finding that statistic does not hold true among us...and I'm learning somethings about why we were different. My eyes are opening, as I consider how to raise my kids, to things like heritage and legacy and "family" that were a part of DC.