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Thursday, November 16, 2006

Kettle: "Hey Pot, you're black!"

As some have graciously pointed out, I have allowed concerns to become personal at times; attacking the person, rather than just examining their doctrine. I've been trying to work on that. In my zeal for truth, I can sometimes appear unloving. (Though I am a strong proponent of the Biblical concept that love without truth is not love.)

A "movement" I have found concerning at times, can be the emergent movement and those who lead it. Here's the progression of my comments about the movement: First, I spoke of the movement as a whole (which was far too general and quite useless). From there, I spoke of specific concerns within the movement (but those concerns are not true for all who say they are part of the conversation, so it was still not very beneficial). Next I began to speak of individuals within the movement that concern me (but that was far too personal). Finally, I looked at specific statements made by specific individuals regarding specific doctrines (but some still were hornked by it).

Yet, if there is going to be a "conversation," doesn't there need to be feedback?

In the July/August edition of Relevant magazine, there is an article about the emerging church movement (Emergent, specifically). One man offered critiques of Emergent (that it has incorporated and is now fundraising, and it's more political tone). This man was very quick to say he is not trying to be hostile, he wants to be seen as a friend. Then, at the end, he makes this statement:
I'll be anxious to see how this all comes out. This is a lover's quarrel, not a Carson critique [reference to D.A. Carson's Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church]. In fact, I would rather be wrong with Brian McLaren than right with D.A. Carson.
Perhaps, I'm misunderstanding his quote. But it seems to me that he is stating that D.A. Carson is not a guy he would want to associate with. He'd rather stand shoulder to shoulder with McLaren even if he is wrong (because he likes him), than he would like to stand shoulder to shoulder with D.A. Carson, even if Carson is right (because he doesn't like him).

I'm not even that concerned with his flippancy toward that which is right. (I don't think that was his point and it could be blown out of proportion.) I'm more concerned that he saw fit to draw a dividing line between he and Carson (when dividing lines are supposedly what they are trying to diminish), assume Carson's motive (by juxtaposing it with love, he makes it seem that Carson's was a heartless critique), and then make it personal (in essence, saying he doesn't like Carson). Aren't these the very attacks those of us who are cautious about emerging church face? Shouldn't the rules work both ways?

[Furthermore, this is an article, not even a blog. Not excusing it, but a blog can very quickly be published. Something can upset you, you're emotionally involved, you blog about it, and it's out there to be read. This was an interview, followed by the article being written, followed by the article being edited, then being published. He had more than enough time to consider his statement and consider whether he found it appropriate.]

I've faced significant criticism for questioning some tenents taught by those who are considered emerging. Guys I do compliment in those circles are quickly discounted as fringe guys that don't really count (Kimball, Driscoll). I admit that some of the criticism was justified, for I assumed motives and made it ad hominem, and I have tried to correct it. But if we're going to have a "conversation" that needs to work both ways.

I admit that my concerns have not always been expressed with the love which generated those concerns. But I think it is important that both sides admit that critiques can feel personal, but are necessary for all of us, and start being willing to work together. Telling me I'm wrong is one of the most loving things someone can do. I pray that works both ways.
Faithful are the wounds of a friend,
but deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.


  • At 11:35 AM, Blogger BReformed said…

    To your point: if we're going to have a "conversation" that needs to work both ways.

    But it ain't gonna happen.

    The problem with the ├╝ber emerger is the embrace of an erudite, 1960's style "down with the establishment" philosophy complete with the pensive looks and culturally-ubiquitous cosmetology. "They" are the scholarly ones, the enlightened ones. Nay, they are the Hollow Men who respond to our feedback with a "talk to the hand".

    Let's be clear: these ideas (i.e., doctrines) are not self-perpetuating. People construct them, propagate them, and defend them. People are being deceived by people who are deceived. Ad hominem is part and parcel of the discussion. Scatological langauge in the pulpit, for example, speaks directly to the character of a person according to the Bible. It warrants Ad hominem debate.

    Why? Because they are making people twice as much sons of hell as they are.

  • At 1:26 PM, Blogger peppo said…

    Carson's real crime with the emergers is probably just that he's not very cool. I myself have had to come to grips with the sad fact that, despite my valiant attempts, I will never be hip enough to be truly emergent. I can't wait until being stodgy and boring comes back into style.

  • At 1:56 PM, Blogger danny2 said…


    i agree that a conversation, as currently constructed can not occur...

    when i have received critiques, they typically refer to character (arrogance, pride, hard-heartedness, lack of grace), yet i can not seem to get people to help me overcome these problems.

    i am fallible (very!). i know i can be arrogant, smug, cocky, and sometimes even burn with an anger that is not righteous, yet when i ask these brothers who suddenly are concerned for the status of my soul for help: "crickets."

    i love your bold nature (it can get you in trouble at times) and i feel both smarter and dumber that i must consult a dictionary for many of your comments, but i really love that i know despite your job and the church you help shepherd and the people you disciple, if you saw a sin in my life, or if i called needing your help...you'd drop it and help your brother. i hope you know the same would be returned.

    i need those wounds from a friend, yet that is considered so unpopular right now. we must remember that He is Light and Love, therefore to shed light on darkness is the loving thing.

    however, i do hope a conversation can happen, but it will have to be objective...we can't stay in the subjective forever. i think this is why guys like driscoll and kimble are sometimes deemed "outside of the camp" by other pro-emergents...they do draw lines because they both seem to have an orthodox view of the Scriptures.


    i agree bro. but i have to check myself on this one. at times, i do feel like it's junior high all over again. i am not even remotely as cool as many "pro-emergent" folk, and i have to make sure i don't respond negatively because of that. praise God for cool people, because they can probably reach other cool people who are equally as lost as those who are uncool.

    but i know that is not me, nor will it ever be. i tried desperately to be cool when i was younger...didn't work out well. as long as we hang together, stodgy and boring will feel pretty cool!

  • At 2:01 PM, Blogger BReformed said…

    "Stodgy" is exactly what the Bible is. It is old, and it is old-fashioned. In fact, it is very old. And I wish that that the older pastoral generation would quit apologizing for it already, and infecting the younger generation with doubts about its power and relevance to this age.

    Another definition for stodgy is to have a rich, filling quality. The Word is that, too.

    "Preach the Word; be ready in season [when stodgy and boring are in style] and out of season [when stodgy and boring are not in style]; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction [speak the truth in love]." (2 Tim. 4:2, commentary added)

  • At 2:05 PM, Blogger BReformed said…

    You don't think I'm sitting here without my Internet thesaurus just spewing out this vast vocabulary, do you? :)

    I need a new dictionary word other than pusillanimous. I learned that one from Charles Emerson Winchester III on an episode of M*A*S*H.

  • At 7:08 PM, Blogger Brad said…

    Then hang together we shall.

    Love your amplified translation. As sincerely encouraging as it was humorous.

  • At 10:30 PM, Blogger curiouskatherine said…

    danny, i dont know why, but the first time i read this i seriously thought it said:

    "Katie: "Hey Puckett, you're black!""


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