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« Five Years Ago, Five Years From Now | Main | Report From Emergent Summit - Part 1 of 4 »


A Wolf in a Lawyer's Tuxedo

While this is an admirable statement that deserves consideration, it will take more than a single blog post to undo the damage inflicted by Mr. McLaren's ungenerous caricatures of "modern" evangelicals that continue to be propogated by his "A New Kind of Christian" trilogy as well as his book "A Generous Orthodoxy." As long as these books are out there confusing the issues, little progress will be made.

Randy McRoberts

Those four particular books are among the most enlightening I have ever read. I thought I was the only Christian who wrestled with such things. Brian let me know that there are many like me and I need not keep my mouth closed for fear of being labelled a heretic.


Very helpful response. Thank you.

I was so encouraged by the reminder to remember the poor. At the end of the day, this thing of ours is not about being emergent or otherwise. It's about following Christ, whose grace is evident in these wise words.


Ms. Dombrowski says it all in one paragraph...the enemy is within the gates, and is posing as " more authentic" , while it is simply a new age counterfeit.

mary fran

Beautifully written gang!!! Thank you for your gracious responses in spite of some of the harsh personal attacks many of you have had. As usual, thank you for the encouragement!


You silly liberals! I love how you have to correct yourselves all the time. "Now Liz, remember to keep in mind that your words might come across as offensive." Your project doesn't even work in your own house. It is impossible, you simply can't guard your tongue the way system demands.

Warmly, CT


It's called PASSIVE-AGGRESSIVE. This statement is no different than everything heard before. The underlying sentiment is that the critics are narrow-minded, selective legalists and misguided dinosaurs. Nice try, Slippery, Slimey Emergent! You fool only those entranced by your poetically smiley luster. Soothsayers!

Tera Yakel

Thanks for such a well worded, loving and thoughtful response. I have been continually impressed by the amount of love and grace that I see in the majority of those involved in this emergent conversation.


Very, very well said and stated, Emergent fellows...very, very, very sad words from the "other" side professing Jesus as Lord...when will so-called followers of Jesus ever learn that their vitriolic responses, their "name withheld" e-mail boxes, and their weak theological stances simply do nothing more than betray their supposed allegiances to Jesus, the Risen One?
Keep writing, keep following, keep looking beyond and past the so-called "keepers of the gate" who are nothing more than Pharisees meandering through the 21st century blogosphere.

Name Withheld

I agree with Herold on one important thing:

The commenters on this post who praise the "response" are dismissive of the commenters who are critical of it. They use language that is just as harsh (though more disguised) as the language of the dessenters.

I'm new to the whole thing, and openly admit I don't get it. But I'm not being harsh in my words. I'm just saying, if the emergent church movement is about dialogue and acceptance and respect...it doesn't show from the commenters who so quickly bash the words of critics.

If someone disagrees with the emergent movement...are they wrong? Because that's the message the comments on this post send.

Dan-D from Canada

Name withheld - I think many of us try to support the Response without "critic bashing" - but you are right to warn us of this. It is a temptation that I fight when I read some of the comments posted by people that are overtly insulting - I think we've all seen good examples of that, from both sides. I pray we can live up to the standard you and others rightly call us to.

I am more than willing to respectfully dialogue and agree to disagree with anyone, as well as to accept correction when applicable - I think we have alot to learn from our critics. I do stand by my earlier comment, and want to say again: Would anyone be willing/able to support the claim that emergent denies Christ as it professes him with an example of where one of the above Responders has done so?

name withheld

I wasn't talking about you d-dan, your responses seem genuinely polite.

I was just pointing out that there are, what...40 comments here? And of those 40 who care enough to read and comment on this "response" there are at least three or so that label critics with negative terms. I was particularly offended by the guy above my post, who wrote about "so-called Christians" being "Pharisees" and "keepers of the gate." (I even chose my screen name from his post).

If emergent is going to have any resonance or relevance to regular non-seminarian guys like me...then it cannot be as judgemental as some of its critics.

The "Responders" you refer to...I'm guessing those are the authors of this post...and they indeed used language that was polite and kind.

I wonder about (and worry about) the regular Joes...the ones latching on to Emergent without actually grasping its apparent message of embracing diversity.


"Name withheld,"
There are thoughtful critics who earn and get thoughtful responses and then there are people who say things like "Nice try, Slippery, Slimey Emergent! You fool only those entranced by your poetically smiley luster. Soothsayers!"

At a certain point it's okay to call out someone's unhelpful negativity for what it is, right?


Wow - a little bit of hate here, huh?

Honestly, really honestly - I appreciate what all y'all in Emergent have done for us guys out here who had similar problems and suspicion on our faith; y'all have put feelings into words that have deeply helped me and helped those who I am ministering among.

Haters can hate all they want, I'm living this life just like many others here - just trying to be faithful and follow our Savior's teachings.

May God continue the hated, yet deeply loved work of the emergents.


Your sixth point is mealy-mouthed and will be seen as such, rightfully, by those who only see liberal nonsense (and worse) in your movement.

From the 6th Point: "...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..."

So any 'hermeneutical position' is as good as any other, yet you aren't relativists. And 'absolutism' is 'arrogant' (and absurd and dangerous) by definition, implying that any claim to Truth - such as, for instance, that five solas theology is Biblical Truth - is arrogant, absurd and dangerous. OK. No, you're not relativists, and, yes, you believe there is such a thing as truth, except that you don't. Or, you do, and you don't. Got it.

Mike Morrell

For those who continue to have difficulty with the relative few folks who have penned the above response, it might be helpful to "fly above" and see just how diverse the voices are who are participating in this conversation. You'll probably find brothers and sisters who have some of the same questions and concerns that you do who, rather than eliciting a kneejerk reaction from "emergers," are welcomed as important dialog partners. (For such an example, I think of Frank Viola's Will The Emerging Church Fully Emerge?) Its not what you say, but the spirit in which you say it.

john umland

i'm an outsider looking in. been looking for a short while. left my thoughts on my blog. i did get irritated with straw men in this "response." FWIW, http://umbl0g.blogspot.com/2005/06/my-response-to-our-response-to-critics.html
God is good

tom montali

re: Emergent response

A masterful declaration of dialectic deceit. The apostle Peter warned the church of these.

2 Peter 2:17-19
"These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever.

For when they speak great swelling [words] of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, [through much] wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error.

While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage."

By the way, the church of Jesus Christ is not a "human endeavor" (to quote you), this is where you do greatly err. If you are presently involved in this work of 'man' you need to come out. If you're 'contemplating' entering the movement, be warned also by the apostle Peter....

2 Peter 3:17
"Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know [these things] before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness."

Run. Fast.

To those who would deem this to be "harsh".....the standard is and must always be the Word of God and not the words of men.


Mike DeVries

Let me be another voice that says "thank you" for your thoughtful response. I think that what some people are exhibiting here in their comments is exactly what disturbs me the most about the past few months. Many, many people quoting things out of context and making enormous leaps in logic.

While I, like many others, welcome the critique of our thoughts and expressions, I have to admit that I have been disturbed lately by the lack of dialogue between those of us who are seeking new expressions and those who are critical of the exploration. I have seen very hurtful and inaccurate things said about dear friends of mine [who love Jesus immensely and are committed to the Kingdom] in print. To make matters more disturbing is the reality that when these friends have reached out to enter into dialogue with critics, the offers have by and large gone unaccepted.

Let me reiterate that we welcome the critique. Critique is necessary and healthy - but it needs to be done in a spirit of love, trust and dialogue. Too often there is only reaction, rather than true dialogue - which is unfortunate. I know from personal experience the hurt of being judged by people who take things out of context - making statements about thoughts without entering into a honest, mutual dialogue over the issues at hand. Being involved in this exploration has cost me and my family much - like many, many others out there.

Thanks, again for the response - which I felt wwas grace-filled and thoughtful. I only wish that more of the critics would exhibit the same generosity that was expressed in the reponse.


OK, Let me give this a shot. Here is a statement from an ec critic in the same spirit as the one above:

I appreciate the ec's critique of the modern church and its acceptance of all of Church History, as long as one realizes that "all" to some usually refers to Theresa Avila and Francis. We respectfully disagree with the ec on some points, but realize that some will feel a bit more inclined to submit to their experiences and emotions, and we're OK with that. We may not be theologically dysfunctional like some in ec, but we really love them and respect their right to be without the Christ of the Bible.

We appreciate the shift away from a Christ always filled with wrath, and would affirm the love of Christ to be predominant in His children, but would respectfully disagree with the Christ who is always nice even in the face of something false or evil. However, because many have grown up with Mr. Rogers and that is a part of our culture, we respect and tolerate lovingly and with many smiles, the inclination of ec to conform Christ to his image even if we personally feel you are lost for doing so. We love you even if your uninformed and on a different road than those who know Christ.

In summary, blessings be upon all: prophets, false prophets, Mother Theresa and Hitler. Grace to everybody even to those who would disagree and be less than thrilled with this post. I love you even in your dislike of me or what I stand for because they fuzzy monkeys that live in my brain told me to do so. Have a happy clappy day shiney people.


Great statement, guys!

And thanks for your graciousness in the midst of sometimes difficult conversations.



good times, good times... thanks for the grace-filled words...
To quote you from the emergentno site- if you don't like it, you don't have to come here and read it. It sounds like maybe you should just kind of ignore us heretics from here on out. The little monkeys told me to tell you so. :)

rob Lewin

Hey you horible men,
Knowing you and your passion for Jesus has been life changing for me.
I believe in you, and am grateful for your endurance in this.
Thanks for being willing to honor all these voices.
Keep walkin'.


Bob, when did i say that? Please let me know because I don't remember ever saying that. Where is it? Sounds a little venomous to me. Why the hostility. Am I not allowed in the conversation because I don't agree with you?


PS, I never ignore wolves. I'm a shepherd.

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