Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Emerging, Emergent, Etc.

I really had not heard much about the Emerging / Emergent Church movement. I have recently become more curious as to what the Evangelical church was discounting or denying. I had a basic understanding of its ties to post-modernism and an understanding that it tended to ask some important questions that many Christians should ask, but often at the cost of losing the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the essential doctrines of the cross in the atonement. I had heard of McLaren & McManus, read Donald Miller, and listened to Mark Driscoll, but never really understood where they were diverging from orthodox Christianity, if at all?

If you are in the same boat, I'd highly recommend this 6 part series on a blog called Parchment and Pen (a collaborative blog with several contributers, including Dan Wallace of DTS) by C. Michael Patton: "Would the Real Emerger Please Stand Up?"
It will probably only take about an hour or so to read. It is a very educational and respectful approach to the complicated issue that only tends to get more complicated with labels and boxes and the oh-so human tendency to categorize things we don't understand in order to know who we can agree or disagree with, and often times to our shame, who we can or cannot be friends with.
You can click the link above and go from part to part or click this link to download the series in its entirety in PDF form. I would recommend however, looking at some of the comments and conversations that come up at the end of each post of the blog. Below is a quote from one of those comments as to why Patton wrote this series:
I was hoping to help a primarily evangelical audience that does not know much about the emerging movement outside of the criticism of MacArthur and Carson realize that to be emerging is a complex issue that cannot be broadbrushed with a simple critique. I want people to have balance in their understand, realizing that the voices in the emerging movement are real and significant.

I also wanted people to understand that to be emerging does not mean that you have departed from historic Christianity. I want people to know that there are many within the movement who are extremely orthodox such as Dan Kimball, Scot McKnight, and Mark Driscoll. And I want people to see that there are those such as Tony Jones, Brian McLaren, and Doug Pagitt who are stepping outside the bounds of orthodoxy...

Finally, I hope that this distinction between emerging and Emergent becomes widely recognized so that honor will be given to those who are truly soldiers of the cross reaching out with a pure Gospel even if you don’t agree with them on everything (i.e. Dan Kimball).
This is really worth taking the time to look over so that we 1) know where we stand and more importantly why we stand where we stand within Christian orthodoxy, 2) that we become more respectful to those we disagree with, and 3) that we are walking in the freedom Christ has given us and the obedience to Christ that He calls for us day by day as His representatives to the world.

P.S. Here is an extra clip of some theologians discussing the emergent movement (or at least the section of it that is most tied to post-modernism) CLICK.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Read the Label!

Happy Valentines Day. Well, I'm not much for Valentine's Day in general so I'm not awfully disappointed in today or anything, but it has been interesting to say the least. I think my favorite Valentine's Day was many years ago when my Mom bought me and my brothers a plastic hockey game (kind of like foosball, but on the ground and hockey). We played that game so much!

I have been sick and I woke up this morning with a really bad cough. So I went to the store to get cough medicine and waited in line behind all the men who woke up this morning realizing they needed to go get some flowers, candy, or perhaps a life-sized white stuffed bear and black balloons? I got home and was still coughing pretty badly so I wanted some medicine, quick! I opened the package, took the little cup that is provided, filled it to the brim, and drank it down. I then looked at the measurement for the cup and it said 4 tsps. I looked down at the box and it said the dosage is 2 tsps. Ooops! Four hours of extra sleeping and another 4 hours later, and let's just say I'm still kind of dizzy. My cough went away though :) !

One thing that I'm keeping in mind is that God is a relational God. The purpose of Valentine's is not as so many Americans gravitate towards, about spending money, greasing the wheels on the capitalistic machine; it should be about relationships. God is relational. We were created to have fellowship with Him and to enjoy Him in relationship. Sin created conflict in that relationship, distance. God sent the perfect sacrifice, Jesus Christ, to bring reconciliation and restoration of our relationship with Him. Sin still creates conflicts in our relationship with God. We hurt God's feelings when we sin, when we choose our sin over God in a rip-off exchange (see Rom. 1). The Christian life is not necessarily about growing into a 'better person' - "Be your best You", but that is a result which comes from growing in relationship with our Heavenly Father. We become different, better, more holy as we cling closer to the holiest, the best, the most distinct being there is, God.

Let's remember the relationship and not get distracted by all the fluff that is constantly surrounding us.

Saturday, February 2, 2008


This update includes:
  • Missions Training semester commenced
  • Joy of 1-1 Discipleship
  • Denton Community Internship
  • Praying for Peace in Kenya

Missions Training
I was very happy this week to begin my new semester of Missions Training. Mondays we will be studying Case Studies and problem-solving skills so that we can be better equipped to make decisions on the field, and Old Testament Exegesis where we will learn the best way to study, analyze, and interpret narrative, poetry, and prophecy. Wednesdays and Fridays we are studying Christian Doctrine: mostly we will be studying man, salvation, sanctification, and end times; the second class period is over Ecclesiology, the study of the church, what it is and its purpose in the world (I Peter 2:9). If you ever want to talk about any of these areas, I'm happy to discuss them with you. It actually solidifies what I'm learning when I get to have conversations about these things.
PRAY: Titus 1:1 - "Paul a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God's elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness." Please pray that as I study in MTI, the knowledge of the truth will sink into my heart and will make me a godlier person as the Holy Spirit applies the truth into action.
The joy of one-on-one discipleship is something that I can't get enough of. At the beginning of the new semester, I've been able to re-connect with many of the guys that I have discipled in the past and connect with some new guys also. I have learned over the last few years that through life-on-life discipleship, modeling, teaching, leading, and shepherding, every single believer can impact the world. Those who are faithful to take what they have learned and invest it in other people can influence generations for Christ whether they see it or not. I am very pleased to have the time and flexibility in my schedule to take part in the things that I desire to do in Kenya, right here in Denton as I continue my training.
PRAY: for the current ministry and preparation for future ministry - all this training has one goal, to make disciples according to the Great Commission of Jesus Christ.
Denton Community Church Internship
I have started working with Denton Community Church. Thus far, I have mostly been spending time with the pastor, Bryan Collins, and the worship pastor, Dustin McCarty, and helping out a little bit with the preparation of study guides for the church at home groups. I am very excited about the opportunity to preach this month at the church. This is something that I need to become experienced in because I will be doing a lot of this in Kenya, either planned or on the spot.
PRAY: For the sermon preparation this month and that I would be able to both LEARN from the church and SERVE the church in a mutually beneficial way.
Continue to pray for Kenya
The state of Kenya is still really bad. Killings have increased and no political resolution has come. Please continue to pray for peace, justice, and unity for the Kenyan people. Click here for article on the very recent violence in Western Kenya.
PRAY: Peace and unity in Kenya between politicians, tribes, Christians, and countrymen. Pray that Kenyan Christians would see the current crisis as an opportunity to share their faith.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and for praying!