Thursday, November 17, 2005

Dan and iggy converse

This was originally a comment under the last post called "Don't Call me brother".
I decided to bring it our as a post on it's own as Dan and I have begun quite an interesting dialog.

At Thursday, November 17, 2005 12:07:20 PM, Dan said...As I have said before, I have looked at the emrgent church movement and I am not going to say that everything about it is bad. But I do think that it is far to volatile for me to consider it "good." I don't want to hijack this thread so if it seems that I am doing so, we can move this to a different forum. My main problems with the emergent church are as follows

1) its constant attempts to escape definition and remove itself from any one authority makes it impossible to take seriously. For example, to call something a movement and an open non judgemental conversation seems pretty contradictory. In order to be a movement there has to be a point you are moving toward. So it follows that there are paths that are judged insufficient because they do not lead to that point.

2) The cursory treatment of church history and theology given by emergents. Brian McLaren is notorious for this. His treatment of baptism in Generous Orthodoxy is particularly bad not only for his lack of sources sited, but also the lack of compensation for his obvious bias. I'm not sure which bothered me more in this particular section, the fact that his history was so wrong or the fact that he summed up the history of Christian baptism in little over a paragraph.

3) Lacking a sense of the gravity of the subjects being dealt with. I realize that the emergent conversation is meant to be open and all, but more emergents need to realize that they are tossing around the beliefs that Christians have spent their lives following and perhaps even died for like an old hat. With Mclaren again as an example, refering to everything as a sacrament and expecting all of chrisendom to jump on the bandwagon is insulting. Imaging walking up to a priest and telling him that the eucharist is no more a sacrament than "looking at the smile of a down syndrome child."

4) The lack of solid scholarly work coming from the emergent movement. Much of what I have read from emergents has been much more in the vain of the evangelical machine that they are trying to escape than truly scholarly work. I realize that it is a young movement and is a victim of the gen x and y disconnect with the previous generations leaving it severed from the traditions and knowedge that came before, but if this movement wants to become something truly substantial, it needs to bridge that gap.

I'm going to stop here for now because this is getting long.
Again sorry for the possible hijack.


Again welcome.
I will try to answer in regards to your post here...

Which is better. A stale, possible wrong, doctrine, or the living Christ?

1. In fact we have removed ourseslves from the authority such as Ingrid and Paul Proctors... If you read most church memberhsip rules they will simply read.
a. beleive in Christ Jesus
b. Acknowledge His authority

Here is the issue this would include a demon in the fellowship as they do this. What seperates us from a demon is LOVE and a relationship based on LOVE. Out of this LOVE come authority, but again it is tempored with LOVE.

2. You might be surprised as I have not read Brians last book, nor do I consider Brian my personal spokesman for my personal doctrine. I think he has tried to bridge the gap, that I personally beleive is past being built, and/or he is still caught in the old paridgm and has not caught that the bridge is Jesus Himself with which we all must cross as He instructs us to build it. I am sure Brian's view on Baptism is provoking. Yet, you might be surprised as the Church of Christ has many emergent's whom I disagree with over their view on baptism, yet I still fellowship with them as brothers. As I said there are Calvinist, Open Theist, and Armenians and of course an iggy. haha. Yet we all seem to be able to converse without the type of attitude that is prevelant of modernism that is "me right/you wrong thinking. In fact I believe Christianity transends right wrong thinking and focuses on what is good... as in the Romans passage which Paul struggle between not doing "good" and doing "good" as opposed to doind right and wrong.

3. My friend have you ever read any Martin Luthers writings? they are hillariously witty and contain some of the best insights of a beleive one can read. Martin Luther had a sense of humor. Actually to say this as an accusation, seems to show your lack of the very journey many emergents have walked. I for one have struggled deeply and prayed hard over many of the things I have deconstructed, knowing very well that many Christians have died for that beleif... which is even more sad as history shows Many died from fellow beleiver own hands. In fact we are not to die for our beleifs, but for Christ’s sake. It is sadder that some have died for just someones “ideology” that may have not even been scriptural…. Such as John Calvin’s murdering of those who didi not agree with him.I tend to agree with that in the definition of Sacrament, that Christ is revealed in many ways in our life… to just keep Christ contained in worship involveing the Sacraments to me, loses the broadness that God’s Grace can be received. I attended a denomination which would give communion after taking the bread and out fo a box, serve it out then placing it back into a box… and that is how the congrgation lived… with God in a box during the week so as to not be a bother in their day to day live… Yet the scripture tells us that Christ is to BE our very LIFE for He is LIFE itself.

4. I think you may be reading some of the wrong books…. Remember Brian McLaren is only a small point in the conversation. In fact the conversation is much larger and I even regret that it is now called a movememtn as I see that diminshes from the whole that I precieve. Also, remember that Brian’s NKOC series is ment to provoke thoughts and challenge. In fact it is a new genera of fact/fiction in form. I was surprised to read other books where Brian seems to me too modern in his views.

I recommend some other books as:Churchnext Eddie GibbsBooks on Dietrich Bonheoffer or his writings if one can find a good translation.Anything by Len SweetThe Church in Emerging Culture: Five PerspectivesBrian McLaren’s Church on the Other Side, The which is a great book to me, and I think you may find very interesting on his view of authority. Which to me is too modern in his view here.Finally, it seems that you are really lumping many of us all together. I also think that you are very much throwing a broad blanket over emergent. I have painstakingly step by step followed Jesus in my walk, as I am sure you have also. I am not one who takes changing things lightly. I really only read others thoughts outside the Bible to challenge my own. Along the way I have learned that even when, or rather when my faith becomes too comfortable God reveals something to me that challenges and disturbs my very core. This promotes growth in me. I think we can say there are many churches that have become so entrenched in “their view” that if one disagrees with them on anything even politics is to be labeled a heretic. I used to find comfort in knowing all the answers like the Bible answer man… yet now I find comfort in know Jesus is the answer and how in my life in faith through His grace this plays itself out. I see the Bible as a living document, which Jesus Himself is the embodiedment of. I do not think we have and anointed translations that are perfect, yet I personally hold the Bible above any other book in reverence. I am amazed as many claim to take the Bible literally, yet do not. Since I have begun this journey, I have seen that I do take it literally more and more…. Such as take care of the widows and orphans.My friend you have not hijacked this post, we have just conversed which mind you is not allowed in many churches today. I would add that if we do not look at real ways to reach this postmodern people they will be in hell…. The real thing not Brian’s version of hell.

If you want some additional understandings I recommend and downloading from
Be blessed brother…
I have enjoyed the conversation.



Dan said...

Alright, lets take a look here.

1) Let me use another word besides authority since there is a lot of connotation that may muddle my intended meaning. What I meant by authority is a central voice; a point of entry by which those who are not part of or familiar with the emergent church can look to. A lack of such a center, the emergent church will appear to be nothing but a cacophony with no discernable melody. This may be fine with you, but realize that it does put a major schism between you and the bulk of the church as far as communication is concerned.
Concerning requirements for church membership, i can garauntee you that most churches require much more than believing in Jesus and acknowledging his authority since roughly 75% of christians in the world are either catholic, orthodox, or lutheran. i agree that love distinguishes us from demons but I think there is a great deal more as well. But that is neither here nor there.
2) Your points about Mr. Mclaren kind of go to my first point.
I am glad that you have fellowship with Christians of many differnt beliefs, I wouldn't expect anything les. But the point i am making has nothing to do with accepting Christians of other denominations as brothers and sisters in Christ. i hardly think this conversation would look as it does (or perhaps even happen at all) if we did not both know this to be true.
Finally, the right and wrong I was talking about in this point was not refering to right or wrong doctrine, but accurate and thorough statement of historical facts. In the case of Mr. McLaren, i didn't even get to critiquing his actual theology. i only pointed out problems with his record of history and his paraphrasing of theological beliefs.
3) I am very familar with Martin Luther's works and my concern is not with sarcasm or even having a sense of humor. my problem is with individuals who will write up a quicky synopsis of such matters as the sacraments and throw out 2000 years of tradition and prayerful revelation in 4 pages as if it were simply an old newspaper. Again, my criticism was notwith any particular view (we could spend years going over that) but simply the lack of respect that is given to these beliefs. i am not saying that anyone is spitting on the alter directly, but the way that these subjects are treated, it seems like the traditions that have preserved and informed them are simply pushed to the side as if to say "ok, we'll take it from here you can go wait outside." If you are not one of these individuals, then kudos, these comments are not directed at you. But there are others who share your title (as members of the emergent church) who this is addressed to.
In regards to your statements on dying for belief rather than Christ, i think we may be splitting heirs. i should have perhaps used a better word than belief. i like the word religion but unfortunately no one else does and it gets misinterpreted all the time. But know when I say either of these i am speaking of a complete faith, not simply a system of thought.
Finally, I do not put Christ in a box, i do not break bread with a fox... ;)
4) Hopefully i will find the right books and i can stand corrected.

One side note, in #3 you said, "...seems to show your lack of the very journey many emergents have walked."
i do not know what journey you are talking about, but i do feel fairly sure that we are not familiar enough for you to speak on what journey i have been on. Either way, my journey certainly doesn't change whether my point is true or not. If you would like to know about my walk, then by all means ask, but lets keep such comments out of these discussions.

It seems to me that defining the emergent church is trying to nail down a cloud and any attempts to hold it steady long enough for inspection will end with a wasted nail and a hole in my perfectly good desk. So I propose something different. Let us discuss the emergent church as a conversation between the two of us. i will not look to emergent texts to define you, but allow you to define yourself (if you choose to use those texts then by all means). If you are willing, i think that an interesting discussion could arise and perhaps better inform both sides of the emergent phenomenon; supporters and critics alike (or at least our friends that stop by to make weird comments about napolean dynamite). So if you are willing, I'd be interested to know how you yourself define the emergent church.

iggy said...


1. What you are saying is that you want someone or an institution or organization to speak for a group of people… While scripture is clear that Jesus is the Chief Sheppard and High Priest so we no longer need a spokesman as we as believers have Jesus Himself. Until we as believer really believe this we will never nor could we ever on our own achieve the Lord’s Prayer in John chapter 17 as He prays for unity. If we continue in our denominationalism which is the true schisms we will only splinter and divide more and more. I believe that is the issue as many in emergent have done that very thing of placing Christ above everything… even the man made denominations and found that there is not higher authority needed. This may be a cacophony to you, but I believe there you find the source of the conversation Jesus Himself by the power of the Holy Spirit. I know this may not set well as an answer, yet I see that it was not until around the time of Constantine that the Nicolaitans were able to take control of the Church and turn it into a priest/laity institution. I this we lost Jesus as the central Head and replaced it with a man. Again, I do not expect you to agree with me, as this is what I have found in my own studies. I see no need to be attached to any head except the One True Head, Jesus. Frankly I believe that since the time of Constantine the church has been corrupt. The foundations laid before that time up until Irenaeus was on a firm foundation of the direct disciples of Jesus. After that it was appointed men by Constantine to do apologetics of this emperor, who replaced Jesus as the Head of the Church.
2. Brian McLaren is just a man. I see that is the issue you seem to have is that myself and many others may appreciate BM but in no way call him the Leader. Again refer to point one. I see this as consistent and I feel fine speaking for myself without hiding behind anyone or thing in my faith. Again, you seem to have read more of his new books, as I have not. I spend most my time preparing teachings and reading the Bible to be prepared. Again, I see BM as a fellow spokesman, but not my official spokesman as say the head of the SBC, or the Pope. I need no one in my life to stand before neither man nor God except Jesus Himself. As far as history I see that many traditionalist have no real grasp of their own history. To say that a man’s like John Calvin and how he lived has no reflecting on his theology. I see it is directly related, as how he lived was a reflection of the God he served. By murdering those who disagree, he is simply doing God’s will in keeping the elect pure… which is and always was the job of Jesus… not any man.
3. I am not sure at all to what you are referring. I have seen only people who have struggled and soul searched. Maybe it is that they have gone beyond you own understanding and boxed in theology. Maybe it is that they have found freedom in Christ to not be shackled with the very things you seem to hold as so important. I cannot really answer this unless I have some specific references.
4. (Side note) When I refer to the journey I mean each person must walk out their own faith. Or as the scripture says, “work out our faith in fear and trembling…” I this we have on one hand, a very personal faith walked out with a very personal God in a very personal relationship. Yet, it also works out as we are placed into the Body of Christ (which is symbolized by baptism) and there we interrelate in community with other believers.
5. I guess in a way it is hard to nail down emergent, but why is there that need to do that? It seems that there is one area that in the modern mind is something of importance while many who are coming from a postmodern worldview do not. In fact that element of mystery is what is attractive to post moderns and is one way we emergent’s have found to reach these for Christ. Someone who is of a postmodern mindset finds the need of the instutution to be the authority as something to be weary of. I guess the real question is if people have outgrown the modern mindset, be that good or bad, then should we as believers seek God in new ways to reach these people? For me I see the many failures of the modern churches and see that we have great need to move forward to reach a generation going to hell.

A side note for you. Have you looked into ? They have a unique way of sharing the Gospel by using the history of the church in a way that shows Christianity as an ancient religion as opposed to a new religion, which many seem to think it is. Having lived by Santa Cruz I can tell you that Wicca and other religious groups are very popular and try to teach that Christianity is a new religion compared to their own. (Though Wicca is only as old as the 1930’s if that). At this church they hold in high regard the history of the Church and the saints that lived.

If you want to see how I define the emergent church check out the link called "Soapbox". I have written some of my thoughts there on that topic.


iggy said...

Forgive me as i was meaning to change the first sentence and not have it sould like I am putting words in your mouth, I was going to chang that to say, "What I hear you saying is..."

I don't mean to imply or make you sound like you are saying anything your are not. That was not my intention. I tend to write quickly (and often glibbly {grin}) and go back over things to edit and that was missed.


Dan said...

let's look at points 1 and 5 together.
First off, I think you are blowing things out of proportion by claiming that a spokesman or organization goes against Christ, not to mention we have been through this discussion before. Christ set aside Peter as the head o the church, Paul set up bishops and deacons in the name of Christ and placed man as the head of women. Allowing an authority figure in the church is in no way against the gospel. Butwhat i was talking about doesn't really apply to this. i wasn't talking about a person to stand between you and God, i was speaking of a person who would stand between you and the rest of the church that is trying to understand whether this movement is a blessing or a curse. Secondly, the emergent church can be however it chooses. If you want it to be formless then great, have a ball. But the problem I see is that you are so focused on speking to the post modern mindset that you have completely written off the majority of the church that does not know postmodern paradigms or at least don't exist in it. If you truly want to achieve John 17, then why are you not willing make yourself accecible to them? This pretty much ties into all of my problems with emergents. There is an abandon ship mentality that paints the majority of the church as obsolete, soon to pass, and not worth taking seriously. I think your misunderstanding of the early church shows this. Sorry to burst your bubble, but the church was corrupt long before Constantine. Just look through the epistles and you encounter the circumcision sect and all sorts of false teachers and prophets that corrupt the chuches under Paul's watch. After that we run into the gnostics and arians and all sorts of odd little beliefs within the church that corrupted the original teachings. Constantine certainly didn't help things in many ways, but he did form the council at Nicea that wrote the Nicene creed in order to fight the corruption of the churches core doctrine. my point is that the church has always been corrupt and will always be corrupt. But it is corrupt because Man is corrupt. To think that removing ourselves from institutions and placing ourself as the only reliable interpretor of scripture and spirit will somehow fix things is naive. Many have tried such an approach and discovered just as much failure as the church.
3) Again, i wasn't talking about theology here. i was talking about the emergent approach to theology. This ties in to my comment in 1 that the emergent church has no regard for the church that came before except as a historical reference rather thn a being that is still alive with the Spirit. The way i see emergents treat theology and tradition is like a family that goes to their grandparents house and starts picking through their belongings, pointing out the things they like, throwing aside the things they want thinking that old g'ma and g'pa are going to pass at anytime. All the while g'ma and g'pa are sitting in the room in fine health wondering why their favorite clack was just thrown in the garbage without so much as a word. This is the problem with the so called conversation, its entirely inwardly focused. Whether or not the conclusions of such conversations are valid or not, it is inconsiderate.
I'm not sure what is exactly boxed in by my faith, but if you would like to inform me I'd be interested to hear. But let us remember that freedom in Christ is slavery (Mt. 6:24, Mt. 11:29 1 Cor. 9:19).
4) how does this inform what you said in the first place?

I have been to, and i think its good stuff for evangelicals. As a lutheran in a church that makes a point to show that we are an ancient religion (making note that the kyrie is 1800 year old etc) I can definately resonate with that. I also am a big fan of looking at how Christian faith is seen through and how it enlightens the postmodern context. but I manage to hold this view and do these things within my church. We both seem to be seeking the same thing, but with much different philosophies. This article gives a fair example of the philosophy I relate to when it comes to church unity.

iggy said...

I do think we are at loggerheads here with each other. It may be me... and my in ablity to convey clearly to you MY personal values and WHYs as to my personal beleifs.

I apprieciate your patience with me.

Thank you for clueing me in that you are coming from a Luthern perspective. To me this gives me understanding as to why you are so strongly for the institutional model. I want you to understand I do think that one can work within the system and denomination and still be a Christian, and be in the will of God. I also realize I am a radical in my views. I accept that some if not many do not and will not accept the views and values I have no more than people did with Jesus in His day.

Believe me I too have a respect for the Sacremants and have gone into long debates with my protestant brothers as to thier lack of apprieciation of them. I may not go as far as transubstantiation (if that is the right word) but I do see that in the spiritual realm this could and may actually happen. I also do think that in Christ, all things have been made new, in this all things have been set aside as Holy. If that is true I can have a connection and communion with "the smile of a down syndrom child" and experience God's grace as well as when I take communion.

Again, I am full aware I am a radical in many ways. yet, I see this is how I have been equiped by God to reach those who He desires me to reach.

I see no need if all come to Unity as Jesus prayed in John 17, that we (emergents) need a person to be a spokesman. In fact there are many that are in a sense spokes men. Brian McLaren, John O'keefe, Andrew jones, jason Clark, Jordon Cooper, Leonard Sweet... just to name a few and many many more. Not all agree in the method but agree that new methods need to be had and most agree on a major shift in values in Christianity. Personally I was surprised how traditional Brian McLaren's church was... It seemed too modern for me.

Methods and models will change, yet the core of the value of emergent is not method or model or this years fashion. Most of those that are into candels and things tend to be the trendy program driven churches, sort of off shoots of Rick Warren or Bill Hybles purpose/seeker driven churches.

The issue that emergents have is that we value the person. When programs come that are for church growth, so that one can have a mega church.... so that they can collect more money, we tend to think that is shallow and desire that the focus is on the person and making disciples to further the Kingdom. It is often in reaching for the higher principle that we are often looked at as being a bit snobbish or judgemental.

If you go back to some of my original posts you will read about my struggle and how i felt as my eyes seemed to be opening to these new values. It was a hard time as i left the fellowship I was attending and began to follow Christ closer than I have ever had in years.

I hope that we can move into an actual conversation here. I think if we can speak more from the heart and not so much from the head to each other, we can move towards conversing with each other.

My intention is not to make you think like me. As I said, I appreiciate that one challengs me and makes me re-evaluate my own position. Believe me I am open to change. In fact i know I had some error in a few of my posts, yet I decided to leave it rather that go and correct it as that is where I was at the time.

Forgive me if this seems a bit rambled on...


Elson - son of El (El means God in hebrew) said...

brother, my church is going to be broadcasted in USA! New Creation Church! anyway brother, Christ is simple. yet people made it difficult. men always complicated God. Salvation is easy (for it is believe in the heart first, then confess with the mouth). then people come along saying, "u must do this and u must do that.." lol, they added more things. they even scared people by saying salvation can be lost.

i wonder why did Abba give us the Holy Spirit. is it not that we will listen to Him and not others? even if He spoke through others to us, we will know, for we have the Spirit of Christ.

it doesnt take a wise man to know God...

Elson - son of El (El means God in hebrew) said...

the way of men changes, the way of the Lord is forever the same - faithful. His way is Jesus.....

since we know Jesus is love....

this is a short story:

there was once a man called E.
E was crying out to God," Father, speak to me now, i wanna hear Your voice. in Jesus name.Amen."

there was no reply. total silence.

E prayed again," Father, have You not heard me?"


E was sad, disappointed and felt rejected at that moment.

years later E died and went to heaven.

He asked the Lord," Lord, why havent You heard my prayer?"

Jesus said, "I did. at that moment, I poured out My love into your heart. My language is love."


if the greatest love is, in a sense, as simple as dying for a friend, how simple can God be, as He is love?

be loved,

iggy said...

Good to hear from you... how is school treating you?

If you can get your hands on a book called "Classic Christianity" by Bob George, I think you will really love it. It breaks down Christianity and Grace to the purest understanding I have ever heard... You can check out People to People's podcast also.

That is great about your church. I have listened to a coupel of sermons from New Creation. It seems a fine church. Maybe not exactly "my style" but that is me as I have said even in this post i am a bit of a radical in the emergent movement.

I look at the love and fellowship we share in CHrist. I have not even met you and can feel the love of Christ when you visit my blog. I am always amazed when i read your blog.

God is so good. i always pray you recieve more revelations to share.

Keep on blessing my brother!


Elson - son of El (El means God in hebrew) said...

again, the way of God is simple. simply rest in the leading of HIs Holy Spirit and He will lead us into what to preach, what to say and what to teach...

i do not want to set aside the Spirit of Grace and live with my carnal mind.

it's so simple. follow the Holy Spirit! haha

sorry that i wrote so much... read what u guys wrote here and there and i hardly see the word Holy Spirit. this is why i wrote all this.

Jesus is my Lord,

leviathen said...


You Said - "But the problem I see is that you are so focused on speking to the post modern mindset that you have completely written off the majority of the church that does not know postmodern paradigms or at least don't exist in it."

I would argue that becsue of a persons belief.... or desire for openess, it has been the opposite. Not the "postMods or Emergents" that haev shunned the rest of the church, bu the rest of the church has sent us away, calling them heritics. (in some cases) and in other cases when one decides that for the good of the community they will sperate themselves they are labeled with teh tag that you have just leveled.

You said - "This pretty much ties into all of my problems with emergents. There is an abandon ship mentality that paints the majority of the church as obsolete, soon to pass, and not worth taking seriously."

Again I would argue your perspective is wrong. There are many who see it the exact opposite, including me. mainly from my own Experience. i haev experienced what you talk about from teh other dirtection, not the opposite.

You said - "I think your misunderstanding of the early church shows this. Sorry to burst your bubble, but the church was corrupt long before Constantine."

Dude your bed side mannor could use some work. i don't think that was the point he was trying to make. that Constantine was the savoiur of the church, i think he was simply stating an opinion ABOUT constatine.

You said - "my point is that the church has always been corrupt and will always be corrupt. But it is corrupt because Man is corrupt."

too true.

You said - "To think that removing ourselves from institutions and placing ourself as the only reliable interpretor of scripture and spirit will somehow fix things is naive."

First, i don't think thats what he meant, but aside from that, staying within the institution that has gotten it wrong over and over and over again and thnking that maybe this time they will get it right, is just as naive. i think there are actaully a lower percentage of those in the emergent church who have "removed" themselves from the church. and those that have, including me, haev done it for reasons that go far beyond emregent. in fact, many haev gone so far as to move into a more liturgical facet, based upon the relative reverence and authority that that medium provides them.

You Said - "This ties in to my comment in 1 that the emergent church has no regard for the church that came before except as a historical reference rather thn a being that is still alive with the Spirit. "

This could not be farther from the truth!! as a matter of fact many churches hold this to be very very important. although it does dpepend on the community you are in, but then again that can be said for non-emergent as well. i think my biggest point in all of this may be that you cannot pin point one idea or one arguement that will accost all of the emergent conversation. it is really so much wider than that.

You said - "This is the problem with the so called conversation, its entirely inwardly focused. Whether or not the conclusions of such conversations are valid or not, it is inconsiderate."

except we are not talking about a story about our grandparents. we are talking about salvation, heaven, hell, life, love, passion, realtionship, etc. and if there is a mistake in the way we have been doing things, then we MUST deconstruct what was past and reconstruct where we must go. these are important things! it irritates me that people don't see these things as important enough to deconstruct, yet they would rather take someone elses word for it. hogwash i say!

Just a side note. I hope your are not offended, but your post many times come across, to me, as arrogant, and debasing. Perhaps this is the wrong way to call you on this, but I don't really know you that well, and if you don't like me..... you don't like me. But i do enjoy your conversations and hope they will continue, but i also get really tired of your debasing things that i believe in, things that i have wrought with much fear and trembling.

please don't confuse, debate with debase. i love hear your debate, not so much the debase.


iggy said...

It is simple and man does convolude it to the mirkiest point. Yet, for man to trust and to really believe. ahhhh that is the core of what many of us who are part of emergent focus on. How can we return to that focus... by the power of the Holy Spirit as you have said. Yet, again we let institutions and programs and what ever else stand in the view of our Beloved Saviour and then lie to ourselve that we are content! Such a subtle and evil distraction from the simplicity. To Rest completely and trust completely and to allow Jesus to clean us from the inside by the Seed of the Spirit planted in us as John says in his epistles. To get to the raw nerve of our faith and let it sting with the suffering in CHrist to achieve maturity in the faith!!!!

If we can just allow ourselves to trust God's Holy SPirit in us to guide us in all things as Jesus promise. If we can let our walls of seperation be torn down like the walls of Jericho... by the Spirit of Christ... then that Unity is only a Breath away.

Not, by power, or by might, but by My Spirit says the Lord. Not by our own ingenuity or by our knowledge, but in our weakness and very much acknowledging our need... are we freed to begin such simplistic plan of salvation God has give....

this all starts with a humble heart and a bended knee...


Dan said...

Wow, a lot happens within a weekend.

ok let's see here.


I certainly don't deny that the emergents have been shunned from many churches within mainline denominations. Taking into consideration that this whole topic was born out of a horrible example of this (the article about the the baptismal accident being God's will) i would have to be blind not to see this. But whether or not mainline churches are shunning emergents doesn't speak to whether or not emergents are doing the same thing or not. Realize that my whole perspective on the issue is that all means must be exhausted to reform existing church bodies rather than seperate. If you wouldn't mind reading the first things article i posted, this would help you understand where i am coming from. Iggy himself said that "I do think that one can work within the system and denomination." My belief is that, if this is the case, why would we bother with starting new churches, denominations, etc. Again, the article i posted will fill this out a bit, and i hardy see my self as eloquent enough to post something better than that article at the moment.
As far as Iggy's comments on Constantine, I didn't think he was trying to say he was the savior of the church. In fact i thought he was saying the opposite, that under Constantine Christ was replaced with men as the head of the church (which there is some validity to, though it is an over simplification of matters). Perhaps I read his comments wrong, but my interpretation of what he wrote is a fairly common sentiment among "non-traditionalists" for lack of a better word. many people beleive that the church went wrong around the time of Constantine and continued to be so until the reformation (or the latter rain movement, or later depending on the person). My point was simply that the church had corruption from the beginning not only in the apostolic age, but also during Christ's ministry (Judas comes to mind). I'm sorry if the way i phrased that offended anyone, my tone was intended to be tongue-in-cheek. i'm sorry if it came off pointed.

"staying within the institution that has gotten it wrong over and over and over again and thnking that maybe this time they will get it right, is just as naive."

I would agree with this point. That's why i am not suggesting that. I have no delusions that "the institution" will ever get things right. I stay with the institution and strive to correct it, not because i expect it to change, but because it is the right thing to do. Again, I point to the article, particularly the section on th jansenists.
"in fact, many haev gone so far as to move into a more liturgical facet, based upon the relative reverence and authority that that medium provides them."

I am very aware of this and this is where a lot of my problems lie. What i have seen in emergent groups is this buffet style liturgy where they grad sacraments and liturgical elements, throw them together with some lighting and mood music and call it "traditional." They don't bother to understand the weight that these things had in the early church or what they man to those who still partake in these things every day. In fact, many of them act as if they are the only ones on the block who truly understand the traditions and spirit of the early church. This may not pertain to you or Iggy, in fact, from talking to both of you, it doesn't for the most part. But this pop-postmodern movement is what is getting in Christianity today and is the version of the emergent church that is getting picked up by churches all over the country.
"it irritates me that people don't see these things as important enough to deconstruct"
I don't have a problem with deconstruction, but how things are deconstructed. I feel that there are many people who have been so quick to let the wrecking balls fly, they neglect to see that there are still people in the building they are tearing down. And, i should note, that those people include our grandparents and all the faithful departed who I believe we still worship with today. The church is not just those living but all the saints who have gone before.
i don't really know what to tell you as far as debasing your beliefs. It seems that, according to this conversation anyway, that the things i have addressed are not your beliefs. I realze that using the term "emergents'lumps a large group of notions together, but clarifying different people, groups, and articles that all exist under this name and claim to be unified in some sense is quiet a headache. Most of the things I am confronting here are the popular sects of the emergent movement. If what I say doesn't reflect your particular views, i am in no way trying to tell you what you do or believe. Just like if you decided to post about how horrible it is that LCMS churches don't let women give communion. I wouldn't take offense to this because my church doesn't do this nor do I condone churches that do.

That being said, perhaps we should maybe clarify how the term emergent can be used to describe this whole conversation, in other words, what makes a person emergent? Or maybe we can move to a topic and discuss it as Christians with different perspectives rather than representatives of certain groups. i wouls actually be interested in what everyone thinks of the First Things article about church unity (oh, have i mentioned that yet :) )

I'll try to stop by the soapbox and read up as soon as i get a chance.

i don't believe we have met (and I guess technically we still haven't). It's nice to meet you. Good to note that the Holy Spirit is key. For me, the activity of the Holy Spirit is kind of a given, so i may go without saying it explcitly, though the Holy Spirit is way too underplayed these days.

iggy said...

This is why I hate to even call it a movement... it seems to then degenerate into soemthing much less than it is... It seems too fadish and has become like in so many churchs just candels adn a cool worship band.... This is the very thing we realy are against... but modern churches take these to be hip and get people to come.

Now I am nto against a cool worship band... as I have written before in my blog, but if one goes to church for that... they are missing the point of worship altogether.

Again, ask any emergent the same question and you get a different answer. Each of us have soul searched our values and what it means to be a Christ follower. Many of us have been kicked out of churches, or left as we saw nothing there but shallowness. Again, i am a radical as i see the time for bridges is done. We need to cut the cord and move on. Brian McLaren would nto agree. He is for working within the system to bring Unity. Now, you, me and whoever may nto agree with his view, but that is a CHrist centered value... as i keep saying about John 17.

I think you may have only scratched the surface. I for a long tme did nto even want to call myself emergent as it was being marketed as the next wave and that marketing seemed so Purpose/Program Driven to me.

Here is the thing if one starts from my very first blog you will see a sort of progression that is common to emergent people. We just did not fit in the "system". As I said we were asked t leave because we see things differently and seem to share different values. More that often we are not money drive, or we see that true ministry is often lost or undone because one is too busy doing "church things". We see a would going to hell, however we decide to define it. We are free thinkers and quite frankly I often feel very inadaquite when it comes to sharing my thoughts as I see that many are far more educated than myself.

Yet, somehow when we gather and talk and share our experiences we find so much in common..... We tend to transend politics... I mean we can talk and have fun without judgment.... well excep[ for some of Levi's views.... (grin).

Also. Don't believe the propaganda of the Paul Proctors and Ingrids of this world... they have such a sick and twisted view of True Christianity it makes me want to Barf... Even mainstream Pat Robersons types preach this underlining hatred...

believe me... I still rub shoulders with pastors from many different denomination... and so many are right in step with PR, Igrid,and PP. You cannot mix Love and hate... in christ.


Dan said...


So it seems that we can agree that the emergent element that we may call posers are problematic. So we'll put aside the emergent label and continue our conversation simply as two "wayfarers."

It appears to me that the biggest difference that we have encountered is what is the church, how are we connected to her, and how do we deal with her faults?
You said in your post, "Many of us have been kicked out of churches, or left as we saw nothing there but shallowness. Again, i am a radical as i see the time for bridges is done. We need to cut the cord and move on."

COuld you fill that out a bit?

leviathen said...


in my experience with "the conversation" most people that have any solidity would agree that the "posers" are problematic. I think from this side of the equation i see it as trying to put a new face or patch problems, when i see the need being for straight out reform, knock down the house and start brand new. almost like a road that has been patched so many times it is almost worst than a dirt road, so it comes time to repave the road.


Dan said...


Your comment ties into the comment Iggy made that I found interesting and a bit confusing. You argued with me when i said that emergents see the majority of the church as obsolete yet it seems that this is exactly what you are saying here.
This last remark that you me is the crux of what I find troubling in your views. iF this is truly your take on the church then it doesn't suprise me that mainline Christians don't take your views seriously or are even hostile. it's hard to have a discussion with someone when they have a sledghammer in one hand and blueprints in the other showing how their veranda is going to be where your living room is.
I personally feel that if God is fully capable of freeing his people from slavery by the most powerful nation around and blessing them with the establishment of their own country, then He is fully capable of restoring His church.

iggy said...

it's hard to have a discussion with someone when they have a sledghammer in one hand and blueprints in the other showing how their veranda is going to be where your living room is.

I agree.... yet that is what the OT prophets, John the Baptist, and even Jesus himself did.... it is what the Apostles did with Judism and so on. It is what the reformers did... as in Martin Luther. I know Luther loved the Church and did not set out to start a reformation just set out what he felt should be changed... then he was called a heritic and cast out of the very Church he loved and was working from within to restor back to the true faith and stop the true hearesy that was taking place.

I think if you look at Church history you will see that were sin was grace abound. It took place in many forms and in it's time it was problably exactly the best way to reach mankind with the gospel.

Now, I know this is a extreme example but, I think that in a way moderns are asking people to get wife by going and banging her over the head and dragging her back to the cave... yet that to the rest of us is very wrong and even an abomination of sorts. We see that at the time of the cavemen that was the way to do it... but we are notin that time and we need to find a better way to approach getting a wife.

I guess my question to you is... do you think that the RC Church thought Martin Luther a defender of the faith at the time he wrote his 95 thesis? From their perspective he was due death as a heritic. Yet, history now shows him to be a great man of faith who restored (to a point)the true faith. I say to a point as liken to Iraq, which has never been a democracy, and only knew monarchy or dictatorship, now must learn how to be a democracy. They will not understand in depth what we take for granted here in America. Nor did the those of the Reformation know in depth what God is revealing now.


Dan said...


i understand the point you are trying to make here, but you've created a false analogy on several points here. The OT prophets (though to get into any depth with this we'd really have to take it prophet by propher) came to show Israel that they were contradicting and neglecting their own beliefs. They didn't come to destroy the house and rebuild, but rather to prevent Israel from destroying their own house! Christ did the same thing as well as coming to complete and fulfill the old beliefs.
Luther very much comes from that same tradition. His purpose was to restore the church. he pointed out that the abuses within the church were contradicting its own teachings (*quick note they didn't just call him a heretic, they tried to kill him). You will never read anything by Luther that says the church is beyond repair and must be started anew. And, in answer to your question, there were many within the Roman Catholic church that saw Luther as a defender of the faith that is why his movement flourished and why the catholic church had an internal reformation shortly after in which they addressed many of the problems Luther and others brought up. It is also important to note that Luther was extremely upset with the groups that denied all traditions of the Catholic church and refered to them as devilish.
You lost me on the whole caveman thing, I'm not exactly sure what parallel you are drawing there.
The government thing is problematic as well. if you're going to commit to that analogy you would have to either deny that God has been present with the church for 2000 years or that he has had just as much of a role in politics as he does in the church. Either way you run into major problems.
As this conversation continues i think that we will ultimately get to our main point of departure which is what the church was supposed to be, specifically in the area of authority. Looking at what you wrote on Soapbox, i think this is probably the case. We started that conversation on my blog a while back but you guys stopped posting and so it stopped somewhat abruptly. But i think it is a worthwhile topic to explore, so maybe I'll resurrect it for the sake of this conversation.


iggy said...


"The OT prophets (though to get into any depth with this we'd really have to take it prophet by propher) came to show Israel that they were contradicting and neglecting their own beliefs. They didn't come to destroy the house and rebuild, but rather to prevent Israel from destroying their own house!"

That what we are really doing.... We see that certian values that modern churches ahve taken on themselve and attached to Christianity as contridicting and neglecting the true values in Christianity. Again, you seem to think we are out to destroy something... it is destroying itself.

We see it as non church people do not relate to the modern view... they are removed from it for many genreations in Europe, and at least my one generation in America. A person can say, "My parents/grandparents were/are Christian, yet they themselves have become products of a seculerized system that denies God and lives in relitivism.

BTW they tried to kill Luther because they thought him a heretic. really same dif.
I agree that the RCC did have a reformation of it's own... though it was not until the mid 1980's that an official appology was issued to Martin Luther.

I have written much about how I see the CHurch as organic and living as opposed to an institution. I see it as the literal BOdy of Christ much in the same way RC and Lutherns view the Eucharist. It is that we are place inside the Body of Christ and abide in Christ... we fellowship as One in Him and in the fact we are all parts of the same Body.

Many claim that they take the Bible literal, and I am told I do not... yet I seem to take many things much more literal than those who say they do. For example i think Jesus really meant it was better to lose and eye, or cut one's hand off than to burn in Hell. I think that was literal. It was to sting bad and show the depravity that man's spirit was shackled with. Yet, sermon after sermon i have heard, say it is just a metaphor of allagory to show how important the Law was. I see it was to show how far from the perfect that the Law required and man could not ever reach on his own. I see that in the context jesus spoke to Jews under the Law on how perfect they needed to be to fullfil the Law and make it to heaven... this was to set up the understanding of Grace.

I see that sort of thing with the Church... when the Bible says it is the Body of Christ, I believe it literally. When I began to explore the relational aspect of the Trinity, and who relationship with a God WHom embodies relationship even with Himself i could see the connection of Head to Body... Christ the Head, connected to His Body... the Church. even in the Greek the word ekklesia is "the ones chosen unto perfection". We having received Christ are placed into His perfection... and are chosen unto perfect....IN CHRIST.

Agian, if one grasps what i am saying I think the idea of "church" being an institution becomes somewhat repugnant.


Dan said...


If you are here to reform then great, but perhaps Levi would like to chime in on this particular point seeing as he has put a great deal of emphasis on deconstruction and tearing up the road to start a new one.
you said,
"yet they themselves have become products of a seculerized system that denies God and lives in relitivism. "

Do you think that a good response to relitivism is to contour the church to a postmodern model and continue to change it as society changes? It seems to me that a focus on the unchanging church that remains eternally countercultural is the best defense to relitivism.
I would agree that the church is the body of Christ, but how does that negate the church being an institution? This is where I think we might want to look back at what was said on my blog. I think we may have a different context for the word "institution."

iggy said...

the difference to me is not that the church is unchanging... but relatable and relevant.

Relatable as Jesus is. God is a God of relationship.... That is what sets Him apart from all other Gods. Allah is unknowable and can do good and then evil and give no reason... Our God is relatable and desires to reveal Who He is... and has done this in His Son Jesus.

It is unchanging in some ways... yet it is ever growing. Jesus said the Kingdom of God is like a mustard seed... a small seed that dies then changes and becomes one of the largest of garden plants. We are called to growth and maturity... so in effect the Kingdom is ever changing though Jesus Himself is not ever changing.

I think the real issue is should the church reflect society or should the church infect society.

I see that as we confront the culture we in fact infect it. Too many church have become none relevant to the postmodern people. They see no need for it. So I see that we as the church need to find ways to become relevant... this can be through many different ways. Through social change I believe is a big way... think Mother Theresa and her impact on India's caste system. Her counterculteral idealogies changed and infected millions... all by her act of kindness and mercy to the poor.

I see the arts in particular a major way for us to infect the society. I see that to become part of ones community to the point were you are missed if you are gone is a way to impact society.

My main aversion to "institution" is that it implies "man made". I also implies lifelessness as opposed to Christ being LIFE itself.

Many call marriage an institution... and i see that as a flat and 2 dimensional image of what marriage is... It is two lifes joined in harmony (hopefully).

If you look at the dictionary definition in can encompass life and community and even relationship... but it still also carries that it is the building... even that it is a place for the mentally ill. (thought that was a bit funny as it seems to fit my paridgm).

I think that to keep calling the Church an institution devalues it. It is like saying Ben and Jerrys is just ice cream. You can get ice cream any where... but it is not Ben and Jerrys. It also carries with it the conotation of a corperation. In a worldy sense it is sort of... yet the reality is that it is the Body of Christ. I think we need to add value to who we are as Christians and even more Who we serve. I think the modern church has added value to the building program and the become a member of our church class and the find your purpose manual.

Again, it revolves around values.


Dan said...

Though you may say Ben and Jerry's is more than ice cream, you'd still never say that it wasn't ice cream. It seems like your aversion to the church being considered an institution is not the fnction of the church that would make it is, but rather just a problem with the word institution. I would agree that the church is much more than an institution, but I would never throw out its institutional aspects just because that doesn't fully define it.

iggy said...

I think again it devalues the church to call it an institution just as calling our God... just another god. It brings down instead of lifts up it degrades instead instills an eternal focus on who we really are. It is to me like saying Jesus was just a teacher and not saying Who He really is.


Dan said...

calling the church an institution does devalue it... if that is all you think it is. But that is not at all what i am saying. just as saying that God is merciful devalues Him if you don't also say that he is just.
You may think whatever you want about the word institution, but what the word institution may connote to you in no way effects whether or not the church is one. This is an important point. i think you have confused the connotation of institution with the definition of it. There is nothing in the definition of institution that would warrant it being a degrading term. But if institution has taken on such an ill association then perhaps it would help to eliminate the word. So instead i will say the church is a "widget,' and by widget I mean " A custom, practice, relationship, or behavioral pattern of importance in the life of a community or society" and/or " An established organization or foundation, especially one dedicated to education, public service, or culture." Again this is not an all encompassing definition of church, but it is an important aspect of the terrestrial church.

Dan said...

i would again point to the conversation in my blog (that I have moved to a new post) on this subject. there I go over the biblical justification for such a view.

iggy said...

It may not be in Luthern tradition, yet many protestant and baptist, especially fundamentalsit do say that the Universal Church does not exist and when refering to church in only means local gatherings... which are only institutions.

I have gotten this from many different pastors from many different denominaional background. I think that those who come from the Catholic tradition background have a better grasp of some of the terms... especially the Universal Church being the Body of Christ.


Dan said...


i agree that the beliefs of some protestants that the Church is restricted to their denomination is at worst sinful and at best laughable. The lutheran church has a much more open concept of the church and still holds to the Apostles' Creed that says, 'we beleive in the catholic church." But this doesn't change whether or not the church funtions as an institution. The church is made up of a body of people who share the same beliefs and goal and organize their seperate callings to achieve that goal. When Christ came and told us to love God and to love one another, he didn't leave it at that. he gave practices (such as baptism and communion) guidelines, and leaders to help us carry out this weighty task. has it been corrupted and abused? Absolutely, but that doesn't warrant throwing it out completely. Just as the many people who have abused and distorted god's grace doesn't warrant us abandoning it. Does that clear things up some?


iggy said...

I think we are geeting closer to understanding each other. I agree that to a point the church is an institution as in part say, the corperate type structure. That I do conceed without any problem. Yet, we cannot confuse that as the total picture of What/Who the Body of christ rally is.


leviathen said...


as you asked me to chime in on the deconstruction of the church, i think you and i, as we haev disscussed before, see "the Church" as to different things ands the things we believe about that thing makes perfect sense from our perspective.

i do not believe that "the church" has anything to do with the institutional structure that houses and orchestratesd the moral law. The church is the people nof God and the relationship that happens between them. in that sense it is living, moving, breathing.

the institution i see no need for. i see it "self-destructing" as iggy put. there really is no need fo rme to deconstruct anythign about it. becasue in my opinion in ten years it will not look like anythign it looks like today. JMO

i understand your point, i just don't see it that way. In my estimation, Martin Luther, did not come to reform anything. He competely deconstructed the faith. What do you think his 95 thesises were? in deconstruction, you do not have to abandon everything, it is not saying all is lost. but it is rebuilding your foundations so that it can fit the new and proper growth.

sorry i haven't been as much inthis conversation as i would have liked, thanksgiving and all.


leviathen said...

sorry reread that last section and it sounded a littl efunny.

what i mena to say is, although i believe in deconstruction and thinkn that it was at the basis of the first reformation. i don't think i need to make a big deal about it becasue i think that the church itself is self destructing as we know it.

and will then need ot be reconstructed anyway.


Dan said...

Hey guys,

I hope Thanksgiving treated you all well. I can definately say i did my part in the great turkey massacre of 2005. Anyways, back to the topic.

levi said
"I do not believe that "the church" has anything to do with the institutional structure that houses and orchestratesd the moral law. The church is the people nof God and the relationship that happens between them. in that sense it is living, moving, breathing."

I don't think I have said anything to the contrary. The church is the people called, predestined, justified, etc by God and the relationship that exists betwen them. But lets look at these people and their relationships. In the church, you have many people given many gifts to glorify God and to serve His purpose. It would hardly be of God for such a group to go about using their gifts as they see fit. Rather from the love they have to serve God and mankind they organize to become stronger and more effective. They find people with the same or complimentary gifts to work beside them and form networks within their community. The younger or newer people seek out the counsel of the older and/or more experienced to learn about their gifts and pass on the wisdom of past generations. Some members of this body dedicate their lives to their respective part, making sure that all of its members get all the nourishment they need and keep the body pursuing its goals with peace and love. Here we see a hierarchy and a system that is born of love and a desire to serve God and one another. The problem that I believe you and iggy may be seeing is not the existence of a system, but when the system comes first. There were times in history where a system was imposed and virtue was forced to reside in it.
As an example, look at the family dynamic. Two people fall in love and, with the guidance of friends and family, they devote themselves to one another. They show each other love through respect, service, physical affection, etc. They have a child and show they love for him or her and teach him/her the things they know, protect him/her for harm, and show him/her the joys of life and often go to their friends and family to learn and be encouraged in their paenthood. Now imagine someone observing this pattern for years, writing countless notes and compresing it into a manual. This person then takes a man and a women and tells them "this is the way life is supposed to be, you must do it this way" gives them the manual, and observes them to make sure they follow every step. In a sense, these two couples do the same thing. But the results may be completely different. There is no assurance that the second couple felt love or joy in their experience. Worst of all they have no true loyalty to this system. If someone came along and said "what you are doing is completely outdated and wrong." They could very easily agree with them and abondon thier system. The first couple on the other hand understands the value of this system not because it was shown to them in a big book with a large index and impressive bibliography, but rather because they have lived it and the authority they had (friends and family) was one of love not forceful indoctrination.
So I believe that there is a place for a system, but it must be organic and living. This doesn't mean that it can't be rigid (for what is a body without bones to keep it sturdy, or DNA to act as a consistent model for the body to dictate itself by throughout its life). More than anything i think this is by far the most biblical model.
And i would very much agree that the church is destructing, but perhaps for a different reason than you. Again, I point over to the first things article at:

sorry, I don't really know much html, so i can't so the cool "link" thingy.

Dan said...

it appears i cleared the room with this one ;)