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November 28, 2006


Tony asks you to publish your previous interview with him. I think that would be helpful. Will you do this?

Brett, I think that your paper was quite even-handed. I commend you for that.

I also don't think that he addressed your concerns adequately. For example, you built a very solid case for McLaren, Pagitt and Jones being powerful, influential figures within EV. For this reason alone, I think it's reasonable to speak about "Three Essential Concerns Regarding Emergent Village." (Thes are *concerns*, after all.)

He talked about how one can use the word "love" in different ways, and that it's therefore reasonable to use "truth" in different ways as well. I think that misses your point entirely. First of all, I don't think that the word "truth" can have the multiplicity of meanings that "love" does. Moreover, in his example, the context clearly shows the intended use of the word "love." The same cannot be said of Doug's equivocal use of the word "truth," especially since he uses them in two consecutive statements that were clearly meant to be flow together logically.

These are just a few examples. The bottom line: No, I don't think that he adequately addressed your concerns. Not at all.

I don't think he addressed all your issues with the emerging church but that wasn't his intent. That doesn't mean they are correct. I guess I consider myself emergent whatever that means. I often times agree with Brian. I also disagree too. I guess that is the difficulty with trying to define a movement too early.

Let's take a look at your first concern. The cross! I went back and re-read that chapter in Brian's book and I think you characterized the chapter very poorly. He actually presents six views of the atonement. Many of which I've heard in "non-emergent" churches as reasons or explainations of the work on the cross. Even looking into C.S. Lewis's view although I don't agree with Brian's summary of that view either.

I don't like the "divine child abuse" analogy either but I've heard it described as "holy suicide" You say the characters don't refute it but they actually do by going on to explain the other explainations of the cross. That doesn't refute the statement directly but it does address the issue of "was this just?"

What i didn't like about Tony's response to you was the look at your credentials. I am perfectly OK with folks from all walks of life giving a critique. We mustn't all be PHDs.

There is much more to say on your essay but not time at the moment. So i only gave it 2 cents..

-Wormwood Patient

Oh Dear, Tony is upset. The rest of us are confused. His critque of Brett, in part, comes down to this:

"To divorce Doug's words from the contexts in which they were written does him a great disservice."

Context? I thought we are all trapped behind our various language communities and can't get at what the author of any text originally meant.

Does Tony believe that or not?

Tony evidently believes that about Scripture:

'But I am on the record as reviling the so-called "doctrine of inerrancy." It's a doctrine that demands so many relative clauses ("in the original manuscripts"(which, by the way, we don't have), "in the author's intention" (which, by the way, we can't know), etc.) as to render it worthless.'


Thank you for writing that piece and for posting the response from Jones. I actually printed both off and during lunch placed them side by side to actually compare them. There were some interesting things that caught my eye.

One of the first things that I must say is that you did a very good job laying out your argument and presenting your paper. I was quite suprised, however, at the response that Jones made against your paper. He made the comment that he is shocked that your paper passes for scholarship. Well, when I read over your paper and than Jones, I thought that Jones was a High School student responding to a PhD paper. It was actually quite lousy. In fact I showed it to someone else and they thought that his was quite a rather unprofessional attempt to sidestep the arguement.

But that is what struck me the most, that Jones never really addresses the issue and instead sidesteps everything and throws up sand to attempt to blind the reader. He completely missed the point that you were trying to make. You made it clear that you do not despise the movement but rather that you are cautiously telling them that there may be danger ahead on the road they are travelling. Nothing wrong with that. However Jones trips over his own feet on a couple occasions instead of actually engaging you on the topic and does not address the issues you presented.

In the end I thought that you did a very good job and brought up things that are worth taking the time to digest and consider, some that I had not thought of and some that I am not sure if I agree with, but that's okay. I will think on them. Unfortunately I cannot say the same for Jones' paper. I am actually quite suprised that this came from a PhD candidate student, I thought that he would have done a much better job and at least graciously attempted to engage the topic and to lay out his arguement. I will at least give him some benefit of the doubt by saying that it is an online post, but that is as far as I will go.

Keep up the great work!


Truth seeker,

Why would you even compare Jones' and Kunkle's comments this way. Jones wrote a blog; this wasn't a scholarly work. He has been repeatedly encouraged and pressured to make a public response to Kunkle's paper so he does, even saying, this is not the most ideal medium for such a response. Kunkle went to an academic conference to present a scholarly work. Of course the two are going to be different. To cricize Jones' lack of scholarship is ridiculous. It was a blog.

What argument was Jones sidestepping? You consistently say Jones avoids the issue. Which one? Jones' remarks are a step by step response to every area that Kunkle critiques him. He clearly says he isn't going to critique Kunkle's view of others. I fail to see how he's sidestepping issues.

It doesn't matter if you're writing for a blog or a scholarly paper. Should we not strive for clear thinking and accuracy in both situations?

One argument he was sidestepping was what is truth. When he made the same comparison as love he lost me.

Can some emergent explain to me the different levels of truth?

My understanding what truth is if something is actually true and we believe it is true than there is truth. Anything other than that is subjective or its not true.

Just took a careful look at your concern number two and as a "emergent" I tend to agree with this but your statement begs soo much. You say "The Bible is authoratitive because of the kind of book it is." This is the worst kind of circular reasoning i suspect, but who knows because you don't explain how a book can be authoratitive because of it's "kind". Remember the community of believers made choices on what is in your Bible. I happen to think God guided them in their choices but wasn't that a "community of believers". I do not agree at all that the community makes the Bbile authoritative, but I believe the community makes the words in the bible live through the body of Christ so that interaction is critical.

Anyway I do find emergents questioning the Bible and sometimes in ways that make me go "huh" so I do think overall your concern 2 is a valid critique.

As to the post by wes.. maybe i am not a true emergent afterall because i believe truth is truth. I don't think there are multiple levels or shades of truth.

Worwood Patient

Dear Friends,

Thank you for your impassioned responses to Brett's paper and my blog post. Brett and I spoke on the phone yesterday, and had a nice chat. I could hear the smile on his face and the sounds of his kids in the background. I went home and baked cookies for my kids last night.

My point is, for Brett and me, our continued friendship is the most important element of this dialogue. Remember the days when Democrats and Republicans in Congress would fight like cats and dogs all day, then do out for a drink together at night. That doesn't happen anymore in Congress, but it still does among Emergent Village and Stand to Reason. We communicate openly with each other and, when possible, break bread together.

Brett and I harbor no animosity toward one another. I wish I could say the same about some of our blog commenters. I do not think Brett's a heretic or an evil person. Do I think he's wrong about some stuff? Yeah. And I also think my wife is wrong about some stuff, but I still sleep in the same bed with her every night.

Regarding the specific problems some of you have with my response: 1) I brought up Brett's educational qualifications in my response because he brought up mine in his paper. I honestly don't think that either matters to the argument, and I was trying to show that, albeit somewhat slyly; 2) mine was a blog post, not a paper for presentation at an academic guild -- I've written plenty of the latter, but this was not one of them.

I do find it a bit disheartening that most of the commentary and posts on other blogs have been about this "throw down," about the *tone* of our arguments, or about my challenge of Reformed leaders to hold Mark Driscoll relationally accountable. There has been *very little* substantive dialogue about either of our statements.

But, that's why I'm glad to have a friend like Brett. He sharpens my thinking. You should all be so lucky.


Hi Tony,
I was glad to see your response concerning the Bible. Unfortunately, I was not sure what you actually wrote because, by the way, I cannot know what you intended or if I was reading your original work. Here's hoping that my intention of sarcasm is properly received. I tap these keys with my own hands, hopefully these computers are competent and faithful copyists, Joshua.

A comment regarding Burke's discussion: "At this point in our history, I believe Goed is to be questioned as much as obeyed, created again and not simply worshipped."

During reading your Essential Concerns paper I was writing in the margin at the point of Burke's quote above. I circled the word "GOD" and wrote: "I believe our "concept" of "God" may need to be questioned and our "concept" may need NOT to be obeyed as with heel clicks." Further, "Our concept or perspective of what we think God is /wants needs to be reviewed to assure that we are doing justice to who God is from the Scriptures - in terms of the orignial languages - and not just the face value connotation of a 1611 (yr.) mentality dogma." God is There - as F.A. Schaeffer would have put it - but our ideas sometimes do not equate to the God who is there.

I have had to look at the Bill Gotherd inspired presentation of a typical heirarchy list of
1. God
2. Family
3. Church
4. Work
5. Myself (last)
.... with some scepticism due to the fact that something of a majority of what I "perceive" as God is likely what someone has told me He is and not in fact who/what He is - that I know for sure for myself.

Put God first? Not automatically - for the reason I stated above - it may not actually be __GOD__. Put anyone else first? Possibly not. If I am to honor Jesus Christ living in me, why will I put myself (Christ indwelled) below another simply because they are "another." Why would I think less of the leading Christ is creating in me as opposed to what He may be leading in another?

The word "negotiate" is appropriate here. Too many years I have been a floor mat for anyone outside of myself.

I associate a new phrase that communicates my understanding of Loving God and loving my neighbor _as I love myself_: "Do nothing without the mutual enthusiastic agreement of the other." and expect as much from them - if they want to build/have/keep a God honoring relationship with me.

This was originally given by Dr. Willard Harley as a principle for Husbands and Wives to follow - but does it not communicate the need for negotiation among Christians - Christians that are fully endwelt by Christ - thereby equalized -each on the same level?

Another such issue is the connotation of "office-ial" authority/hierarchy in the Church -Exousia is never(that I can find)used in the scripture of one Christian over another - and is told to the disciples by Jesus, "It shall not be so among you..."

Office-ial authority substituted for Divine authority (backed up by the Spirit) is the same exchange made as when Guilt motivation is used for the short term result as opposed to the long term work of God brought about Divinely in each believer submitted to God... This Office-ial authority is USURPED AUTHORITY when attempted by an Elder in a church situ. A mayor of a town has this 'official' authority - but when he leaves the office, the authority is no longer his. Elders are not to be such - for they do not have "exousia" - executive/official authority as the "Benefactors" exercise - refered to by Christ. (Luke 22:25) The Elders are to be representatives of Divine authority - the Influencers (Hegeomai). There is nothing so sad to me anymore that to see the speaker show his cynicism toward the God who has promised to accomplish what concerns me - as when he resorts to guilt motivation.

Is this a ramble? Maybe. But it is how I am reviewing much of what I have swallowed of the Instution of Church over the last 34 years of being a Christian.

Thanks for your efforts at educating/ proclaiming Who He is...

Cal B. Twitty Sr.

Timbo, I saw that section you quoted: 'But I am on the record as reviling the so-called "doctrine of inerrancy." It's a doctrine that demands so many relative clauses ("in the original manuscripts"(which, by the way, we don't have), "in the author's intention" (which, by the way, we can't know), etc.) as to render it worthless.'

... and was underwhelmed. Theology isn't as nice and neat as we might like, and if you don't like "clauses", then you're going to have a hard time in our culture (ever read any laws? they are FILLED with clauses). I don't see why that is a reason to abandon a belief.

"We don't have original manuscripts" -- now, this is just silly. Yes, we don't have the actual piece of paper that Paul wrote on -- does that mean we can't be 99.9% sure (through proper literary criticism) of what was there?

"We can't know the author's intention" -- okay, we can't literally know what was in an author's mind, but when we have their (extensive) writings, we have the next best thing, and can (through vigorous study) understand what they meant.

This whole argument can be used to disqualify any of the books of the "Emergent" writers -- I don't have their "original" texts, and I can't (for certain) know their intent. Yes, I understand they are not making claims of inerrancy, but the above quote is a basic claim about evaluating the legitimacy of any work of literature.

Remember when we used to read the bible and debate on the scriptures? My biggest issue about the Emergent movement is that people's opinions seem to hold as much or more weight than God's own written words. So you don't believe that the scriptures are inerrant... but we know that they are inspired by God through the fulfillment of prophecy (Isaiah 53, Daniel 9:20-27, just to name a couple). Newsflash: that's all we've got!! I have personally been to discussions in which "theology" was supposedly discussed and the scriptures were either misquoted or left out all together. Tony himself said that we "need to have Theological discussions outside of science and even outside the bible for that matter." How can we have a discussion about God without His written word? The result is my foolish opinion against everyone else's foolish opinion. 1 Corinthians 1:20 says “Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?” This is the reason so many people think that this movement is dangerous, because whenever our opinions begin to become more important than scripture, the question surfaces… just who are we worshiping? Joshua 1:8 instructs Joshua that the Book of the Law is to be meditated on constantly, and that sounds like good advice for us all. 1 Corinthians 3:18 says “ Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a "fool" so that he may become wise.” I guess I am just foolish enough to think that God meant what He said and said what He meant.

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