Wednesday, December 03, 2008

emerging church on air

Updated: Thanks to Rhema and wikiupload, the interview (6 mins long) is here and click “download”. I was most pleased with my line: “beware a bunnyhoping approach to church history” 🙂

I’ve been asked to be on air – Radio Rhema – tomorrow (Thursday) morning. Some person called Roger Oakland is touring New Zealand trashing the emerging church and they want a response from me at 7:40 am. I have just finished listening to an hour of one of his online videos re emerging church.

Personally, I don’t think it does Rhema any favours have this sort of stuff on air.

1 – He’s so extreme. When a person rejects those who read Purpose Driven Church or Richard Foster, those who listen to The Message, people shaped by the charismatic renewal, those interested in spiritual formation, then that’s a lot of evangelical church being dismissed, yet alone the Catholic church. (Vision New Zealand has had Catholic Archbishop John Dew speak twice at their Congress.)

2 – At heart this is a question of discernment. How do you know whether what is emerging is of God? Roger quotes the book of Jude for the need to discern. What is important is that Jude writes to a community. So discerment belongs in community. (Who is Roger’s community?) The Bible offers another models for discernment. In Acts 3, Gamaliel suggests fruit over time. In Acts 15 the church gives freedom, as long as the poor are remembered. Jesus suggests we love our enemies. What might happen if Roger applied these to the emerging church – give time, give freedom as long as they love the poor, love them?

3 – The way he constructs his argument makes him impossible to argue with
a) if you disagree with him, then you are deceived
b) if your criticise him, then you are a persecuter of the righteous remnant

4 – He asks the question “What Jesus will emerge from the emerging church?” Now that’s a good question and based on my reading and study, I’d suggest
(a) Jesus that takes Incarnation seriously
(b) a Jesus gospel that applies to whole of life
(c) a following of a Jesus who is the way, the truth, the life – Christian faith is not about an intellectual understanding of doctrine, but about a relationship with Triune God.

5 – And if I was to be critical of the emerging church movement, I’d offer some different critiques to those offered by Mr Oakland. I’d be challenging it to
– place a moratorium on US books and speakers
– take the absent voices (poor, women, ethnic) more seriously
– spend less time blog-ologising and more time discipling among real people in real communities

Posted by steve at 05:07 PM


  1. here here

    Comment by Andrew — December 3, 2008 @ 6:37 pm

  2. good stuff

    Comment by jason — December 4, 2008 @ 4:08 am

  3. Brilliant stuff, i’ll link to this on my blog. That is the sort of calm gentle response that we need.

    Comment by jonathan — December 4, 2008 @ 10:27 am

  4. Is there somewhere that I/we can hear what you said on the radio for those who missed it?

    Comment by Philip — December 4, 2008 @ 10:56 am

  5. Ta folk, and I’ll ask the radio station Philip.

    What is here on the blog are my preparatory notes after listening to one of Roger’s lectures. I have also published a book on the emerging church, called out of bounds church? asking the question of whether the emerging church is out of bounds or not. should be in any good Christian bookshop.

    Comment by steve — December 4, 2008 @ 11:07 am

  6. Philip, Rhema have kindly made the mp3 available and i’ve added a link on the blog. what do you think?

    Comment by steve — December 4, 2008 @ 10:35 pm

  7. Call me Mr. NitPicker, but I’ve had bunnies that ‘hopped’ but as far as I know none of them ever ‘hoped’.
    However, on reflection, yours may be a Freudian slip & actually much closer to reality.
    [The rest of the blog is great. Cheers]

    Comment by Merv — December 5, 2008 @ 9:05 am

  8. Well noted Merv. Advent themes sneaking into my Freud 🙂


    Comment by steve — December 5, 2008 @ 9:07 am

  9. Steve I really appreciated your own critique
    hope the interview on air was not too gruelling
    in the end in today’s world being church is I beleive more about bearing witness than propagating right belief.

    Comment by jane — December 5, 2008 @ 9:42 am

  10. the interview was fun Jane, although I did sleep better the nite after cf the nite before

    Comment by steve — December 6, 2008 @ 2:04 pm

  11. Thanks heaps for the link Steve! I’ll give it a listen to soon.

    Comment by Philip — December 7, 2008 @ 9:19 am

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.