Important Players – Doctrine-unfriendly

Brian McLaren

  • Member of original Leadership group
  • Perhaps most well-known extreme emergent
  • Exceptional speaker, very likable
  • “A Generous Orthodoxy” book and other writings and presentations seem heretical
  • Latest book “A New Kind of Christian” establishes himself as essentially a mainline liberal
  • Post-modern in many ways, except very modern in rebuke of Dispensationalism
  • Highly criticized, but publically gracious about it

 Commenting in “Generous Orthodoxy” on the “I” of Luther’s “Here ‘I’ Stand”:

“How do “I” know the Bible is always right? And if “I” am sophisticated enough to realize that I know nothing of the Bible without my own involvement via interpretation, I’ll also ask how I know which school, method, or technique of biblical interpretation is right. What makes a “good” interpretation good? And if an appeal is made to a written standard (book, doctrinal statement, etc.) or to common sense or to “scholarly principles of interpretation,” the same pesky “I” who liberated us from the authority of the church will ask, “Who sets the standard? Whose common sense? Which scholars and why? Don’t all these appeals to authorities and principles outside the Bible actually undermine the claim of ultimate biblical authority? Aren’t they just the new pope?” (ref)

Rob Bell

  • Mars Hill mega-Church in Grand Rapids, MI
  • Spell-binding speaker, innovative, nuanced
  • NOOMA videos quite widely known
  • Uses deconstruction in preaching
  • His sermons and videos are popular among non-emergent evangelicals

 Commenting on the importance (or lack thereof) of the Virgin Birth in “Velvet Elvis”:

“[if] “Jesus had a real, earthly, biological father named Larry, and archaeologists find Larry’s tomb and do DNA samples and prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the virgin birth was really just a bit of mythologizing the Gospel writers threw in to appeal to the followers of the Mithra and Dionysian religious cults that were hugely popular at the time,” [we would essentially not lose any significant part of our faith because it is more about how we live.]” (ref)

Doug Pagitt

  • Head pastor of Solomon’s Porch in Minneapolis
  • Author in the Emerging Church movement
  • Senior Fellow with Emergent Village
  • Supports homosexuality as an acceptable practice for Christians
  • Dislikes the doctrine of original sin

 Commenting on his own preaching:

“In many ways the sermon is less a lecture or motivational speech than it is an act of poetry – of putting words around people’s experiences to allow them to find deeper connection in their lives.  As we read through sections of the Bible and see how God has interacted with people in other times and places, we better sense God interacting with us.  So our sermons are not lessons that precisely define belief so much as they are stories that welcome our hopes and ideas and participation.” (ref)

Tony Jones

  • Founder of Emergent Village website (recently resigned)
  • Original member of the Leadership Network
  • Prolific author, sought-after speaker
  • Theologian-in-residence at Solomon’s Porch in Minneapolis
  • States that homosexuality and Christianity are compatible

 Commenting on preoccupation with “truth” forced on Emergents by conservatives:

“Yet ‘truth’ is not the hinge on which the biblical narrative turns.  The narrative turns, instead, on the way of life into which Yahweh in the Old Testament and Jesus in the New calls us.  The preoccupation with “truth” among emergents has often been pushed on them by their conservative critics primarily because truth is a central concern of theirs.  And their preoccupation with truth is a symptom of their modernism.  They want the Bible to be unswervingly factual (here truth equals fact), for if it is, then its claims about eternal salvation cannot be ignored.” (ref)

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