Is the Emerging Church Movement “Orthodox” and Should We Charge Money?

2 Blog Series started this week that are worth following:

1. Scot McKnight examines the emerging church movement and its relationship with the historic Christian creeds.

Emerging and Orthodoxy 1

Emerging and Orthodoxy 2

Emerging and Orthodoxy 3

Emerging and Orthodoxy 4

BTW – Scot’s excellent article “Emerging Movement: Future or Fad?“(PDF) is no longer downloadable on its host site. At least, I wasn’t smart enough to find it. Terrible shame. Could someone send it to me OR repost it with a link for us all?

UPDATE: It is now reposted here.

2. Steve Camp: We’re Still Paying John Tetzel: . . . should we be charging for ministry?

For the record, I side with Steve on this one. The gospel is freely given and i have a problem with charging. In fact, I have been preaching and speaking in hundreds of churches and conferences for over 2 decades and have NEVER charged a fee. I still don’t. Some conferences think i am weird. They often give me honorariums but i never give a figure to them. I am supported as a missionary to preach God’s message and that support should cover me. I see it as MY responsibility to get the resources to help me minister.

Freely1

(Image by Tallskinnykiwi. Those using it without permission will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Details here)

I do, however, ask the conference organizer to give me a place to lay my head and help as much as possible with travel costs. But if i get stickly on that issue, I end up only speaking at wealthier, more established institutional events and dont make it out to the emerging fringe of ministry where no one has money and everyone pays for themselves to get to the meeting – including the speakers.

Givesfreely4-1

(Animated GIF by Tallskinnykiwi available at the new LOW cost of $39.99 right here!)

I am not condemning those who charge for speaking – because many of my best friends and colleagues do this – but I was greatly impressed as a young Christian with Hudson Taylor and Keith Green and others who felt that charging money was unethical for something freely given.

Thats one reason why i like blogging over publishing (see my post: I am a Creative Commonist) and why I have had many discussions with book publishers over allowing my future work to be given freely to those who want it.

But its more complex than i have just stated and Steve Camp has been a prophetic voice in the CCM in this area. Lets see what he comes up with.

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Andrew

Andrew Jones has been blogging since 1997. He is based in San Francisco with his two daughters but also travels the globe to find compelling stories of early stage entrepreneurs changing their world. Sometimes he talks in the third person. Sometimes he even talks to himself and has been heard uttering the name “Precious” :-)

12 Comments

  • Scot’s comments are interesting and thoughtful, but I don’t get them. It feels like I’m missing someting. If we want to describe the emerging church (e.g., Is the Emerging Church orthodox, or a banana?), then the method must surely be sociological. If we want to argue that the emerging church “should be” orthodox, then we are not describing, we are prescribing.

  • Couple of general points:
    First, the Eastern Orthodox churches do not recognise the rest of us as ‘proper’ christians. That is not meant to be disparaging of them, but is something that seems to be true – having spoken at length to an Orthodox priest about it. Apparently, they don’t really do the ecumenicalism thing either (or they’re not comfortable about it when they do).
    It all sounds tragically familiar. There seem to be some mavericks within it who are more open, but then maybe emerging = maverick and mavericks recognise other mavericks.
    Regarding creeds, I, like Brian Mclaren, have a deep love of liturgy. And in that context, a creed which can be acclaimed is a good thing. Too long and the children get bored. I’m still confused about the whole emerging thing and don’t understand how something so disperate can have a creed anyway.
    Regarding charging, I guess I’m personally more attracted to the person who doesn’t charge – who does it even if there is no payment. Because if you really want to see what someone believes in, look to see what they will do unpaid. I can’t stand the great ‘evangelists’ who charge by the hour.
    On the other hand, people should be paid and not exploited and there are some important jobs that may not be done without a wage (eg prison or hospital chaplaincy).
    Joe

  • Our church resides in an affluent area of Chicagoland, and for a midsize congregation we are blessed, which means I believe we have a responsibility to support those who come to us for ministry. So in either case, whether free will offering or charged fee, I fall on the side of generosity. We also have people come who say they are not allowed by their agency to receive a check, we then make it out to their spouse. I have been in ministry long enough to know that the family also pays a price for the travel.

  • Not charging sends as loud a message as ever you could speak…
    (Glad you are a creative commonist, not the creative communist as I first read it!)

  • thanks bob
    i will no longer link to boot-legged versions but to the Mother article.
    here it is
    i just printed off a few copies for some leaders of Foundations in USA that i am addresing this week. Its a good handout if people want a pretty balanced look at the movement.

  • I for one hope that the term “missional” displaces “emerging” because of the seemingly intractable confusion that arises when one attempts to distinguish “emerging” from “emergent” in conversation with normal people. Certainly, if Brian McLaren fairly represents “emergent,” then concern for careful Bible study must be marginal to their value system. Is he still confused about whether the Bible proscribes homosexual behavior? When someone confesses confusion, as McLaren has, when they notice some disagreement between scholars, I can hear that as admirable modesty for a few months, but when that same person still wallows in ambiguity years later while claiming a desire to nurture biblical communities, I have to ask how hard the guy is really trying to clear up his own confusion. I am currently trying to lead my church in the urban core of Kansas City Missouri to merge with what I have called a “right wing emerging” church in St. Louis. I teach theology at a Bptist seminary and ussually just do interim pastorates but let myself become so entralled withthe possibiblities at this declining city church that I took it on as a bi-vocational pastor.
    I for one hope that the term “missional” displaces “emerging” because of the seemingly intractable confusion that arises when one tries to distiguish emerging from emergent in converstion with normal people. Certainly, in Brian McLaren farly represents “emergent” then concern for careful Bible study must be marginal to their value system. Is he still confused about whether the Bible proscribes homosexual behavior? When someone confesses confusion, as McLaren has, when they notice some disagreement between scholars, I can hear that as admirable modesty for a few months, but when that same person still wallows in ambiguity years later while claiming a desire to nurture biblical communities, I have to ask how hard the guy is really trying to clear up his own confusion.

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