On Paul Proctor

There is a hot issue regarding the emerging church that is so degrading that i mention it only to bring my support to the memory and reputation of the late Kyle Lake, who passed recently in the service of God. Bob Hyatt gets steaming angry at fundamentalist Paul Proctor’s response to Kyle’s death and writes an email.

Proctor’s comments and interpretation deeply upset me last night. Really hacked me off! I didnt want to tell my wife in case she got really upset. But I did. And she did.

imagesI put on a David Crowder CD and spent some time with God. Kyle was David Crowder’s pastor as well. How can people be so mean? I left a comment of protest with Ingrid from Slice of Laodicia but it is still in the pipeline. In the meantime, I commented on Justin’s EmergentNo.com site, which is a good substitute for those awaiting approval on the other sites

Other people (including other fundamentalists) speak out and call it nonsense: Sofystication, Boars Head Tavern (read this comment), and Reformissionary.


Andrew Jones launched his first internet space in 1997 and has been teaching on related issues for the past 20 years. He travels all the time but lives between Wellington, San Francisco and a hobbit home in Prague.


  • chris says:

    Part of me wants to ignore the ignorance displayed by Proctor, et al, to save me from my own anger, to save me from saying in defense of someone I knew things that go against both my and Kyle’s identity in Christ. I want to save myself from the previous frustration of attempting to engage in conversation with these people only to be continually misunderstood and sent into a heretical corner. I want to ignore their ignorance because I trust – perhaps naively so – that most people plainly can discern how the bankrupt refuge-mentality of this type of fundamentalist leaves little room for grace and love and begets false interpretations of scripture. Finally, I want to ignore their ignorance because I feel like I could probably spend my time better by celebrating God’s gift of life with my particular community. That’s what Kyle did so well.
    What is the best response then to Proctor and his acolytes’ unfounded critiques of emergent? Many of us have commented on their sites encouraging them in the way of Christ’s love and grace, only to be told further we must repent. It’s as if God has hardened their hearts but for what purpose I’m not sure. Obviously a grace-lived, Spirit-filled life speaks loudest. But when that apparently isn’t enough to quiet the criticism, what then?
    With regard to how this might effect the Church’s mission… if this on-going theological donnybrook between Proctor-types and emergents (I admittedly despise labels) does not even register on the radar screen of the average, post-Christendom Austinite (insert your locale here), then how much time/energy should a missionally-focused community devote to an “in-house” conflict?
    All that said, it still torques me off for Kyle’s family and community to even have such words about him floating out there. The Peace of Christ be with them…

  • Ed C says:

    Upon reading Proctor’s article I was initially compelled to write a stinging e-mail reply. But I quickly realized that angry e-mails are not going to help any one and will bring no glory to God. Feeling frustrated and helpless to say anything of value, I had to really struggle to let go and wait on God.
    Unless God gives me something to e-mail this inconsiderate person (straining for the right words here), I have to realize I’m not the one who’s supposed to reach out right now. I think that Bob Hyatt did an admirable job of confronting Proctor.
    I really appreciate what Chris posted here. It is worth our while to prayerfully consider and discuss how to handle such rifts in the Body of Christ.

  • bob.blog says:

    TallSkinnyKiwi: On Paul Proctor

    Andrew comments on the Proctor fracas and Chris makes some excellent, excellent comments… and asks some very good questions as well… check it: TallSkinnyKiwi: On Paul Proctor. Part of me wants to ignore the ignorance displayed by Proctor, et al,

  • Proctor’s article broke my heart. I am sure the early church felt the same about Saul as he hunted down the early church. I can only pray that God will transform this Saul into a Paul.

  • Well said. I’m glad this view of God and of Kyle is not going unchallenged.
    And thanks for the plug for EmergentNo.com. After making a lot of people mad and being called an unrepentent sinner, demon-possessed, non-Christian, and a lot of other things nice people don’t say, I’ve changed the site so it only shows excerpts, with a link to the original post. Comments are still open to all.
    If anyone would like to author original content for the site, please let me know.
    Andrew, thanks again for your support. I have tried to handle this in a Christlike way, and I think the public record will turn out favorably.

  • Heather says:

    I’m sorry for you and everyone else who has lost a friend, mentor, pastor, father or son in Kyle Lake that they had to read such awful stuff – I just despair sometimes that people can be so horrid…

  • Nathan Hart says:

    Many people just don’t understand grace. My blood pressure rose and anger stirred in my heart when i read Proctor’s article. and then i felt sorry for him because he is still living without the experience of God’s grace.

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