Emerging Church Critics (Updated)

The Anti-Emergent blogs, and the more moderate Emergent-Critics blogs, have been far more interesting in the past week than the emerging church blogs that often inspire them. Here’s some highlights:

– Carla of Emergent.blogspot.com is not happy with Justin for buying the EmergentNo.com domain name. Justin says he wants to aggregate from many anti-emergent sites and not ban commenters in the process.

– Ingrid from Slice of Laodicia calls for the reformed church to take their stand against the Emergent Cult.

JollyBlogger tackles Barna’s book ‘Revolutionaries‘.

Pyromaniac Phil is leading a conversation on modern prophecy and, as a by-product, cessation vs continuation, like this post with over 100 comments. I have been wondering lately if cessationism (miracles/sign gifts ceased with apostles) is an early form of relativism. Maybe I should ask Phil?

– Challies is strutting his site’s new design, and as usual, is too balanced in anything he says to be considered Anti-Emergent. But he did write a series on Driscoll’s book Radical Reformation which is worth the read, even though it is probably a little longer that Driscoll’s book. Challies often aggregates the critics (Ron Gleason makes a few appearances) on his own site.

– I, yes . . me . . as Emergent’s first published critic (1999) have kept some links to Emergent Critics on a site that I created for a strategic conference in Virginia this year. The one page site is called EmergAnt. It is about 6 months old and needs an update soon, but on the list you will find links to static pages like Carla on the Emergent Movement (including a good book list which should have a link to Amazon) and Deborah Dombrowski’s Lighthouse Trails.

Justin Taylor is asking "What is the Emerging Church Movement?" and, thankfully, is doing a pretty good job so far in distinuishing between Emergent Village and Emerging Church. [see Alan Hartung on this]. Also, Justin refers to the Wikipedia definition of emerging church, which I used to recommend because it was far more global and comprehensive than other definitions, especially the definition of EC on the fundie’s own Theopeida which I contended was weighed and found wanting. Interestingly, Wikipedia has become more narrow and VERY AMERICAN over the past 6 months and Theopedia’s definition of emerging church has opened up and is now on the way. Well done Aaron!BTW – Aaron asked my about basic theological issues and my answer to him may interest those who want to know which creeds and statements I hold to.

– The A-Team is probably the most balanced and well presented of all the sites. They havent said much since Murdock gave his Eye on Emergent last month.

Boars Head Tavern, who are usually too reformed to be excited about emerging church’s rediscovery of anything that disappeared during the reformation, are often very critical of the emerging church.[edit: mistake  . ..  ahhhhhhh . . . ahhhhhhhhh – i was confusing BHT with the other virtual pub – White Horse Inn –  aplogies to Boars Head Tavern for accusing them of being reformed and apologies to White Horse Inn for accusing them of standing up for the emerging church.] But in this case, they join the EC in speaking out against Paul Proctors charge that God killed an emerging church pastor because of his association with the emerging church. They also offer a message from God to Paul Proctor . . . "Shut up"

Some of my thoughts from a previous post called Mudslinging is Over

"And I am not saying that we should stop the discipline of examining ourselves daily or welcoming constructive criticism, but I am saying that I think a lot of us have done enough explaining and defending to feel like we are freed up again to get back to the mission of helping God reconcile all things to Himself, and not to feel dampened."

In the next week or so, I would expect to find a lot of posts defending or explaining the emerging church. Sounds like Alan Hartung is already doing this. And Brian M (from the group most criticized)has just posted a practical way to help EmergentVillage.com in the midst of their persecution.


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.


  • Mike Morrell says:

    All of this causes the head to spin, does it not? I feel like I’ve been on this journey since 2000 or so, and it was a very natural, organic thing as I am relating to Jesus…I never looked up one day and decided to “be emerging.”
    And yet, as we’re now more wired and networked than ever, many of our blogging brethren and others looked up and saw this ragamuffin conglomeration, which appeared to have great momentum, and they’ve thought “Oh my God! What is this bizarre trend that has now overtaken the church?”
    In my journalism background, we referred to this as “demassification.” One catholic, universally-accepted public square kind of consensus doesn’t exist anymore. There is no more ABC nightly news that the nation is watching to give us “the facts” and bid us good-night. With things wired as they are, we now have different tribes that can appear formidable and all-encompassing at first glance, when in reality they are only a drop in the bucket.
    I think it would do as all well to take a step back, breathe, and give ourselves (and others) the freedom to know and explore God as they have and are doing…to honor each others quests, and the quests of their tribe. Its not that there is no “real reality” or hope for genuine Holy Spirit-induced unity, but I feel like I have voyeurs peeking inside my Family window right now.

  • Andrew-
    Thanks for the links. I think I will update EmergentNo.com with some of the better blogs you mentioned here.

  • Kent Runge says:

    Andrew, watch who you call reformed…we Tavernites are a mongrel hoard and are committed to angering quite a number of reformed bloggers. ;-}
    I’d be emergent if I could find a fellowship within 100 miles; the only emerging I’ve been able to accomplish is on the internet.

  • soulpastor says:

    Thank you for stating that “to feel like we are freed up again to get back to the mission of helping God reconcile all things to Himself, and not to feel dampened.”
    I jumped out of my chair and gave you a high five! That is exactly how I feel! Time to get busy with the business at hand!
    Keep it up!

  • andrew says:

    sorry. my experience with boars head tavern, apart from the usual glance at your site, is the CD series with Don Carson and Michael Horton – which i would classify as emerging-critic, [but not anti-emergent – although Carson tends to come off more anti.)
    i will adjust my post right now.

  • imonk says:

    andrew: that’s white horse inn! bht is not associated with them. we’re just a bunch of guys talking. whi is a different, much more well known, site with a national radio program.

  • Adam says:

    Its true that I have written some pretty critical pieces of McLaren and Emergent. I sometimes feel they have hijacked the emerGING church that I find interesting and provocative.
    I still see my self as a fence-sitter, but one thing is agreed: Paul Proctor needs to shut up.

  • ahhhhhhh . . . . ahhhhhhhh . . . hateitwhenidothat . . . ahhhhhhhh …. i made a mistake . . BIGGGG MMMIIISSSTTTTAAAKKKEEEEEEE . .. ahhhh . . . wrong virtual pub . . its the OTHER pub!!!
    ok – aplogies to boars head tavern for accusing them of being reformed
    and apologies to white horse inn, for accusing them of standing up for the emerging church.

  • Kent Runge says:

    Andrew–never felt accused, just inappropriately assessed 😉
    Actually it’s pretty impossible to theologically categorize BHT as we’re about as eclectic as can be.
    I’ve loved your blog for over a year now, keep up the good work!

  • Bob Robinson says:

    I’d add Phil Steiger, whose blog, Every Thought Captive often takes on the emerging church and postmodern philosophy in a thoughtful and well-mannered way.

  • No emerging

    What’s new on the anti emergent planet? Andrew jones give a good sumup Link: TallSkinnyKiwi: Emerging Church Critics (Updated).

  • No emerging

    What’s new on the anti emergent planet? Andrew jones give a good sumup Link: TallSkinnyKiwi: Emerging Church Critics (Updated).

  • Thanks Andrew! I’ll soon be posting some reflections on emergent stuff at ETS this week.

  • andrew says:

    i was reading a study that showed only 15% of web sites had links to their opposition. I wonder if Christians should have a higher percentage?

  • I’ve read your blog before, but now I would like to really read it. Morpheus listed it in his links and he is a man I respect. I am currently going through a kind of spiritual crisis concerning God and Christ. I don’t want to make myself sound downtrodden, because a part of it is very exciting. Here in America, it can be hard to know what is truly Christian because our admistration makes such claims and they seems as Christian as a rock. I will keep reading. Do I have your permission to link you to my site?
    [andrew – yes, of course]

  • Roderick says:

    What if the Emergent Church crowd could re-write some of the “meanie” parts of the Bible? What would it look like? The following is an account from the story of Elijah & the prophets of Baal. Much of the narrative is from actual things Brian McLaren has written in his books (McLaren is one of the main advocates of the “emergents”).
    To read the rest, go to:

  • what if us Christians stopped being “meanies” with each other and got on with loving God and neighbour?

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