No, John MacArthur is not, I repeat NOT, at the Exponential conference and if he was, he wouldn’t be headed off for a beer with all you backsliders!
But if you want to really know about the heart of the exponential idea, I suggest you listen to John MacArthur’s superb message last week at TG42010 called “The Theology of Sleep” [Download]. John mentions the word “exponential” a few times, although not in reference to the conference. Although it does seem particularlarly well-timed. Hah Hah.
In teaching on the parable of the soils, MacArthur suggests that if you plant a pure gospel seed in good soil, you can go away and sleep because God will take care of the rest. And that growth will be exponential. Or in his words, God has determined an exponential outcome.
And he is right. Sometimes we call this concept “autopoiesis”which is related to emergent behavior and scale-free networks, neither of which John MacArthur got into in his excellent message. Some of the guys teaching at Exponential might get into this: Look out for Neil Cole who is all over this and has a new book called Church 3.0.
“Autopoiesis” literally means “auto (self)-creation” (from the Greek: auto – αυτό for self- and poiesis – ποίησις for creation or production), and expresses a fundamental dialectic between structure and function. . . . The term [Autopoiesis] was originally introduced by Chilean biologists Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela in 1972 [from Wikipedia]
The guy who nailed this idea from the parable of the soils and its relation to this all-by-itself-kind-of-growth called autopoiesis was Christian A. Schwartz from Germany. Check it out in his book called Natural Church Development, 1996. [PDF – yes! its a free download]
Previously on TSK: Exponential 2010: Attend or Avoid