Over the past week or so I’ve been considering a particular criticism of Brian McLaren (I’ve mentioned this before) which is uncharitable and not entirely factually accurate, though it does have a point or two to make. This particular critique is still under the EC-Radar, so nobody’s really reacted or responded to it as far as I know. I was considering doing so because it has particular interest for many people I know, but I think now if I do so, it probably won’t be public, and may only be for my own personal benefit.
Last night, Doug Pagitt posted “A Collective Response to Critics” (also leaked by Andrew Jones) which has been picked up by Steve McCoy as well as Brian Baute and The Ooze Blog and by the time I finish writing this, I expect a host of others. Much discussion is likely on blogs everywhere, but expected notably following the post on the Emergent-US Blog, which also has the document in html format.
I read the document (PDF) (link is a local mirror to save Doug and Andrew some bandwidth) last night very shortly after it appeared, and then slept on it. This morning I’ve reviewed it again, and here’s what I have to say:
This document is the single most important four pages of text that the EC has to guide itself in dealing with criticism. I urge everyone to review it for themselves, regardless of what you know about EC or how you view it. Anyone who identifies with EC and who has faced criticism or been otherwise bothered by how we’re viewed elsewhere is henceforth indebted to the documents authors, Tony Jones, Doug Pagitt, Spencer Burke, Brian McLaren, Dan Kimball, Andrew Jones, and Chris Seay. Does the EC movement have leaders? Yes, servant leaders who don’t lord it over their “subjects”, who don’t clamor for authority, who lead by example, and who exhibit a Christlike attitude in the face of adversity. Rather than presume to speak for the movement they simply speak, and so doing set an example which they may hope for others to follow. Gentlemen, we thank you.
In reading the document, this comes to mind:
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
so he opened not his mouth.
as does this:
And some stood up and bore false witness against him, saying, “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another, not made with hands.’” Yet even about this their testimony did not agree. And the high priest stood up in the midst and asked Jesus, “Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you?” But he remained silent and made no answer.
I ask the document’s composers, please create a place where others of us can virtually sign the document, affirming the position you have taken and allow me to be the first to sign in support.
maybe a bit over the top to compare this document to Christ?
it is very gracious and kind.
but it is a response. i think the point Scripture makes is that Christ did not respond?
it will be interesting to see what happens with this.
Hold up there, I wouldn’t and don’t compare the document to Christ – if it comes over that way, I apologize! My point is that the document urges a response not unlike that of Jesus, even when “false witness” or untrue accusations are made. This is essentially what the document urges, and the attitude which is taken by its authors is, I believe, after the pattern set by Jesus.
I suppose a debate could be had about the response of the Apostles and other early Christians later on before their accusers… sometimes they did offer a defense. As Stephen found out, however, it may not change the minds of the people with whom you dialogue!
Great idea about creating a place where others of us can virtually sign the document, affirming the position!
Hope that happens.
re: Emergent response
A masterful declaration of dialetic deceit. The apostle Peter warned the church of these.
2 Peter 2:17-19
“These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever.
For when they speak great swelling [words] of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, [through much] wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error.
While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.”
By the way, the church of Jesus Christ is not a “human endeavor” (to quote you), this is where you do greatly err. If you are presently involved in this work of ‘man’ you need to come out. If you’re ‘contemplating’ entering the movement, be warned also by the apostle Peter….
2 Peter 3:17
“Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know [these things] before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.”
To those who would deem this to be “harsh”…..the standard is and must always be the Word of God and not the words of men.
. . ah . . right. thanks for that Tom – thats the 3rd blog i have heard you copy and paste that on. Maybe reading the comments before posting would help in speaking more to the subject and avoiding the appearance of comment-spam???
anyway, steve, just popping over to see what my Baptist family are chatting about. thanks for the bandwidth.
You might be mixing me up with Steve McCoy a little… I haven’t been a Baptist for about 16-18 years now.
Anyway, thanks again for your work with / lending your name to this response statement. Any word on putting it up on a page somewhere (Emergent maybe?) where some of us could go and digitally sign our support for it?