Cutting-Edge Heresy and the McLaren-McKnight Continuum

The Apologetics Index has published an article on the emerging church, “Appropriate Response to the Emerging Church Movement” by David Kowalski, who writes,

Unfortunately, many evangelical shepherds, who have passed from a prophetic to a professional model of ministry too readily welcome wolves into God’s flock if those wolves are decked out in the latest, trendiest garb. The cutting-edge heresy that is being welcomed by many Evangelicals today is known as the Emerging Church movement. While many participants in this movement undoubtedly know and love Christ, and while many of their criticisms of evangelical tendencies are well founded, their concessions to relativism inevitably lead them downward to serious doctrinal and moral deviations that they bring into the household of God.

Emphasis added. Because it kinda jumped out at me… nice to know that if I’m a heretic, I’m not just any kind of humdrum miscreant with some passé ideas. I’m a cutting-edge heretic. Hey, everybody, look at me!

Ah well. The article is quite extensive, running through 17 sections or pages, including footnotes. Another tidbit caught my eye as well. Apparently if the whole conversation is a kind of continuum, the signposts at either end are Brian McLaren and Scot McKnight. Kowalski suggests,

If we think of this distinctive essence of emergent as a lake, we can observe that some people, such as Brian McLaren, are swimming in its deepest spot, while others, such as Scott McKnight, are wading in the lake at a shallower depth.

Hmm. I never considered Scot to be all that shallow before….


  1. That cracks me up. It’s almost like the person likes Scot and doesn’t want to quite rule them out yet. I’ll give you one more chance Scot…if you promise to be a good boy and stop asking those pesky questions.

  2. My thoughts exactly! I guess if we promise we won’t write off Don Carson, they won’t write off Scot McKnight. ;^)

  3. Do a lot of people use the site you linked to?

  4. Thanks…I wondered if it was worth responding to some of the things the author has written. It’s always a shame when you see someone mischaracterizing things.

  5. The actual title of the article is “Postmodernism and the Emerging Church Movement.” “Appropriate Response to the Emerging Church Movement” is simply the title of the first section (of which there are 17). Since there are no substantive responses to my article, which includes dozens of quotations from emergent authors, I must conclude that those who have commented here either did not read the entire article or at least could find nothing substantive to engage intelligently (Proverbs 9:7).

  6. To John Morehead:
    You do make a valid and intelligent comment when you suggest I show more of the diversity of EC. I do wish to make some revisions to the article based on some reasonable discourse I have recently had with a friendly emergent. I did refer in one section to “commendable elements” and to the diversity within EC in several places. Nevertheless, I do think this is one area in which the article can be improved. I am sure there are others. This separate comment is a feeble attempt to recognize the diversity of quality on this page.


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