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17 January, 2007 / theexpositor

Is Donald Miller part of the emergent church?

The question has been asked, ‘Is Donald Miller involved in the emergent church movement? That question has been asked on several occasions recently, and it was followed with a quick, ‘no he isn’t, no he isn’t’.

Allow me to enter the following article by Ken Silva as exhibit 1.

Donald Miller-Blue Like Emergent Jazz

Their mouths lay claim to Heaven, and their tongues take possession of the earth. Therefore their people turn to them and drink up waters in abundance. (Psalm 73:9-10)

Blue As Emergent

I have received quite a few questions here and at Slice of Laodicea where this post originally ran asking whether Donald Miller, author of the book Blue Like Jazz, is himself involved with the Emergent Church rebellion against sola Scriptura. The short answer: Absolutely yes! And on a related note you may recall my recent article Southern Baptist Convention Embracing Gnostic Mysticism which discussed Director of Missions Kent Shirley of the Grand Valley Baptist Association in Grand Junction, Colorado.

In this piece I linked to his atrocious Recommended Reading for Pastors & Staff, which is chock full of church growth teachers and men like Emergent Pastor Erwin McManus and Emergent Church Guru Brian McLaren. McLaren is a heretic who has long ago left the faith and denies the inerrancy and final authority of the Bible, the vicarious penal substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ, and who along with his friend Living Spiritual Teacher Richard Foster, is also a leading proponent of the Gnostic mysticism. And I noticed yesterday that Brother Shirley has updated his page and now incredibly includes Miller’s Blue Like Jazz (BLJ)

Undoubtedly Miller’s BLJ has fast become a classic in Emergent Church circles and his popularity even rivals that of one of his own favorite authors, a favorite of the Elvis of Emergent Rob Bell as well, the potty-mouthed “Christian” and New Age advocate Anne LaMott.

Some of you may recall a post Ingrid Schlueter wrote about Miller which appeared on Slice last year called Donald Miller: Rising Emergent Star. In it she said, “One of the Emergent church’s rising stars is Donald Miller, author of Blue Like Jazz, sort-of comedian and one cool, postmodern ‘Christian’.”

Blue Like Background

Miller, “grew up in Houston, TX,” but is now a member of an emerging church in Portland, OR called Imago Dei Community. Miller left home “at the age of twenty-one,” and then he “traveled across the country until he ran out of money in Portland, Oregon, where he lives today.” Even though Miller was unable to launch “his own publishing house”:

his hobby of writing became a career. Harvest House Publishers released his first book, Prayer and the Art of Volkswagen Maintenance, in 2000. After his first book came out, Don spent a few years auditing classes and hanging out with students at Reed College, a college often identified as disintrested in spirituality. It is from this and other experiences that his second book, Blue Like Jazz, was born. The success of Blue Like Jazz ensured Don a writing career for a long time to come,…

Blue Like…well, Blue

Donald Miller is just another of the Emergent new school of so-called “Christians” who feel that because they are the “missional” and alleged true “followers of Jesus” they are somehow excused from having to watch their language and Christian character closely. Last year Zach Dundas of the Willamette Week Online, “a weekly in Portland, Oregon,” did a piece on Miller called Confessions of a Mind.” One would be hard-pressed to think an article about the Apostle Paul would be titled as such.

And as Ingrid introduced that piece she informed us that it would: “have to be bleeped. (Yes, you do have to bleep out language frequently with these Emergent types, in this case, one who is part of the ‘loose network of evangelical thinkers’ with a toilet mouth…)”

The article does go on to point put that Miller’s church is one of “a new breed of churches often labeled ‘emergent’ ”:

Locally, the author is part of a loose network of evangelical thinkers who are trying, as another says, “to talk about faith without sounding like ****oles.” [nice language for a DOM to recommend] In Portland and nationally, a new breed of churches often labeled “emergent” is carving out an alternative to the suburban megachurch.

For example, there’s Miller’s own church, Imago Dei, founded by an ex-college football player named Rick McKinley. The pastor calls people “bro,” sports a goatee and talks in a drowsy, stoned-frat-boy drawl. [Why, one can almost hear our Lord in that description] His church, which has gone from meeting in his living room to holding three crowded services a day at the Old Laurelhurst Church, emphasizes art, music and social activism. Like many emergent churches, it draws a young, hipster-flavored crowd.

The emergent church is the product of a bunch of people coming to similar conclusions at the same time,” says Bob Hyatt, the 35-year-old pastor of the Evergreen Community, an emergent church that meets every Sunday at the Lucky Lab pub in Multnomah Village. “We’re not going to ignore 2,000 years of Christian history, but we’re not going to do what our parents or grandparents did just because.” [no spirit of rebellion there]

Blue Like Conclusion

However, a much more accurate way to describe this sorry bunch of Emergent rebels that Miller belongs to would be the “network of people very loosely thinking about evangelicalism.” There’s nothing of lasting value for the true Christian here in this Emergent rebellion against the Bible, and there’s simply no real reason for us to waste our time on Blue Like Jazz. O, that is apparently unless you happen to be an SBC pastor in Grand Valley Baptist Association under Kent Shirley.

For the Christian who does have extra reading time beyond God’s Word, at this late hour one would be much wiser spending it reading something by real men of God like a Dr. John MacArthur or an A.W. Tozer.



  1. Larry Shallenberger / Feb 6 2007 22 16

    Blue like legalism. 😦

  2. Andrew / Feb 7 2007 4 35

    Blue like a closed mind. 😦

  3. Tylor / Feb 7 2007 5 10

    I think you and Don need to sit down and have a chat. I think you would find a true man of God there beyond a doubt. In the mean time though, I must say it is disturbing to see so much contempt shown towards a brother in Christ. It just isn’t right and even, gasp, un-biblical.

    But still, I pray only blessings and enlightenment upon you.

  4. Jim / Feb 7 2007 7 50

    You could have said the same about Martin Luther. Lenord Ravenhill, Keith Green, Franklin Graham. I see a genuine effort by Don Miller’s Church. If Imago Dei Pastor Rick McKinley and his large elder board did not stand up to theological scrutiny then I guess the Conservative Baptists in the Pacific Northwest would have dis-associated themselves from the Imago group.

    Traveling the world to see the church in action and at worship…. fulfilling the great commission and commandments I would think a person of your persuasion would try and re-convert 175,000,000 chinese beleivers because they live out their faith differently than you. Their songs sound different. Africans, Mongolians, Saudis, Indians all these Christians have a different sound, and a different culture to live out a genuine faith in. I can tell you it would not be the way I prefer to worship and live in biblical harmony and obeying scripture but I see the fruit and the earnestness of their effort and they indeed obey and Trust Jesus Christ. God moves powerfully in their midst but not in yours or mine. Why?? We pray for revival in our towns and churches and states and America for well over a hundred years! No revival has come. Asbury College and So. California is hardly a revival if I understand basic scripture. But tens of millions are coming to Christ where there is hardly a Bible to be found, no christian radio, no Billy Gs, MacArthers, Stanleys, Swindols, Hybels, Warrens in these places. They hardly qualify as informed beleivers….but God moves in spite of them…they are far from looking and sounding christian. Revival is happening outside the USA everyday. These people do not know enough to be liberal or legalistic in their theology and faith. They just know one thing. Forgiveness of sins, made whole. That is the guy they want to be with. Jesus in time will fill in what they need to know. Guys like you with 15 Bibles on the shelf just do not understand this kind of movement.

    Portland, Oregon is not Grand Rapids, Mich. or Pensicola FL. The Pacific Northwest’s people are quite different than the Midwest, Northeast, or Southwest. There is clearly a Northwest culture that is different from the rest of the country. The Imago Dei Church is not an emergent church. The leadership has said they do not embrace the whole emergent church veiw and freedoms. How many times do they need to keep telling the press and interveiwers? They do not seem to fit a catogory that we…the trained Theologs could identify. To try and put Imago Dei in a box without meeting its leaders and elders…and looking out across the fruit of damaged people made whole is not only unfair but smacks with pride and disention.

    If you cannot grasp that Believers come in 2000 flavors..then my freind you need to stay within your church boarders and continue to minister to your group the best way you know how. Leave the poor, helpless, destitute, dying, fatherless and widows and those who have never heard to the believers in this country who not only see the letter of the law but…the heart of the author behind it. Martin Luther and Martin Luther King Jr. would be very comfortable at Imago Dei and they would have the freedom within accountability to minister God’s Truth.

    Your insights and others like it, have been reported to Don Miller and the Imago Dei group thousands of times already by others before you. If there was something new in your comments I would have pointed it out to you to your credit. Your frustration is noted and understood but your tone runs bitter and cancels the effect you might have hoped for. I confess that your thoughts seem to be more of a game than an essay on anything very serious.

    Jim in Portland

  5. Pastor Ken Silva / Feb 7 2007 13 12

    Are we really to believe this bit of “wisdom” from Donald Miller author of “Blue Like Jazz” was actually revealed by the Holy Spirit:

    If we hold that Jesus wanted us to “believe” certain ideas or “do” certain things in order to be a Christian, we are holding to heresy. In that bar on Hawthorne, I finished the last paragraph and felt a kind of sickness at the thought of whether or not I was telling the truth. But after further consideration, and after rewriting the book, I realized the formulaic version of Christianity was irrational, and for that matter, unbiblical.

    Would that be heresy in certain unbiblical things to believe like where Jesus says – “I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I Am the One I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins” (John 8:24). Or how about heresy in certain unbiblical things to do like where our Creator says – “anyone who does not take his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me” (Matthew 10:38). Hmmm, you know come to think of it, that special night with Miller being in “that bar in Hawthorne” spirits just might have played a part after all…

    Remember now, people can say they aren’t something all they want to, but it doesn’t make it so. Just like Rob Bell and Erwin McManus who also insist they’re not Emergent, on the basis of all the evidence above we must conclude Donald Miller and his lack of Christian character is as Emergent as they come. And remember, If it looks Emergent, and it does; if it acts like Emergent, and it does; and if it sounds like Emergent, and it does…then it’s as Emergent as Tony Jones.

  6. Tylor / Feb 7 2007 15 30

    Jim, that was very well said. Oh, and I think I remember now that Imago Dei is in the Reformed tradition (don’t quote me on that).

    But yes, like Jim said, I have been more and more getting a real look at Christianity around the world and have found that the diversity is genuinely good and pleasing in God’s sight. I also see the Church in the 2/3 world growing exponentially with genuine Christianity while in the western world we are struggling to survive. If that isn’t the fruit of the Spirit I don’t know what is.

  7. grace p. / Feb 7 2007 17 39

    With his mouth the godless destroys his neighbor, but through knowledge the righteous escape.
    -Proverbs 11:9 (NIV)

    But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed.
    -1 Peter 3:15-16 (NKJ)

  8. bryan / Feb 7 2007 20 08

    Pastor Ken,

    1. the funny thing is that you are using the word ‘Emergent’ like it is a bad thing to be called.

    2. You are throwing the word ‘Emergent’ around like there is some definition set in stone somewhere. I can’t think of a word that is mroe subjective than that. If Don Miller comes out and says he is not a part of the emergent movement, then he’s not, because to me it’s defined by people who want to be a part of it. If he says “i am not a human”, clearly he is wrong, because we have clearcut definitions for what a human is and is not. But ’emergent’, well it’s no clearer defined than ‘progressive’ or ‘modern’. So basically you are making up your own definition and then putting him in that category.

    i find it amusing.

    but i know you’re intentions are probably good, so i’m not here to ruffle feathers.


  9. Justin / Feb 8 2007 0 45

    Spoken like a true Pharisee.

    • Jason in Colorado / Jun 28 2010 13 28

      This is by far the best reply to this article. Simple, direct, and completely accurate. I’m not comparing Donald Miller to Jesus by any means – but the people condemning the emergent church are DEFINITELY comparable to the pharisees.

  10. Jerry / Feb 8 2007 4 56

    Have you even read the book for yourself? If you do, you will find the story of a man who’s life has been changed by the Gospel, who has become more loving, compassionate, and genuine because of what Christ has done and is doing in him. If you’ve read it, maybe you should read it again. From the tone of your words, I think you missed the point.

  11. Alex / Feb 8 2007 13 52

    Ouch, can you say judgmental? Don even indicates how he struggled to find a church community, found one, and encourages Christians to do the same. While he doesn’t agree with all of them, he hasn’t, in anything I’ve read of his, ever proposed anyone leaving one they are in. The one he found teaches of how we find affirmation through Christ, not conforming to man or man’s oppinions. Many writings of others and the Bible itself confirms this. If you would read In Search of God Knows What you will see he goes to scripture to figure it out. Imago Dei pushes the study and acceptance of the whole Gospel. They beautifully extend grace to their community.

    I believe we are saved by accepting God’s grace and gift of etrenal life not by our works. Accepting God’s grace will result in righteous works, extending grace to our brothers and sisters and striving to live like and please God. And we’ll always be sinners till he comes again, that would be you and me.

    I’m with Tylor and pray for blessings, enlightenment and peace to come your way.

    I’m glad I read his works, it motivated me to read the Bible.

    What’s with all the labels?

  12. Lisa / Feb 8 2007 18 29

    How sad when Christians are so ungracious. Let us be like Jesus.

  13. Nathan / Feb 9 2007 2 29

    I would really like Mr. Silva and Mr. Corley to define the emergent church for us. I mean, he goes around pointing fingers at anything that doesn’t look like him as emergent. His weak ammunition is accusing: “EMERGENT!” Rob Bell is Emergent! Donald Miller is Emergent! Erwin McManus is EMERGENT!

    Can we say Salem Witch Trials? Let’s go around accusing that which we don’t know as being the devil.

    “the fact that you can’t even define the emerging church should call into great question the question if it’s leaders” proclaims Mike Corley. How on earth can you condemn people and label people with something THAT YOU CANNOT DEFINE? Especially when these being accused are saying they reject the Emergent church!

    So let’s review…

    1. Mike and Ken accuse others or being emergent
    2. Mike cannot define what emergent is (BUT THEY ARE EMERGENT!)
    3. Those being accused reject the emergent movement
    4. Mike and Ken still insist that they are emergent

    Makes complete sense, right?

  14. Tylor / Feb 9 2007 3 11

    I guess it is plain to see that the type of people who are inspired by Donald Miller’s books are a passionate bunch (and typically quite reasonable too it seems). 🙂

  15. Mike Corley / Feb 9 2007 13 48

    Nathan, you make a very valid point, and it has inspired me. The most challenging and frustrating aspect of the emergent church is the lack of definition, which in a strange way is the most distinguishing characteristic of the movement. There are common themes that I am seeing among the groups or individuals that I see as being emergent; 1. They continually insist that Igive them a definition of the emergent church? 2. They are quick to claim that whatever the definition is, they are not part of it.

    So, Nathan, here is what I propose; I will email or call as many of the people named as being either emergent or those who question the emergent church, and ask them to give us their definition of the emergent church. I am thinking of folks such as McManus, Kimball, Miller, Padgett, McLaren as well as MacArthur, Mohler, Sproul and even Silva and Corley.

    Lets start with you and me. How do you define the emergent church? I would define it, at least partially (and for the sake of time in this reply) as the following, taken from John MacArthurs upcoming book The Truth War: “An informal affiliation of Christian communities worldwide who want to revamp the church, change the way Christians interact with their culture, and remodel the way we think about truth itself.” MacArthur goes to elaborate to show how all of this is done with as little clarity and, ironically, definition as possible.

    In a seperate article in the fall edition of the Master’s Seminary Journal, Dr. MacArthur made the following conclusion referring to the works of Brian Mclaren (but I think it applies to this discussion), “By overturning the historic understanding of Scripture with a new, secret message of Jesus, McLaren has again undermined the clarity of Scripture. Only a Bible that is impossibly ambiguous can fit in McLaren’s neo-gnostic model.

  16. Nathan / Feb 9 2007 16 15


    I guess three things come to mind.

    1. With such an ambitious definition, do you not think that it is important to have said definition before one dedicated their life to publicly condemning people of being “emergent”. It seems to me that there is alot of name calling in this “discernment ministry” over an issue that really changes in definition from person to person. One might find it extremely important to do a complete study of what the emergent movement is, and properly define it. Second, those who are then accused of being “emergent” should be throughly examined, met with and proven to be emergent… not based on a few men’s interpretation of writings, but from an examination of the heart and conviction of the men themselves.

    2. Before accusing someone of being “emergent” one must do just that… a through examination. I know that Rob Bell is the whipping boy for the discernment ministry. However, I have found that these people pick and choose what they want to use for examples. They overlook great biblical truths that he preaches for more obscure messages that are misconstrued from their context by these people. I have found that most go one bashing these men and have no desire to do complete investigation, have meetings or do the work to see what they really believe. I know personally that these men have contacted Ken Silva to set up meetings and his office is… well, unresponsive at best. I am also finding that the main issue here is reformed theology… if someone isn’t in the same theological camp as these accusers… THEY ARE EMERGENT!

    3. I know that McArthur is second only to Jesus in the discernment camp, but that definition is bogus. Changing the way we interact with culture? Revamp the church? What does that mean? Most of these accusers are reacting to changing methods. What they fail to realize is that the church has changed methods about every 100 years. The method that most churches follow now was CREATED by man to better adapt to the culture. Public lectures and lecture halls were growing more popular… so the church build lecture halls and created what we know now as church. Luther wrote hymns based on the tunes of popular bar tunes of his day (and the lyrics of the bar tunes would even make a harlot blush)! Why now are qwe afraid of culture? THE MESSAGE STAYS THE SAME, THE METHODS CHANGE. The only part of McArthur’s definition that holds up is the part “rethinking truth”. And, while those in McLaren’s camp would agree with that, the Bells, McManuses, Warrens and Millers of the would would completely reject that.

    Nathan’s Definition of the Emergent Church: An informal affiliation of Christian communities worldwide who want to change the MESSAGE of the gospel, and adjust their THEOLOGY it to fit the preference of the changing changing culture.

    wow.. that was long 🙂

  17. Nathan / Feb 9 2007 17 40


    “For example, there’s Miller’s own church, Imago Dei, founded by an ex-college football player named Rick McKinley. The pastor calls people “bro,” sports a goatee and talks in a drowsy, stoned-frat-boy drawl. [Why, one can almost hear our Lord in that description]”

    So apparently only those that look like Jesus and talk with a ancient Mediterranean accent are worthy of preaching? Has Ken really resorted to simple name calling?

  18. Tylor / Feb 9 2007 20 27

    Well if we are looking for someone that looks like Jesus we’ll be looking for a young, middle-eastern homeless vagabond. If the looks even mattered that’d be a lot closer to a stoned-frat-boy than a white, middle-class American. As far as the drawl goes then we would have to reject everything Moses ever said because he had a speech impediment.

    The point is, how the guy looks does not matter at all.

    But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
    1 Samuel 16:6-8

  19. Tylor / Feb 9 2007 20 28

    sorry, that was 1 Samuel 16:7, not 6-8

  20. ema / Feb 10 2007 4 07

    It is “Christians” like you, when you judge in this way, that make me sit back in awe, wondering where true Christianity has gone. The homeless and poor, weary and needy people do not go to the one who will spit in their face or turn their eyes away, but they will go to the one who shows compassion and unconditional love toward them. The example? Jesus Christ. Verse upon verse in the Bible testifies to Jesus’ tendency to serve the poor above those who were monetarily rich and judgemental. This servitude is the kind of characteristic that I see Donald Miller and others (such as Rob Bell) trying to refresh in our society. Their messages could save millions, while if someone read your judgemental opinion of a fellow brother in Christ, they would be turned off by Christianity and not want to hear the Truth. No wonder Christianity has a negative connotation in our society today. Donald Miller is reaching those who are afraid of Christians, those who are not accepted by the fundamentalists. If that, loving others regardless of background or physical appearance, lifestyle or budget, is “emergent” or contemporary and unwanted by fundamentalist Christians, then I’m in. Because TRUE LOVE is what God is, what Jesus portrayed, and what God wants in our lives.

  21. Alex / Feb 11 2007 18 41

    I don’t blog much. This labeling concept and what drives this has me drawn in. This is not about what anyone wants to label Don Miller or anyone else that has a certain style or outlook that defines Christianity. It’s about what our worship leader taught and reminded us last night: that the Devil uses deceit and division to takes us off course.

    The basis of the sermon was from 1 Peter 5:8-11 in Peters words to elders and young men:

    ‘Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever, Amen.’

    The concept of Grace is beautifully written by Philip Yancey and I praise God for it as it was the first literary work I can point to that turned the tide on my drift away from the church. He starts the book off with a 2×4 to the head on a true story he learned “from a friend that works with the down-and-out in Chicago:

    ‘A prostitute came to me in wretched straits, homeless, sick, unable to buy food for her two-year-old daughter. Through sobs and tears, she told me she had been renting out her daughter—two years old!—to men interested in kinky sex. She made more renting out her daughter for an hour than she could earn on her own in the night. She had to do it, she said, to support her own drug habit. I could hardly bear to here her sordid story. For one thing, it made me legally liable—I’m required to report cases of child abuse. I had no idea what to say to the woman.

    At last I asked if she had ever thought of going to church for help. I will never forget the look of pure, naïve shock that crossed her face. “Church!” she cried. “Why would I ever go there? I was already feeling terrible about myself. They’d just make me feel worse”


    Yancey goes on to write that what he was struck by the fact that women like this one fled toward Jesus, not away from him. Unfortunately, this woman didn’t feel the same about his followers.

    I wish more religious thought leaders would look into the concept of Grace as Yancey explores it. The reason I believe there is such a surge in churches of “non-traditional” labels sprouting up is that we all want to flock to Christ as our refuge. Any Christian church should strive to be the enabler of that path–not a filter.

  22. Pastor Ken Silva / Feb 11 2007 21 04

    Nathan has said this same thing at least one other place:

    “I know personally that these men have contacted Ken Silva to set up meetings and his office is… well, unresponsive at best.”

    1) He could not possibly “know” who may have contacted me privately “to set up meetings”. 2)I do not even have an “office.” 3) In fact, I work out of a small converted garage which happens to be where my wife and I live. And 4) It is an absolute lie because I have not been contacted by anyone for any such “meetings”.

    In line with Dr. Walter Martin, if a public debate is what they want where there are witnesses as to what is said and it is to be recorded ensuring what has been said, they know where I am and I’ll back down from no one.

  23. ema / Feb 12 2007 1 52

    are we about loving Christ or defending ourselves from each other’s words?

  24. Rickie / Feb 12 2007 17 39

    I like how Ken is willing to bash anyone not like him, bur completely unwilling to meet with these people. By the way Ken, these men actually have offices and contact info posted on their websites. Have you made a strong effort to meet with them before you made a living off of smearing their name across the web. The web is such an easy place to make harsh accusations. Meeting in person is much much more different.

  25. Dana Keuer / Feb 13 2007 3 43

    Wow, I am shocked at what I am reading, you obviously feel threatned by the work Donald is doing and really have not examined his motive. Any child of grace that comes before God in a real, surrendered sense sees the truth behind what Donald Miller addresses. Donald engages God in a beautiful way that shows the initial astonishing passion and then he applies that to everyday life. When you experience Jesus for yourself, you feel a overwhelming sense of peace in hearing others that have experienced Jesus purpose as well. Jesus was angry at the religious leaders of the day that looked at someone’s title, lifestyle, baggage, and made judgments on them, Jesus wanted them to know that the category of pride that led them to place those of lesser value, are worse off then the sinners. The judgement Christians see the world through is actually satan’s tool to keep people from our Savior. If Christians would spend more time reflecting love and not worrying about who is a “fake” “liar” or “heretic” we would do wonders for his kingdom. Don has sincerity and I feel saddened that you have not experienced the same peace that has encourgaged his writing. I pray that you give your spirit of foolish pride to God so he can enlighten your world view. God bless you.
    Dana Keuer

  26. Dana / Feb 13 2007 3 56


    Are you REALLY trying to pick the splinter out of Donald Miller’s eye when you have like a forest in yours????

    Donald is spreading the Gospel of Jesus and all you are doing is trying to ruin he credibility, how is that spreading CHrist’s Gospel?

    I admire your need to question something that everyone else just takes too, but you really have to look at the facts of what those that you attacked are teaching. Jesus has already paid the price for our sin so we would not have too, instead of focusing on how a Christ follower is doing in some areas, why don’t you join a organization to spread the love, not damage the credibility. Because someone has a different lifestyle or past then you, does not make their relationship with God any less then someone who never wandered away. We are all different so that God can use us in different ways. Don’t harm the mission of a God I know you love and desire his truth.

    Let God be the judge of his people, we are all too deap in our own sh*t to see people accurately anyways.

    God bless,

  27. Tom / Feb 13 2007 6 20

    I love how Ken Silva pulls out the “Dr. Walter Martin” card every time an argument came up. He learned a lot from those cassette tapes.

    For many of you commenting on this blog, I commend you for speaking up. I truly believe that men like Ken Silva in the discernment ministry are being exposed. I believe that the spiritual community that they have been attacking have heard enough and are beginning to speak out (and in huge numbers across the country). it is happening directly and indirectly. They are both done hearing the slander and nit-picking of the discernment movement, and angry with how they are portraying Christ to the unsaved. At the same time, the growing salvations under these ministries do all the talking for them.

    The emerging (not emergent) church is the only growing Christian community in America (gallop polls). Churches like Mars Hill, Saddleback and Mosaic are experiencing a spiritual outpour from the Holy Spirit right now in POWERFUL ways. Satan is mad about this an is bringing the best opposition (one from within the camp). Here are ways you can help:

    1. Pray for the men that are true to the word that people like Ken and others are hurting (Rick Warren, Rob Bell, Erwin McManus).

    2. Write to these men (see their church websites). Tell them you are supporting them and are praying for what God is doing in their communities. Purchase their books and help the cause of the Family of God

    3. Write to Ken, Ingrid and others who have made strong accusations against truly godly men. Challenge their nonsensical interpretation of their writings, and always ask if they have made an effort to speak to these men. Surprisingly, most time they have not.

    4. PRAY! Again, prayer works. We are in a battle for the souls of those we love. We have little time to sit around and fight these petty fights.

  28. Zach / Feb 14 2007 5 47

    i know you guys seem stuck on your thoughts, but just from an overview of what i’ve seen here, it seems like there is more heartache caused than anything else.

    i don’t really think the post’s original title should really cause this big of an issue. whether don is emergent or contemporary or post-modern or modern.. shouldn’t matter much. those are movements in the Christian faith. half the people in those movements don’t know what a Christian movement is. all they know is that they have a sincere faith and they try to find a church that comes close to their own thoughts of what God says the church should be.

    my buddy, chris, is a co-author of many books with don. being from houston, i’m in and around the community of believers that don comes back to when he’s in town. i’ve had the chance to go on the road with robbie seay band as their sound guy on a number of occasions, and with the rsb & chris being pretty key people in their home church of Ecclesia (started by robbie and chris seay,) i can’t really say that they aren’t true believers. in fact, to question their faith would be foolish on my part or anyone’s part. they are solid guys.

    the seay’s experience with don would only give me a further firm belief that don is a sincere believer. i think anyone who reads BLJ with the intent of finding something wrong can and will. he openly talks about how he smokes and drinks with other believers. now, scripturally, drinking is not a problem.. drunkenness is. so, it’d all boil down to what your main focus is going into this book.

    if your thought going into this book is “man, i’d really like to check this guys thoughts on God out. who knows? maybe he’ll be honest and confront some of the issues i have in life?” then man, you’re going to find a hecht of a lot of stuff that hits you in the chest and forces you to move and get excited about Christ and excited to change.

    honestly, there is so much time wasted in this stupid pharisee vs. gentile vs. jew argument we have going on. Christ wants our hearts.. he wants us genuinely and passionately pursuing him. i really dig Rob Bell’s statement that has been made so popular: “love wins.” let’s try using that. love.

    i believe Don is one who is searching to know Christ more and more. he encourages others to do the same. also, given from people who actually know the guy, i can take that he’s a solid believer.

    let’s not begin to question his faith, and let’s not care what movement he’s in. if you get so bent out of shape over a movement, then i think you miss the heartbeat of the gospel. God is a creative and ever-changing God. face it.. God is big. he doesn’t fit in our little box. we’ll never understand him fully. he just asks us to pursue him. how he chooses to move people and in what direction is his deal.

    i love you guys. even though i may not know you all, i love you.
    keep pressing into Christ.
    thanks for reading.

    grace and peace.

  29. Tim / Feb 14 2007 16 26

    I posted a comment yesterday that hasn’t seemed to be posted. I was just curious if it was going to be. If not, please email me and let me know what has disqualified my comment for my future reference. Thanks!

  30. Nathan / Feb 14 2007 16 37

    Amen Zach.

  31. Tim / Feb 15 2007 15 30

    (I just wondered whether my posting of URLs was not allowed. Here is my comment without URLs):

    Earlier in these comments, people were talking about a definition of emergent. I did some looking around and found a primary source in Tony Jones discussing who and what Emergents are in Christianity Today. Here are some excerpts:

    We are a group of friends—about 20 in 1997, and now in the thousands—who are committed to doing God’s Kingdom work together, regardless of our theological, ideological, and political differences. Are we friends with Jim Wallis? Yes! And are there Bush-loving neocons among us? Yes! Emergent is a loose collection of folks who feel that true, robust conversation about issues that matter has been chilled out of modern Christian institutions (seminaries, mega-churches, denominations, and para-church groups, scripture. We have environmental, peacenik lefties, “crunchy cons,” and right wing hawks.

    What I was trying to get at in my blog post earlier this week is that Emergent Village endeavors to be a catalyst of conversation, community, and, ultimately, interpretation. We want the church to reclaim its place as the authoritative community of interpretation of scripture, culture, and human existence. We want Christians to be engaged politically and culturally, and we want to provoke robust and respectful dialogue around issues that matter.

    This is about the extent of my knowledge of Emergents or the Emerging Church. It seems pretty broad, that has representatives with diverse thoughts and backgrounds, and doesn’t appear to trying to create a denomination or some spin-off.

    When Ken Silva posted his original personal criticism of Donald Miller (and by personal I mean that he was commenting on the person of Donald Miller, not Donald Miller’s works), he went even further to impugn the worshiping community in which Miller is a part of. I posted a question to Ken asking if he had first-hand experience of the services at Imago Dei, if he had interviewed the leadership, and if he had interviewed members of that community. I wondered whether it was fair, or even biblical, to judge an entire community without such research. I never got a reply, which actually didn’t surprise me.

    But what concerns me even more is that Jesus rebuked his own disciples for stopping people who were casting out demons in Jesus’ name, but weren’t part of their group. Jesus told them not to stop these people, “for whoever is not against is for us. I tell you the truth, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his reward.” (Mark 9:38-41) Therefore, what other disciple of Jesus should tell another to stop ministering to others who need Jesus? Jesus is pretty clear to his direct disciples that they shouldn’t do that.

    From what I have read of his works and of him, I’m very sure that Donald Miller is very much for Jesus and not at all against Jesus. Let’s follow Jesus together.

  32. Nathan / Feb 15 2007 16 16

    good insight on the “if they aren’t against us they are for us” scripture

  33. Dana Keuer / Feb 18 2007 8 32

    I agree with Zach’s statement on this being a more of a headache then any sort of understanding. We are all coming to the tabe with different backgrounds that encourage us to see our faith as “right” and other people more to the left, or right are way off base. I think anytime we spend more time trying to determine someone elses faith, the deeper we are in an unhealthy understanding of GOd. Ken, just like you don’t know Donald Miller’s heart, I don’t know yours. From what you said you seem to be focused on if he was or was not at a bar drinking, and I think that is what creates a discussion. Donald Miller being at a bar having a drink and/or a smoke (gasp!) is between Donald and our Savior. Maybe Christ has him there for a very distinct purpose. Maybe your ministry Ken is to the right wing conservatives, who have lived very straight laced lives. Maybe God is using Donald to reach a group of people that other leaders could not reach. Ultimately we will all relate with God in a broad spectrum of ways, and I think we can all agree that we have a beautiful, colorful, creative Heavenly Father, that would not want us all to be anywhere other then surrendered to his call. At times God takes a while longer to convict someone of something because he is dealing with more important issues in that person’s life. He places us where he places us, and we just have to trust that our relationships will all look slightly different but have one thing in common……that it was nothing we did, or didn’t do, it was by his Grace, and his grace alone we have been called to be his children. Would you want it any other way? …….me neither!

  34. Celeste / Feb 22 2007 3 24

    I simply don’t understand why both the new “emergent” church and the suburban “mega-church” can’t co-exist peacefully. It should be our goal to glorify GOD and to love the world. I don’t think it displays Christ to the world when there is conflict and name-calling within the “Christian” community.

  35. nathan / Feb 22 2007 16 36

    they do co-exist peacefully Celeste. The emerg”ING”/mega-church is under attack by not each other, but by the enemy. And, he is using people in the “discernment ministry” to bring down anything that God had planned there. You are right though.

  36. Jenny / Feb 24 2007 20 18

    seriously? seriously?

    I am horrified right now. As a part of Mosaic in LA, I’ve been having this whole “emergent” debate for a long time with my family.

    “OH NO!! They’re going to an EMERGENT church? Will my grandchildren be raised in a home that doesn’t TEACH THE BIBLE? Erwin McManus is a humanist! I fear for their spiritual future.”

    I think Celeste brings up a good point. Can’t we just live in harmony? Why is one right and one wrong? Why can’t a guy like Donald Miller pour out his heart and be heard? He’s just sharing his spiritual journey, let the man speak! If the man says No, I’m not emergent, let it go. Nothing else to see here, move along people!

    I truly believe the emergent church has come as a result of the church growth movement of the 70-90s. Really. My generation (30-somethings) is SICK of building programs, SICK of not being in our community, and SICK of the American dream (cookie cutter Christian life).

    I think that the enemy is loving what’s going on here, the christian culture is in upheaval about something, we are fighting and bickering, we are angry and entitled. We are losing focus.

    Let’s go back to the drawing board. Love One Another. God is in control, and it’s going to be okay, it really is.

    How about we take sometime this week (no matter what views we hold) and seek out Christ. Let’s help the homeless, repent of our bitterness and judgmentalism, and move towards living as Christ did.


  37. Lois / Feb 26 2007 20 02

    Just a thought: I believe that some of us would rather not have crass vulgarities in preaching but a holiness and reverence. I’m not “against” the emergent or seeker movements, though I do feel that one needs more than surface grammar. Yes, there is obviously going to be diversity in theology around the world; but holiness and respect for the Holy Adonai ought to be our focus. I know that “times, they are a changin'”. I know that young folk think they “need” the rude, crude, and socially unacceptable formats of the emergent movement. I just ask that those of us who are modeling the more reverent “style” of worship be of one mind and one spirit. I know that what is put into the heart is what becomes of the heart. Be careful, little eyes, what you see; be careful, little ears, what you hear.

  38. Leanne / Mar 13 2007 3 29

    I won’t (yet) even beging to comment on the article, which for now comes across and ‘slightly’ judgmental, but do want to point you all to an article that appeared in Christianity Today’s most recent issue (March) about the emergING church (it also describes the difference between emerging and emergent, which often tend to be confused). Worth reading. So are Don Miller’s books… in case you haven’t read them for yourselves and are simply ‘denouncing’ because of hear-say.

    Goodnight from a Bible believing, dispensationalist, premil, (etc. etc. who cares except for the following:) follower of Crist… ( bet the author of the article above claims to be so as well… yet we have quite different views on Don Miller’s books… interesting)


  39. Leanne / Mar 13 2007 4 19

    By the way, this is a link to the doctrinal statement of the EMERGING church Miller is a member of:

    Not much difference with the doctrinal statement of this site, is there? Now can we please stop suggesting that the emerging (NOT emergent) church is not making up its mind doctrinally wise? To say so, would be lie.

  40. Pete / Mar 13 2007 16 37

    I have read three of Miller’s books and I have to say there are things he says that I disagree with. He and I are poles apart politically and sometimes he makes me feel uncomfortable. Most of this discomfort is beacause of the pain involved in being forced to closely examine my long held beliefs. Spiritually I agree with much of what Don writes. I was raised in a legalistic church that acknowledged grace but relied heavily on works. If this is the “emergent” church then I can’t say it is a bad thing. I have no desire to go back to depending on myself for my salvation. Maybe these detractors are struggling to justify their place in the lifeboat.

    Sola Gratia!!

  41. Rachel / Mar 22 2007 15 57

    Putting aside the fact that I have read all of Don’s published books and that I enjoyed the majority of the time I spent doing so, it disheartens me to see such contempt for someone you do not know personally. There is only ONE who can judge and destroy, so who are you to judge others? It’s sad that I am only 16 and can see the negative effects of your bashing, not just because I happen to like Don Miller, but because he is another Christian. Whether or not he shares your exact beliefs, you should love him as a brother rather than tear him down like an enemy. It’s disheartening to see adults acting this way. This is what we, the youth as a whole, are supposed to look up to? Your place is to set an example through Christ, not use Christ to your advantage to tear others down.

  42. Conway / Mar 30 2007 18 28

    The worst dis-service the church does to the public is jump to conclusions. The worst thing the church does to its own family is rejecting them…not rejecting them for good reason but because they dont fit the bubble culture norm…there are very good reasons why you dont see many poor in church…because for one reason or the other..they simply arnt welcome..even if its for a simple reason as not knowing what to say due to vast cultural upbringings.

    Don Millers “fame” has burst in the forefront so big and fast because he has came to the rejected and said they have rejected me too. I have read I would say about 5 books by “Emergent” authors..and even thought that does not make me an authority on the subject I can tell you through thoughful reading the only real difference between the emergent and traditional church is they openly question things…they admit they are not sure about everything…I have heard Miller and Mclaren both claim that Christ is the only salvation but that is ignored.

    I cannot speak for everyone but I will speak for me and say that Mclaren and Miller ..connected or not..have both encouraged to return to God by putting down my anger towards those who are snobs to me because I dont fit their ideas and to love them anyway..because its not about me…and you know what the traditional church doenst fall in line with too perfect with the bible I have read. I see churches swarming with people whose lives revolve around insurance and savings to ward off what might happen. I could say that Jesus said to not worry for my daily needs that he will take care of me. And as people store up their securities for retirement they could be helping someone eat. I could say that the so called tradional church has replaced God with a secure job…Jesus for a 401k..and the Holy Spirit for a good insurance plan. But, I will not be quick to say that because I am weak as well and my faith is short in areas the only difference between these two groups the emergent and traditional is that one is openly saying Im just not sure about certain faith issues and the other is reasoning away their faith issues.

    To condem the “new” approach of dealing with culture is just strange. We all know the story of Paul speaking with a certain culture and using what they knew to relate it too the God of the Jews when he said after seeing all the statues dedicated to all these different Gods and then they had the one dedicated to the unknow God and Paul said that is my God and he is over all your other Gods and you should worship him.

    Please dont forget to humble yourselves and if you really think something needs to be corrected then do it with love and not condemnation…Christ came with a sword to separate truth from lies but he did not even come to condem the world. The broken hearted do not need to be talked to condecendingly…we need to be loved. It is the whore inside and outside of the church that needs to be embraced. You only see Gods anger when people keep other from coming close to him…so watch yourself when you get angry because you think people arnt doing things correct even when hundreds or thousands have had their hope in Christ renewed and their hearts broken with humilty and their voices singing the supremecy of Jesus.

    with that I would like to say I truly dont believe any in these conversations is bad…just wrong here..and we are all wrong somewhere. I thank you all though for seeking God over the world.


  43. Gont / Apr 10 2007 2 37

    meh, i just want to point out 1Corinthians 13. Summed up it basically says that all things are worthless without love. Sure the emergent churches do some un-Biblical stuff but the same could be said of any church. And in response to the parts about cussing, it’s never even mentioned in the Bible. It says to to watch what you say but it never gives a list of unclean words.(such an absurd idea really belongs in Leviticus with the other laws that nobody follows, and it’s not even mentioned there.) It was even written in a different language before English even existed. How could you ever find a list of unclean words like that. Surely it must be talking about the intent of our words. If you are to say that shit is an unclean word then you also have to blacklist “no. 2”.

  44. Gont / Apr 10 2007 2 40

    meh, i just want to point out 1Corinthians 13. Summed up it basically says that all things are worthless without love. Sure the emergent churches do some un-Biblical stuff, but the same could be said of any church. If a church is entirely Biblical but doesn’t love its worthless. I think that the first thing to look for in a church is that it loves Jesus. And in response to the parts about cussing, it’s never even mentioned in the Bible. It says to to watch what you say but it never gives a list of unclean words.(such an absurd idea really belongs in Leviticus with the other laws that nobody follows, and it’s not even mentioned there.) It was even written in a different language before English even existed. How could you ever find a list of unclean words like that. Surely it must be talking about the intent of our words. If you are to say that shit is an unclean word then you also have to blacklist “no. 2”. Just my last word in, i mean no offense, thank you for your input, even if i do find some disagreements with it. It gave me something to read tonight and spurred a little thought.

  45. Elizabeth / Apr 10 2007 17 52

    Yikes, neither side of the debate here seems to be reflecting that well on Christ. “You’re a libertine” “Oh yeah?? YOU’RE A PHARISEE!!” Goodness!

    I’m nearly done with Blue Like Jazz, a gift from my mother-in-law, and it’s clear that Miller is an orthodox Christian. He acknowledges that there is such a thing as sin, that is must be paid for or we cannot have fellowship with God. He attests to the deity of Christ, the expiation of sin through Christ’s death and resurrection… the big points are there.

    We can agree as Christians to disagree agreeably (it’s a little poem, say it over and over) on minor issues. I’m an evil conservative Christian myself, so some of his comments calling me and my ilk “self-righteous wackos” doesn’t sit too well with me. I personally apply Ephesians 4:29 to my vocabulary (though a salty phrase does escape in emergencies) and if that makes me legalistic… well, so be it. The Apostle Paul was careful to avoid even the merest hint of sin.

    To all my brothers and sisters out there, Jesus said that you could judge something by the fruit it produces. If being a self-controlled evangelical the secret to a true walk with Christ? Is being a laid-back easy going Christian the real way? The world is looking at the fruit each “system” is producing. (By the way, name calling is not good fruit).

    And I will point out, it’s not supposed to be about debating the merits of the system our church uses, it’s supposed to be about Christ.

  46. nathaniel / Jul 3 2007 21 57

    the author of this article says ” “IF” we have extra reading time for anything other than god’s word…” well, he sure seems to have plenty of extra time to spend bashing someone who knows he’s imperfect but loves god when HE’S not reading the bible. leading by example dude?

  47. Chris / Oct 18 2007 13 43

    Blue Like Sarcasim

  48. Josh / Dec 14 2007 20 54

    This book, to me, was more about the politics of Christianity than it was about Jesus. I also found some instances of self-contradiction. It seems that one of Miller’s chief goals was to denounce the “Christian right” and rally people to a life of complete tolerance (and as an aside – “love” as Christ defines it and “tolerance” as today’s PC society defines it are not the same thing). However, he spends much of the book launching some very intentional, very severe attacks on other believers. Is Miller truly “tolerant”, or simply less inclined to come after those who think like he does? It seems to me to be the latter.

    I’m not saying that Donald Miller doesn’t love Jesus. I’ve never met the man, but it is clear from reading this book that Christ has impacted his life in a very real way. It just seems to me that he has taken some of his very personal views that have nothing to do with Jesus and championed them as if they were words directly from the mouth of Christ, which ironically is the very thing for which he holds so many others in contempt. I’ve seen many bumper stickers that say “God is not a republican”, which is very true. But he’s not a democrat either.

  49. tjsmith / Mar 10 2008 20 02

    This is in response to post #39. This is a statement of faith. How does it look to you? Do you know what church uses this?

    The Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments, to be the inspired Word of God, without error in the original writings, the complete revelation of His will for the salvation of men and the Divine and final authority for Christian faith and life.

    That there is but one true God in all existence, in all places, and in all time, who is the Creator of all things, infinitely perfect and eternally existing in three persons. God is a Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

    That Jesus Christ is presently true God and true man, having been conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He died on the cross, a sacrifice for our sins according to the Scriptures. Further, He arose bodily from the dead, ascended into heaven, where, at the right hand of the Majesty on High, He is now our High Priest and Advocate.

    That Jesus will return bodily to this world to fulfill His ministry and calling as God and Lord.

    That the Holy Spirit, like the Father and the Son, has a will, can grieve, love, hate, and is worthy of all worship and honor.

    That the ministry of the Holy Spirit is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ and to convict men, regenerate the sinner, indwell, guide, instruct and empower the believer for godly living and service.

    That man was created in the image of God but fell into sin and is, therefore, lost, and only through regeneration by the Holy Spirit can salvation and spiritual life be obtained.

    That the shed blood of Jesus Christ and His resurrection provide the only grounds for justification and salvation for all people. This justification and salvation is obtained by grace through faith alone for all who believe, and only such as receive Jesus Christ, by faith, are born of the Holy Spirit and, thus become children of God.

    That water baptism and the Lord’s Supper are ordinances to be observed by the Church during the present age. They are, however, not to be regarded as means of salvation or necessary for salvation.

    That the true Church is composed of all such persons who through saving faith in Jesus Christ have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit and are united together in the Body of Christ of which He is the Head.

    In the bodily resurrection of the dead; of the believer to everlasting blessedness and joy with the Lord; of the unbeliever to judgment and everlasting conscious punishment which will not end.

    That the Lord and God possess an exhaustive foreknowledge of all things potential as well as actual and that there is nothing God does not know.

  50. tjsmith / Mar 10 2008 20 16

    Answer to #49 – MORMONISM

    In another web site they insert that the Book of Mormon is also the infallible word of God.

    General statement…

    My point here is that many people may have posted the standard Statement of Faith that many churches use but that does not absolve them of what they may teach inside the walls of their beliefs as “truth”.

    The question here for me is this, “Are they teaching the Jesus of the bible or another Jesus?” After almost 2000 years of church history and teachings that have been around for that long why the need for the redifinition of Christianity? If it is another Jesus then they are teaching falsely. Jesus himself stated to watch out for these types of teachers.

  51. Christian Jacobs / Aug 21 2008 19 36

    Don Miller is like Martin Luther in the way that his ideas are uncomfortable. That doesn’t make him wrong according to the Bible. I mean, look at the “traditional” Christian Church today… Un-Biblical, based in cultish pagan roots, etc.

  52. Troy / Nov 14 2008 15 37

    Wow, what a painful article to read. I think the tone of this article – the tone of judgement – is the kind of tone that causes people, including myself, to flee from traditional churches. I don’t have problems with Donald Miller smoking a cigarette, drinking beer, or looking to do church in a different way. I don’t have problems with a pastor who has a gotee and calls people “bro.” I don’t have a problem with a church that’s into art, music, and social activism. None of that is anti-biblical. It all falls under Romans 14.

    I’m not an expert on the Emergent Church movement. I’m just now trying to figure it all out. If Emergent Churches “deny the inerrancy and final authority of the Bible and the vicarious penal substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ” then I am certainly against it, but from what I’ve read I don’t think it’s that easy to define.

    I don’t know Donald Miller personally, but I’ve read all of his books. I don’t agree with every thing he says, but his writings have had a positive impact on my walk with Christ.

    I’ve never been to Imago Dei, Miller’s Church, but I’ve listened to a lot of their podcasts that are available on iTunes. I’ve never heard anything questionable in their sermons. I don’t see anything questionable on their website, where they plainly state that that the Bible is the final authority and that Jesus died a substitutionary death for us. Furthermore, Imago Dei is part of the Acts 29 network of churches. Acts 29 is led my Mark Driscoll who was an original leader of the Emergent Church movement but got out when the theology started getting screwy. Now, Mark Driscoll is an outspoken opponent of the Emergent Church.

    Again, I don’t know Donald Miller, but, as far as I can tell, his church seems solid. And, until I hear Donald Miller debate the undebatable issues, I’m going to support him.

    Thanks for letting me have my say.

  53. theexpositor / Nov 14 2008 22 03


    Thanks for your well thought out comment. I agree with you in many aspects. My opinion and posture concerning the Emergent/Emerging Church went through numerous steps to come to my present attitude. I would encouraging you to read other articles I have written or linked to (available through the search engine or by category), and listen to the programs I have done in the past on the subject, especially those produced after I attended an EC conference in Texas in 2007. If you will email me your mailing address, I will love to send you a copy of those programs on CD at no cost. You can email at

    Thanks again.


  54. Aaron Hansen / Nov 26 2008 12 28

    Dude, the difference between people like Don Miller, Rob Bell and people like you is that you care about win arguments and proving to people what you say the bible says is right. And they are wrong. And men like them make their faith their whole life. Not just the center. THE WHOLE THING. Rob Bell for instance, he is centered on Jesus. Thats what I love about him. I may not agree on literally everything he says, but I what he says has more substance then people who care more about Doctrine then JESUS. This life is a process and did you ever consider you might not be right on EVERYTHING????

  55. Aaron Hansen / Nov 26 2008 12 31

    By the way, My last comment was directed to the author of this article. no one else……

  56. John h Lowe / Mar 25 2009 19 21

    Well it looks like Don’s getting a bit of critcism here and there, but as a 63 year old Christian who’s spent the last 40 years since my conversion hanging aroung evangelical churches and getting pretty much nowhere with my ‘faith’ and sinking into apathy, I picked up Blue like Jazz at my church (hidden around the back on a secondhand shelf) and started reading. And found myself weeping with real tears at my lack of faith and tears of joy at finding a writer who ‘scratches where I itch’ and who pretty much answers all the doubts I’ve had about God and the whole church. And whose book has encouraged me to read the scriptures and love people more and share my faith. So thanks so much Don, thanks for being real and honest and thereby connecting with ordinary people and encouraging me to carry on carrying on.

  57. Derek / Apr 20 2009 16 36

    I agree that emergent is not technically defined, but I also believe that it is rather obvious when you see it. So they don’t classify themselves as emergent, but there are some very good indicators as to what emergent is, as understood by most when it is used.

    While I don’t know enough to comment on Miller, I am rather upset at everyone who says that this is judgmental and Pharisaical. One of the reasons we have so many crappy Christians (who aren’t even Christians in many cases) is because we aren’t judgmental. There is one verse that I can think of that tells us not to judge explicitly (Mt. 7), but in that same chapter we find Jesus telling us that we should judge, and how we should judge. Paul in I Corinthians even tells us that we are to judge, and gets upset with the Corinthians for not judging others and dealing with sin. We are to judge those INSIDE the church, as Paul says. Paul, Jude, Peter, and John all warn us tremendously about false teachers and making sure our doctrine is pure. While that needs to be kept pure in light of application, as Christ showed us, doctrine is not to be sacrificed for the social gospel. The gospel and love are found in Christ, which produces good works (Eph. 2:10), not in random love, as true love comes from a knowledge of truth. How can you love like Christ if you don’t really know who he is? You can show what looks like love, but it is not Christ’s love if it is not in Christ.

    So please, while I know some people can be judgmental before removing the plank in their own eye, don’t argue that being judgmental is bad. It is extremely necessary to keep the body pure. False teachers are the bane of the NT, who all/most of the apostles condemned harshly, and who Jesus even fought against with anger (flipping merchant’s tables in temple, calling Pharisees liars and vipers, etc). Contend earnestly for the faith. Don’t let it be defiled. Maybe Donald Miller is fine, but from a lot of what he says, he’s sketchy. We all know what the emergent church looks like. Sure, it’s not an exact thing, but we know how it is largely characterized, and Miller seems to fit into many of those categories. Just don’t blow off this issue. Search it and discuss it, don’t attack each other without addressing the issue.

  58. Alan / Aug 20 2009 0 06

    It’s so funny that this expositor quotes a nonChristian journalist from the weekly rag Willamette Week to damn Don Miller. Journalists exaggerate and oversimplify to get their story. Heretic-chasers such as theexpositor can be irritating that way, too. Maybe a little direct contact with Miller and Imago Dei would have made this exposé a little more credible…but a lot less titillating. Folks, Imago Dei is not emergent!

    • theexpositor / Sep 8 2009 15 20


      I invite you to read some of the other articles I have posted concerning Donald Miller, as well as some of the radio broadcasts I have produced. Later on, I came to a different understanding of Miller.

  59. Amy / Jun 2 2010 16 27

    I just wanted to comment on a single statement in the article. Donald Miller audited classes at Reed College. Yes, this college is known for its spiritually disinterested population. In fact, Seattle and Portland, as a whole, are generally stated as such. However, if you read Blue Like Jazz, specifically regarding Miller’s time at Reed, you see that soon after he got there, he joined the small group of Christians on campus. He ministered to the students there. He actually took part in leading at least one of the students to a relationship with Christ. He didn’t join the drunken brawls and run around naked and whatever other sinful things you may think he did. He witnessed. He enjoyed the intellectual stimuli the school offered, but he changed lives for Christ while he was there.

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