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20 October, 2007 / theexpositor

Day One at Emergence 07

The opening day of the Emergence 07 conference in Austin, Texas is a done deal.

I will freely admit I am learning some things, yet many, many opinions and ideas I have had concerning the Emergent Church are being clarified and confirmed.

The opening evening of the conference was attended by perhaps 100 attendees ay Gateway Church. The format of the discussion was in the form of the Q&A led by moderator Scot McKnight, Professor in Religious Studies at North Park University. The panel consisted of Josh Carney, Teaching Pastor, University Baptist Church, Waco, TX; Danielle Shroyer, Pastor of The Journey in Dallas, Texas; Doug Pagitt, Pastor of Solomon’s Porch in Minneapolis, Minnesota; and John Burke, pastor of Gateway Church in Austin. The event is presented by Zondervan Publishing.

I truly come to this conference with an open mind and a compassionate heart. In times past I have been harshly critical of the ECM (Emerging Church Movement) and while I stand by the point of my comments, I may have said some things without the compassion and mercy that I should have.

I am not a blogger such as Tim Challies or Timmy Brister, so it is not my forte to do a play-by-play type commentary. I will go into more detail later. 

But I will say now that there has been little to change my mind about the beliefs and practices of the Emerging Church. The statements made by the panel last evening, all of which would probably admit they are leaders of the ECM, were sad, shocking and even outrageous. Many basic tenets of the faith were called into question or even outright rejected, usually under the caveat that no one has a hold on the truth and that truth was not absolute and was subjective to each individual’s personal perspective, the culture they live in and their personal experiences.

I guess the running theme here is ambiguity, doubt and uncertainty about almost everything, except the fact that everyone undoubtedly has the right to define truth and practice as they see fit.

Some who read this will say that I am wrong or have misinterpreted what was and will be said. All I know is I am here have listened to the discussion and even spoken personally with some of the speakers.Not since attending a meeting of The Jesus Seminar have I been so saddened, and yes even shocked by what I have heard.

More importantly, I came away from the last night’s session with extreme sadness, as so many people are basing their eternities on a subjective faith that may or may not be consistent with the absolute truth of God’s Word.I will be listening and learning today for the second day of discussions.

Let us pray for the speakers and those listening, even me.



  1. Henry Frueh / Oct 21 2007 0 52

    And these are just the ones who continue to be so confident believe they are still tethered to a part of mainstream evangelicalism that they will speak in public forums. If what was spoken in private was made public it would shock the church – I think.

  2. Jake / Oct 21 2007 21 50

    Its easy to give vague statements about how “many basic tenets of the faith were called into question or even outright rejected” and “the running theme here is ambiguity, doubt and uncertainty about almost everything”. Would you care to offer some specific examples? Until you do, it seems to me that all you’re really doing is leveling serious accusations about the speakers while offering absolutely no evidence to back them up.

    I commend you for being much more gracious in your criticisms than many who dislike what some emergent leaders teach. But routinely such criticisms seem to consist of vague statements with little critical engagement of actual points of disagreement.

  3. John / Oct 22 2007 16 51

    I attended the Emergence Conference and was completely blown away, in a good way! Next to my salvation experience, this was the most spiritually impacting event of my life. I am reformed in theology and love John MacArthur, John Piper and Mark Driscoll. However, I think the speakers discussed and fleshed-out some important topics that these guys just don’t get.
    Their honesty and candid conversation was refreshing and, although I do not agree with everything they said, I have a new-found respect for the Emergent Movement. I think your comments are a little misleading and vague.

  4. Shawn Coons / Oct 22 2007 17 13

    I’m interested in the content you found objectionable. Since I wasn’t there, I’d appreciate hearing more specifics. Thanks!

  5. Mike Clawson / Oct 22 2007 17 47

    Yes, more specifics would be very much appreciated. Thanks!

  6. Yvette / Oct 22 2007 19 13

    Thanks Jake…you said what I was thinking, only better.

  7. paul soupiset / Oct 26 2007 5 31

    would love to know what shocked you and why. ¡gracias!


  1. Mike Corley blogs Emergence Conference « Sweet Tea & Theology

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