Emergent Smackdown Reflections

Posted: April 20, 2009 in Blogroll, change, church, emerging church, speech acts

Much has already been written (blogged) about the Emergent church smackdown with Tony Jones, Scot McKnight. Kevin DeYoung and Alex and Bret Harris (whom I had never heard of before seeing this) at the Christian Book Expo.

You can see the video here. After you’ve watched the video, come back here.

Here are my reflections.

1. McKnight and Jones are obviously tired of being caricatured, especially by those who caricature them — and their friends — in hopes of selling books. I really, really like Scot McKnight and think he offers one of the more hopeful voices moving forward. When folks like DeYoung write polemics to the point that it upset McKnight, the church suffers from the lack of hearing McKnight in venues like these speak about more substantive matters.

2. The Harris brothers didn’t really know or add much. But what did you expect given their age and lack of exposure to things emergent? Being on the panel, in some ways, was unfair to them. However, they could have saved some of the “holier-than-thou” sentiment that I picked up.

3. Kevin DeYoung, obviously under the gun throughout the panel, is (at least from what I’ve seen) like many of the “young, restless, reformed” crew: Mean! When you are right about everything — and I mean everything!!! — you can be as mean-spirited and ungracious as you want because, hey, everyone else’s wrongness is more important to correct than your meanness. Trust me, I know. I grew up in a ecclesiological tradition that placed so much importance on “orthodoxy” — which is always self defined, though DeYoung wouldn’t accept that premise — that you can simply be mean as a snake. You can get a feel for DeYoung here. (Granted, they are Jones’ impressions, but DeYoung has not contradicted the facts as of yet — as far as I know.) I think at all times, even when writing, all Christians must remember that scripture calls us to speak words of grace. That doesn’t mean to never teach or rebuke, but it does mean that we do it fairly, generously, and charitably.

  1. Brian H. says:

    This is an awesome post. I absolutely love the tagline for your blog. We’re in a post-Christian wilderness and those who don’t know it misunderstand the term “post-Christian.”

    And about the reformed, I was once at Christian campus group at Tarrant College College in N. Richland Hills. It was non-denominational. I mentioned something to a couple of the guys in the group that originated with Donald Miller in Blue Like Jazz. I was told, “We don’t like that book here.” When asked if they had read it, they said no, but they had heard about it.

    I thought I was with a group of “c”hurch of Christ kids.

    Thanks for the post and now I know why I followed you on Twitter.


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