October 24, 2017

Look Ma! I Can Wear This Caricature, Too!

10054956lTim Challies recently reprinted an extended quote from Kevin DeYoung’s writing on the emerging/emergent church. I won’t reprint it here, but if the rest of the post is going to make any sense to you, go read it all.

When I first read this, it tipped my already leaning inclination to be highly annoyed at needless stereotyping and dividing of the Christian family by things that are neither significant nor truly divisive, but simply are the perceptions and caricatures of one team over another. We’ve come to the point where portraying emergent Christians as “useless idiots” is an approved form of bigotry, and it does positive harm. I posted at the BHT while I was steamed up, then decided to give DeYoung the benefit of the doubt, at least on this quote, and say he was simply having a little fun.

I’ll admit that DeYoung comes off like the witty kid who can make fun of the other kids without seeming to be all that mean, but the mean kids will find it hilarious for all the wrong reasons.

So turnabout is fair play, and perhaps a look in the mirror makes the point whatever way you want to take it: caricature, satire or humor. So courtesy of Adam Omelianchuk, author of one of the better explanations of why you don’t have to be a Calvinist to be a Christian, here’s the same passage, but with the gun sights aimed the other way.

After reading nearly five thousand blog posts of Reformed Christians, I have no doubt that the so-called “Young, Restless, and Reformed,” while loosely defined and far from uniform, can be described and critiqued as a diverse, but recognizable, movement. You might be a Reformed Christian: if you listen to Caedmon’s Call, Bob Kauflin, and Derek Webb’s She Must And Shall Go Free album (but never his later stuff), listen only to expository sermons through Romans, drink orange juice to the glory of God, and always use an Amazon Kindle to read publications from Crossway Books; if your reading list consists primarily of John Piper, John MacArthur, R.C. Sproul, J.I. Packer, D.A. Carson, Tim Keller, Mark Driscoll, Michael Horton, Wayne Grudem, Bruce Ware, Tom Schreiner, Kevin DeYoung, and Ted Kluck (not to mention Mahaney, Mohler, Dever, Duncan, etc.) and your sparring partners include Brian McLaren, Rob Bell, Greg Boyd, and Rick Warren; if your idea of quintessential Christian discipleship is John Calvin, Martin Luther, John Owen, John Bunyan, Jonathan Edwards, or anyone just named John; if you don’t like Barack Obama or conversations or contextualization or egalitarianism or Left Behind Christianity; if your political concerns are abortion, gay marriage, abortion, gay marriage, abortion, gay marriage, abortion, gay marriage, and abortion and not so much health care or the economy; if you are into singing Psalms, hymns, or Puritan Paperbacks; if you talk about penal substitutionary atonement and the sovereignty of God; if you lie awake at night having nightmares about all the ways Pentecostalism has ruined the church; if you love the Bible as a inerrant, infallible, verbally inspired book that can be used for psychiatric diagnostics and scientific proof of a young earth; if you search for unity with other believers but aren’t sure it can be found; if you’ve ever been to a church that teaches exclusively out of the ESV, has a large Reformed bookstore, promotes several conferences a year all with basically the same speakers; if you loathe words like story, narrative, relational, open, and seeker-sensitive and use words like God-centered, hedonist, regenerate, error, heresy, discernment, and authority; if you grew up in a Christian home that in retrospect seems semi-Pelagian, naive, and about works righteousness; if you forbid women in all levels of ministry, cater to white suburbia, and like your theology systematic instead of practically relevant; if you disbelieve that God really wants to save everyone; if you want to stop dating the church; if you long for a community that exercises church discipline, thinks criticism is a good thing, and doesn’t allow dating; if you believe the “loving your enemies” prooftext gets in the way of the Just War criteria; most of humanity is predestined to hell and no one can do anything about it; if you believe salvation has a little to do with responding in faith and repentance and a lot to do with sovereign grace and limited atonement; if you believe following Jesus is about being doctrinally correct but not necessarily walking as he did (because that’s impossible!); if it really bugs you when people talk about wanting to see heaven getting into people instead of getting people into heaven; if you disdain efforts to help the poor as liberal or supplanting the gospel; if you use the word “justification” in all your arguments against NT Wright–if all or most of this tortuously long sentence describes you, then you might be a Reformed Christian.

If you read the comments at the Challies post, you will notice how many of his regulars found themselves in the emergent quote. They like U2, drink lattes, etc. I think it does us all good to realize that while the poster boys for our teams might be purists, most of us aren’t.

Yes, many of you read Wight and Piper. You have an ESV and an NLT. You like Over the Rhine and old Derek Webb. You aren’t actually a pacifist, but you read Anabaptists. You read Merton and Paul Tripp.

You ought to be ashamed of yourself. How can you say that Rob Bell’s last Nooma (the one on Job) was outstanding and still call yourself reformed?

It’s a big goof. Resist those who try to make us line up in teams and play the game according to their rules. Like Merton said, combine in yourself all those supposedly irreconcilable opposites.

Comments

  1. R….O…..F….L

    Turn about is fair play.

  2. I’m open for the Lutheran, Catholic or Baptist versions of this, but I have very, very high standards.

  3. “–if all or most of this tortuously long sentence describes you, then you might be a Reformed Christian.”

    Love it. If you take the Bible as plain and simple literal truth, but need to write essays as long as the book of Matthew to illustrate two words from Paul, you might be reformed. If you wish that sermons were eight hours long but don’t have time for greeting each other in church, etc.

  4. My “religious views” tag on FaceBook is “Follower of Y’shua Ha Mashiach”, thereby (hopefully) distancing myself from the baggage of “Christian” and “Christ-follower”, both of which have been co-opted and corrupted.

    Besides, I always got picked last at recess anyway — why would I even want to be on a team? 😉

    • ….man your ABSOLUTELY right ..and its a shame that i have to distance myself from the word “christian” so that im not instantly shrugged off and labeled “religious”…we can blame that on the self appointed preachers who book learned God and have no experiencial knowledge of Him..

    • Kenny Johnson says:

      Now you can safely be on the team of pretentious! :-p

      • Um, what?

        • I think he’s implying that trying to avoid stereotypes and labels is less than useless.

          Some of my friends have tried the “I’m no longer calling myself a Christian” thing, but whenever they try and explain this to a nonchristian, the nonchristian dies of boredom and walks away labeling them as that “weird Christian” anyway.

  5. It would be easy to do one of these for Orthodox converts, but the unflattering portrait would look so much like me that the humor would be lost on me.

  6. “…or Left Behind Christianity”. Is he serious? Good, neo-Calvinists are dispensationailsts? Interesting times.

    • dumb ox says:

      Nevermind. In DeYoung’s original post, he implies that Emergents don’t like Left Behind, and in Omelianchuk’s rebuttal, he implies that Calvinists also don’t like it, either.

      So, there is a common ground on which New Calvinists and Emergents can build!

      If neither camp likes Left Behind, then someone else is buying the millions of copies of the Left Behind books, movies, and video games, which really dwarfs both camps. Finding a common ground may be a really smart idea. A big chunk of that Lahaye fan club belongs to the principle-based, Christless, best-life-now neo-liberalism currently dominating evangelicalism.

      • What to make of the Left Behinders? They do indeed cover a huge amount of the Christian terrain. Do we brush them aside as confused? Or do we have to take them seriously as a non-trivial strain of belief/practice?

        We have the same problem in the atheist camp. Do we cling to our pure Soft Atheism or admit that Hitchens and Dawkins are part of our club and deal with it?

    • I read the “Left Behind” series as a guilty pleasure.

      I suspect I am not the only one.

  7. Johnny Cashville says:

    Amen, and thank you.

  8. I read DeYoung’s book a few months ago… I liked it because it primarily reminded me of the danger of questioning things WITHOUT seeking an answer. I think that’s a danger that a lot of the emergent guys are susceptible to… but there were a few places like this that he really caused me to question his motives… I ended the book encouraged and more discerning towards what I read across the board… but I have a feeling that most people who read it end up more cynical and accusatory towards the emergent camp… or anyone who looks that way…

  9. As Derek Webb sings, “Baby don’t let ’em, don’t let ’em put a name on you.” 🙂

    • That’s a line from his reformed poster child days… I mean, you can’t be truly reformed and believe that there “…are no categories, just long stories waiting to be told…” If we can’t systematically categorize the heterodox and heretics, then how can we know anything at all?!? 😉

      • …I meant to say, “from after Webb’s reformed poster child days”… I suspect that his lyrics have put him in the TR doghouse.

  10. but the mean kids will find it hilarious for all the wrong reasons

    exactly

  11. The sad part is that I fit most of those descriptions . . .excluding some of the last 1/3 where it actually left true Reformed theology. Or at least misrepresented it. It was still amusing, though 🙂

  12. “Turn about is fair play.”

    Just for the fun of it:

    You’re into “Jesus shaped spirituality” if . . .

  13. Had I realized sooner that Dallas Willard was considered emergent, I would have burned his books long ago 😉

  14. If your TR you love the teachings of Paul but seldom get around to the teachings of Jesus

    If your TR Sex is evil, but Violence rocks (just when did 24 and UFF become such a popular thing with the TR?)

    • You can almost divide the church on the Paul vs Jesus line. Come on now, at least Paul told what to do and not do. Jesus and his darn parables! 🙂

    • Dave138 says:

      You mean “the teaching of Paul” as um… “properly” interpreted. Don’t dare bring up the New Perspective or Federal Vision.

      🙂

  15. Gotta disagree there dac. The Driscoll, etc Reformed are pretty much all into sex in the Bible.

    • 1 out of 100 doesn’t make a trend – just how many of the TR have jumped on the Driscol for the SOS stuff?

    • I think it would generally be true of the Young Restless and Reformed, but not of the pockets of TR fundamentalism. So it is a cleavage.

      Oh my….what did say? 🙂

  16. Hmmm….some of that sounds a lot like the independent fundamental Baptists I grew up in…worrying about Pentecostals and dating (minus the objection to Left Behind Christianity, of course!).

    I’m Charismatic and Reformed, but don’t buy into a lot of what goes with “Reformed culture”.

  17. A Cafeteria Calvinist.

    Heretic 🙂

  18. Christopher Lake says:

    I’m a Reformed Baptist who enjoyed DeYoung’s original list for its witty noticing of certain goofy/sad things that tend to be found in “emergent culture.” I enjoyed this list for exactly the same reason, pertaining to “Reformed culture,” although I do have to say that I found it a bit less witty and slightly more barbed than DeYoung’s list. It didn’t upset me though. We all need to have more of a sense of humor about ourselves.

    • I’d agree- I’m Reformed, and can see the funny side, but this one was definitely nearer the knuckle…

      Then again being Reformed is never popular- when I embraced Reformed theology my family and friends treated me like I was advocating on behalf of the Nazi Party. I wouldn’t quite call them semi- Pelagian; probably a third- Pelagian instead 🙂

      Definitely gets the Reformed tendency to arrogance spot on, however, I’m sorry to say.

  19. Jeremiah Lawson says:

    iMonk, I think dac seems to be referring to how the TR/Reformed are about entertainment. I’ve met a few who were totally cool with, say, all the dismemberment in 300 or the battles in Braveheart but avoid sexual content in films. I respect that as a matter of personal conscience … but it DOES seem to be a general rule that some neo-Reformed Christians seem to be big on violence in entertainment. They’d sooner watch 300 and Braveheart than, say, get near any romantic comedy (though I can understand skepticism about a lot of romantic comedies).

    • Many of the YRR guys that I know watch R rated sexual content without a blush. I may just be friends with the sexually liberated reformed 🙂 I know the no-sex reformed you refer to. I think that’s an observable difference between the Macarthur and Driscoll camps.

      ms

      • Jeremiah Lawson says:

        Yeah, it’s an observable difference between the Macarthur and Driscoll camps … but it’s actually a divide even within the Driscoll camp. I know a few people at Mars Hill and have seen firsthand that this divide is internal even in the Driscoll camp and Mars Hill would certainly have to qualify as “Driscoll camp” which is more proof that stereotypes aren’t very accurate.

    • I think one reason you see some of the YRR guys so into UFC/mixed martial arts and other violence is their need to prove their complimentarian, leader of the home, I like getting punched in the face by the sermon every week masculinity. Viewing a romantic comedy would be the first step on the slippery slope that leads to egalitarianism, then feminism, a denial of inerrancy, and ultimately to ordaining homosexuals. It’s all in Romans1, or somewhere.

      • Deftly explained. I’m in awe.

        • Christopher Lake says:

          Indeed, DT, there is some real insight in what you wrote. I’m not sure that I necessarily agree that the UFC fascination is tied into the Reformed/complentarian idea of men being “leaders of the home” though. I know some of these Reformed Driscoll fans personally (I like some of Driscoll’s teaching; I’m just not an unqualified “fan”), and the ones whom I know are very kind and caring to their wives– not apparently given to using their “headship” in a harsh way.

          The UFC fascination seems to be more about their idea of what it means to “be a man,” whether single or married. Drinking beer always seems to go along with it too. It’s somewhat tragicomic to me.

      • If I could write, I would of said it that way

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        Well, long ago I noticed a pattern that activists would get highly offended by/call for censorship of Sex or Violence, but almost never both. Usually it was censor one and indulge in the other. Weird linkage pattern, like pro-gun control and pro-abortion usually going together.

        Question: “Complementairan” = “Woman! Do as I say or[MOD edit]!”?

        • Absolutely not! . Complementarians are the majority report in Christianity. From Catholics to the Amish. Means differing, complementary roles for the genders. That’s a very offensive characterization of most of the people on this blog.

          I had to edit it.

  20. wasabicoated says:

    It’s funny that both posts of caricatured Reformed and Emergent Christians fail to describe a vast majority of Christians. Dumb Ox is right, most Christians don’t fit into either of both of those caricatures, instead most fit into the cheap grace or LAW, LAW, LAW categories.

  21. Don’t want no camps.

  22. I think the real truth, @wasabicoated, is that most Christians don’t really fit into *any* of the categories. Not really. Not once you peel back all of the layers.

    Most of us, I think, if we had to get shoved into a category (and it’s a “goof” to do this, for sure, but let’s try anyway) *really* fit into the scared-that-we’re-useless, lost-without-a-home, just-trying-to-be-relevant category. Not that we’d ever confess that we’re sheep in need of a shepherd, or a bunch of thieves invited to dinner by grace, but that’s what we are. It’s part of the reason the whole thing is a goof.

    I’ve been reading Romans recently, and 14 and 15 just knocked me over the other day. Not because I felt armed to go into battle with the folks who disagree with me, but because Paul pretty clearly says, “hey, if they don’t want to drink alcohol, or they want to worship on Saturday, hey . . . they’re still invited to dinner.”

    It amazes me how much of this is about culture, and not about scripture.

  23. Great stuff Michael.

    I actually do listen to both Over the Rhine and early Derek Webb…though Over the Rhine is SO much more enjoyable.

    I read pretty eclecticly and have never felt that I had to agree with everything a person says to like them. For instance, Dallas Willard understands discipleship just about more than anybody else I’ve ever read, but parts of Willard make me cringe. Nonetheless, when Willard publishes I get it and read it and am always thankful! The same with Wright: I have some misgivings and some outright disagreements, but I find Wright unbelievably profitable and challenging and I love reading Wright!

    I’ve also been spending a good time in The Institutes this year…as well as in Wesley’s Journals. Both have unbelievable strengths.

  24. JoanieD says:

    I love YOUR list, Michael…you did an excellent job with the “rewrite” from the Reformed point of view. Some funny stuff in there.

    DT’s comment is great, too!

    I don’t fall smack-dab into either group, but I do have quite a few of the Emerger things. But I love Michael’s writings/thoughts/laments and the authors he refers us to. And, I love to attend Mass when I can and I really appreciate the contemplative dimension of the gospel. So what does that make me? I took a quiz some time ago about what kind of a Christian I was and I think it said I was a Conservative Progressive Christian. Hmmm….some who know me may ask: “How she can be Conservative if she says she is a Liberal?” Well, maybe I am conservative in my theology and liberal in my politics. My husband would say my theology is very conservative (he says if there is a God at all, it’s just the force that created things) but I think some of y’all may think differently of me. That’s OK. I love you all anyway!I

  25. JoanieD says:

    Oops, I am thinking I gave credit to you, Michael, for that creative writing when I think you are saying it was written by Adam Omelianchuk? Is that correct? Sorry about that.

  26. That’s funny. Seriously. You should see the looks I get when my conservative seminary baptist buddies hear that I am a social worker…HEAVEN Forbid…

  27. Bob Sacamento says:

    I’ll admit that DeYoung comes off like the witty kid who can make fun of the other kids without seeming to be all that mean, but the mean kids will find it hilarious for all the wrong reasons.

    Dang, Michael?!?!?!? Ever read Rob Bell or Brian McLaren????? How come it’s only the emergents that get to run with this schtick?

    But anyway, DeYoung’s book is excellent. He is as irenic as possible throughout. He does not stereotype. He bends over backwards trying to be understanding and even criticizing mainstream evangelicalism quite a bit. He is just having some fun here (obviously). Let that be the end ot if.

    It’s a big goof. Resist those who try to make us line up in teams and play the game according to their rules.

    Speaking as someone who laughed at both goofs, yes, let’s resist these people. I’m glad DeYoung is not one of them. (But I’m pretty sure Rob Bell and Brian McLaren are. And yes, I have read them for myself.)

    • well, that’s your opinion. Suffice it to say, it isn’t mine I find DeY to be ok, but as ms pointed out, to many of the mean kids take his stuff to a different place. I read his stuff through the lenses of how others use the material. Perhaps unfair to DeY, but basically his stuff is old and recycled whining about emergents

      but thats my opinion. Your mileage may vary

      • Bob Sacamento says:

        I read his stuff through the lenses of how others use the material.

        Please try the same thing with McLaren et al.

        Perhaps unfair to DeY

        Pretty much, yeah. Through those lenses, McLaren et al., and heck, even the apostle Paul, will look pretty bad too.

        but basically his stuff is old and recycled whining about emergents

        Don’t know how old and recycled it is, but it is spot on, and it is not whining. His book takes the subject seriously and offers a thoughtful response.

        Want to be emergent? Whatever. But fair is fair, and Imonk’s post is uncharacteristically unfair to DeYoung and his very good book. That’s what I’m griping about.

      • Thanks Bob. Challies is fair and I am unfair. Huge surprise.

        >…it is spot on

        I don’t think it’s whining. And I don’t think even DeYoung would say it’s spot on. Every Calvinist I know uses a Mac. It’s a spoof. It’s satire. If you actually take either list seriously as diagnostic that’s hilarious. The whole point here and in the comments at both sites is that no one follows the “map” perfectly. There are contradictions are over.

        • Bob Sacamento says:

          Boy, this is getting complicated. My “spot on” comment is not about DeYoung’s original spoof. Which is, let’s say it again, a spoof and nothing more. The “spot on” comment was about his entire book Why We’re not Emergent.

  28. >Ever read Rob Bell or Brian McLaren….

    I’d say Mclaren is offensive to fundamentalists, but he doesn’t put up posters making fun of David Crowder’s hair.

    And I’ve read one book from Bell. No snark at all.

    Sorry.

    • Bob Sacamento says:

      And I’ve read one book from Bell. No snark at all.

      The very title Velvet Elvis is snark, for good or for bad.

      I’d say Mclaren is offensive to fundamentalists …

      Generous Orthodoxy is filled with one liners and asides making fun of people McLaren doesn’t agree with.

      But this is really tangential to my main point, which is: DeYoung wrote a very good book. You shouldn’t cherry pick it and pull out a clearly humorous part, and then use it to accuse DeYoung of bigotry (which was your word, just to be clear). Or maybe you’re not going quite that far. Your original post is a little vague there. But the suggestion is still strong.

      If you’re going to try to represent the contents of DeYoung’s book to your readership, you should make doubly certain that you are representing it as it is. Your original post doesn’t give any evidence that you even read it.

      If my opinion counts here, Michael, I am really surprised at this post. You are generally one of the most fair-minded folks in the Christian blogosphere. But this post is one of the most unfair I have seen.

    • Glad to have surprised you Bob. I haven’t said a single WORD about DeYoung’s book. I haven’t read it. Where in either post at either sight is anyone discussing DeYoung’s book?

      I said that I didn’t post a rant I originally wrote because I wanted to give DeYoung the benefit of the doubt. I never claimed or acted like I claimed to have read the book.

      Your definition of fair is “Takes DeYoung’s satire seriously and says it’s for all emergents because of Bell and Mclaren.” Y’know Bob, you might be surprised that the emergers, for all their faults, don’t have a “Hall of Contemporary Reformers” up at Monergism yet. Everyone I know thinks Mclaren is unhelpful or worse.

      But my definition of fairness is run a parallel piece and let both sides have an equal taste of satire. For you that’s unfair. Whatever.

      • Bob Sacamento says:

        I haven’t said a single WORD about DeYoung’s book.

        But you did, knowingly or not, because that is the book that has his original extended quote.

        I haven’t read it. Where in either post at either sight is anyone discussing DeYoung’s book?

        Again, the fact that the quote is discussed means the book is discussed. Thank you for saying that you haven’t read it. If you had said this up front, together with something like, “and so don’t take this as any indication of my thoughts on what the guy has actually thought or written, because I admittedly just don’t know about it,” I wouldn’t have had anything to complain about.

        I said that I didn’t post a rant I originally wrote because I wanted to give DeYoung the benefit of the doubt.

        OK, but it’s still very easy to conclude form your language elsewhere that you mean to lump DeYoung in with “those who try to make us line up in teams and play the game according to their rules,” or, at the very least, you’re going to leave the possibility open. You say you didn’t mean to do this. Fine. But after re-reading you post, I still think my original conclusion to the contrary was justified at the time.

        Your definition of fair is “Takes DeYoung’s satire seriously and says [say?] it’s for all emergents because of Bell and Mclaren.”

        –sigh– Once again, I realize DeYoung’s “list” was a spoof. As was Ochuk’s. And I found both of them to be excellent satire. And I don’t take either of them any more seriously than that. I think I’ve said this enough now.

        My “definition of fair” is: don’t cherry pick an obviously satirical goof from an otherwise serious and thoughtful book and writer and try to use it to misrepresent the book or writer as a whole. That was my main gripe here. I think I have said that enough times too.

        You say you weren’t doing that. I say you were but, as I now realize, you were doing it unintentionally. OK, fine. Tomayto, tomahto.

        Maybe I should have been saying all of this over at challies first. He really did the same thing. But I don’t read challies, for reasons I won’t go into here.

        OK, so you didn’t intend what I thought you did. Fine. But for what it’s worth, I contend that my original estimation was justified. For what it’s worth, I would suggest a bit more research and a bit more of an eye on how you’re coming across the next time.

        Don’t think I can make myself any clearer than that. I’m done.

      • I never implied I read the book. I said I’d read Challies. Hand my post to someone who knows DeYoung has a blog and a book and tell me which one they will say the quote came from.

        Yes, you should have been to Challies first. I wouldn’t be posting anything if a blog that has everyone’s ear for fairness and calm “discernment” hadn’t run the piece having a nice laugh that anyone who reads Newbegin is a potential denier of the atonement. There would be no Adam O response sent to me if there were no Challies post.

        That Mr. DeYoung is a candidate for inclusion on the approved Reformed faculty is obvious. Just as obvious is that I haven’t read his books and haven’t said anything except his piece contrubutes to the caricature (it’s in the title of the post) of other Christians.

        I fail to see how two satires, both equally inaccurate, amount to unfairness. You’ve lost me there.

        • Bob Sacamento says:

          I fail to see how two satires, both equally inaccurate, amount to unfairness. You’ve lost me there.

          No, because your giving of equal time to Ochuk’s own hilarious satire is fine with me. That’s not my point.

          I’ll keep reading iMonk, but on this topic, I give up. Sorry.

          Peace.

        • Bob,

          I appreciate the dialog but let’s be honest. I’m not where you are on the emerging church. I see a movement too diverse to characterize. Baptists or Calvinists don’t suffer from that. I simply don’t see my hero Bob Webber as the same as Steve Chalke. Sorry. Too diverse.

          peace

          ms

  29. charlie.hr says:

    DeYoung’s original list seems to me more of a description of a Mac Zealot than an emergent christian. (LOL)

    If I read iMonk’s blog as my “daily bread morning time devotion”, Frank Viola “Pagan Christianity?” as my bedtime reading and dream about becoming a Christian Rock Star/ Hollywood A lister Actor….

    What does that make me? 🙂

  30. charlie.hr says:

    Sorry, forgot one thing…

    If I read iMonk’s blog as my “daily bread morning time devotion”, Frank Viola “Pagan Christianity?” as my bedtime reading and dream about becoming a Christian Rock Star/ Hollywood A lister Actor / Megachurch Preacher…

    What does that make me? 🙂

  31. When I read the list about the Emerging Church, I chuckled. When I read the list about the Reformed Christians, I had a good laugh. It was the same kind of laugh you have when you observe yourself and your family in all your quirkiness and realize just how true and humorous you are.

    Caricatures take what is there and exaggerate it, and the caricatures of both the Emerging Church and the Reformed Christians are well earned. I don’t think one had more barbs in it than the other, but such descriptions are sometimes a little more poignant when they come from outside our own camp.

  32. Suppose I’m mostly a Reformed Christian… but that list made me laugh pretty good. I was hardly even offended at all.

  33. I had to laugh about Guinness being the drink of choice of the Emergent – so all us Irish for generations past have been emerging, only we didn’t know it, thanks to Uncle Arthur’s finest? 🙂

    I did go “Hey!” when they mentioned churches with candles. We don’t , however, have a prayer labyrinth (thanks be to God).

    I could identify several elements of that list within myself, so am I semi-emergent? Kind of stuck halfways through the door? 😉

  34. I read DeYoung’s book a while back and I thought he treated emerging Christians fairly. More importantly he made me rethink a lot of my own faith and my church — which is saying a lot for someone who calls Rob Bell’s Mars Hill home. In fact, I almost left Mars because of “Why We’re Not Emergent.” I’m still there, but not without my eyes open a little wider than they were.

    All this to say, as someone on the edge of emerging Christianity, I found DeYoung’s book incredibly helpful and enlightening. It brought me back from the edge, in fact. And I found that quote (which pretty much describes me to a tee) absolutely hilarious.

  35. I’m pretty solidly Reformed, but I also happen to like all of Derek Webb’s stuff (yes, including “What Matters More”), am pro-life, but am also (therefore?) pro-social justice and economic reform, like some (but not all) of the authors on that list, but also enjoyed The Myth of a Christian Nation and Surprised by Hope, am a political moderate and Independent (“purple,” as some have put it), am convinced THAT God did create the earth (but am unsure of how long ago and think that promoting a hard position here is missing the point of the text), use 1/2 dozen translations including (but definitely not limited to) the ESV, and lean egalitarian (did I just admit to that out loud?). Not sure where that puts me…

    “It’s a big goof. Resist those who try to make us line up in teams and play the game according to their rules. Like Merton said, combine in yourself all those supposedly irreconcilable opposites.”

    That pretty much sums it up. I’ve always been the square peg in the round hole anyways – why try to fit into someone’s camp now?

  36. alvin_tsf says:

    if you have a man-crush on driscoll and try to pray like john piper…

  37. alvin_tsf says:

    now i know i’m really messed up…bec 2 books that helped me get back to God was Knowing God and Abba’s Child and apparently i did not find these contradictory…so what am i? and i listen to U2 a lot…

  38. Love this post iMonk. Great stuff indeed. Had me laughing my @$$ off.

  39. Neville K. says:

    Anders Branderrud, thank you for posting on the Netzarim. (Interesting that whereas iMonk dislikes “the Law”; you celebrate the Torah.)

    I see that you have also posted on a Taiwanese expat forum http://www.forumosa.com/taiwan/viewtopic.php?f=121&t=73575&p=909895&hilit=netzarim#p909895 as well as for the Landover Baptist Church http://www.landoverbaptist.net/showthread.php?t=15643

    Do you live in Taiwan, or did you find that site through some sort of algorithm? In any case, I hope to enroll in your Kavruta program someday–looks interesting.

  40. Dave138 says:

    “if your reading list consists primarily of Stanley Hauerwas, Henri Nouwen, N. T. Wright, Stan Grenz, Dallas Willard, Brennan Manning, Jim Wallis, Frederick Buechner, David Bosch, John Howard Yoder, Wendell Berry, Nancy Murphy, John Franke, Walter Winks and Lesslie Newbigin…and your sparring partners include D. A. Carson, John Calvin, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, and Wayne Grudem”

    Um… guilty as charged.

    Ancient future? Is he really lumping Webber is with McLaren and Pagitt? Were the AnteNicean Fathers “Emergent”?

    • Dave138, it is true to say that the Ante-Nicean Fathers were concerned with “… poverty,…, imperialism, war-mongering,… consumerism, … and oppression” and it is indisputable that they had been to churches with candles (and maybe even prayer labyrinths?) 🙂

  41. The Guy from Knoxville says:

    I really enjoyed both versions – emergent and reformed and is a pretty good description of each and always enjoy the humor of these kind of posts. We need the relief of a good laugh from time to time.
    I will have to admit that there are two words in the reformed that always give me the shivers everytime I hear them – Seeker Sensitive and Relevant……. when I see those words under “X” church’s name I generally run as far away from it as I can – the rest I can live with but those two words strike fear. On the flip side the words Open and Affirming. All these words when applied to churches usually mean the respecitve churches have compromised themselves to the point of
    irrelevance – one tosses anything and everything of tradition (including those divisive old coot seniors) and solid scriptural teaching/preaching then questioning why the foundation is crumbling while the other tries to maintain tradition while blessing every form of deviance not even knowing that God’s presence departed long ago. This is insanity folks – WTH has happned to us??

  42. The Guy from Knoxville says:

    BTW, I thought this was great, I get those little rants going through my head from time to time and yes I know the TRs have issues with the Seeker-Sensitive and Relevant churches – I don’t care for them either though I don’t buy into (by any means) everything in the reformed anymore than I do the emergant – there are things in both that I like and things I dislike which seems to follow the trend of most of the responses to this post and the one that inspired it. This place is really neat and you can express, for the most part, without being whacked to pieces for your particular thought or opinion even if, like me, you don’t make sense trying to do it.

  43. To those who would claim that DeYoung’s list was merely a bit of fun-poking satire, not to be taken seriously as an over-generalization, I’d ask how you resolve that idea with this other quote from the same book:

    “… when people endorse one another’s book and speak at the same conferences and write on the same blogs, there is something of a discernible movement afoot.”

    Translation: You can’t complain about over-generalization about emergents because there is no over-generalization about emergents. I have declared it so.

    If DeYoung’s list had stood alone, I would’ve written it off as a bit of fun-poking. But when it’s paired with drek like this, it casts a LOT of doubt on the light-heartedness with which it was allegedly born.

    • Bob Sacamento says:

      Having read the book myself, I can confidently state that you are taking both the satire piece and this quote out of context. DeYoung simply did not mean what you say he meant. If you haven’t read the book, read it. If you have read it, try to represent it fairly, please.

      I can’t keep this up anymore. If anyone hasn’t read Why We’re not Emergent, please just understand that you haven’t learned a thing about the book from the negative comments in this thread. If you’re interested in what DeYoung might be saying, please go to the source.

      My part in this is done.

      Peace.

    • I’ve also read Why We’re Not Emergent and can highly recommend it. This one DeYoung quote was meant to be humorous.

      How is saying “… when people endorse one another’s book and speak at the same conferences and write on the same blogs, there is something of a discernible movement afoot” considered as “drek”? A group of thinkers, speakers and theologians are all meeting together, writing together, speaking together, and trying to advocate a certain point of view together (even if that point of view is that there shouldn’t be only one right point of view). How is that insulting?

      The “you’re emergent if” paragraph was funny and the “you’re reformed if” paragraph was funny. If you think that’s offensive then never ever read any of Douglas Wilson and co. Why is being a Christian even more reason to be thinskinned? Oh no! They’re making fun of me again!

      Somebody call the waahmbulance.

      • How is saying “… when people endorse one another’s book and speak at the same conferences and write on the same blogs, there is something of a discernible movement afoot” considered as “drek”?

        OK, let’s break it down.

        * “endorse one another’s book” — Oh, puhleeeeeze. Does anyone with even a modicum of personal honesty think that book endorsements have any real value?
        * “speak at the same conferences” — Two people occupying the same physical space within a 72-hour period are somehow aligned theologically? So when a Hindu has a doctor’s appt right before me, does mean that I lose my salvation?
        * “write on the same blogs” — You’re really going to try to closely associate people that write on the same blog on the personal blog of the proprietor of the BHT? 😉

        You’re right. It’s not drek — it’s laughable baloney. I was trying to be nice. Thanks for correcting me.

        How is that insulting? ….. If you think that’s offensive

        Never said either. Please stop over-generalizing. Oh wait, I can’t ask that. DeYoung said there isn’t any.

        • This is fairly puzzling to me. I’m unable to follow what you think is blisterlingly obviously.

          * “endorse one another’s book” — Oh, puhleeeeeze. Does anyone with even a modicum of personal honesty think that book endorsements have any real value?

          “Value” is a weird way to put it. But sure, book endorsements have meaning. Which depends on precisely what the endorsements say.

          If you see a group of people who regularly endorse each others books, you think it’s “drek” to perceive any kind of commonality between them?

          * “speak at the same conferences” — Two people occupying the same physical space within a 72-hour period are somehow aligned theologically? So when a Hindu has a doctor’s appt right before me, does mean that I lose my salvation?

          What?

          Your religion has nothing to do with your decision to go to the doctor, so no. Occupying the same physical space has nothing to do with your philosophy/religion/ideology/theology, so no. Speaking at a conference? Yeah, that has something to do with ideology. The inference you can draw depends on the themes of the conferences.

          “Aligned theologically” might be too strong. But “there’s something of a discernible movement”? That’s “drek”?

          Your comments really don’t help me understand where you’re coming from with this.

          For that matter, your “translation” of his quote–“You can’t complain about over-generalization about emergents because there is no over-generalization about emergents. I have declared it so.”–seems rather deliberately obtuse. How does “There’s something of a movement afoot” translate to “it’s impossible to overgeneralize”?

          It’s as though, in your mind, there’s no difference between “It’s possible to make some generalizations” and “It’s impossible to overgeneralize”.

          • DeYoung was merely saying that it is not a coincidence that Brian McLaren, Tony Jones, Doug Pagitt, Rob Bell and Co. all endorse/recommend each other’s books, teach together at the same conferences, write for the same publications, etc. That, of course, doesn’t mean they’d agree with each other on everything. It does mean they agree with each other on something.

            Contrary to what you seem to be arguing, what books you endorse, for whom you choose to speak, and where you choose to write all mean something about your point of view.

            The fact that DeYoung made this simple point has NOTHING whatsoever to do with whether he meant his “you’re emergent if” list innocently in a humorous sense, or instead meant it to be deadly serious.

            So what on earth are you trying to say about DeYoung?

      • Hep me, I’m bein’ persecuted! Somebody’s sayin’ somethin’ mean to me! Thankfully, satire is meant to be biting. Take it as what it is, poking fun at what needs to poked fun at.

        • Sigh. Sometimes, it’s just amazing the assumptions that are made.

          Never did I complain one bit about DeYoung’s list. I questioned the idea that it was intended to be fun-poking satire, given the greater context of the book.

          As long as I’m in a myth-dispelling mode, let me knock out a couple more that I’d imagine a few folks are having. I’m not Emergent. I am Reformed. (And not just b/c the list here fits me a lot better. 😉 )

          • I’m both emergent and Reformed apparently according to the two lists. I fit well into both, though I lean Reformed. I guess I’m a walking contradiction. That’s cool with me. My comment about being persecuted was in response to a prevalent attitude that calls any criticism persecution. I didn’t intend to assume anything about you. Sorry if I did. 🙂 I do wonder though if you’re saying that DeYoung wasn’t intending it to be satire b/c of the larger context, and I agree that Kevin has an edge to him, how is that not a criticism/complaint? Am I getting it right?

  44. Wow, lol, I guess I really am reformed. I can live with that.

  45. Can someone link me to where the emergents had a similar reaction to DeYoung’s piece?