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healthy and helpful critique

Dan Kimball/Vintage Faith gives kudos to Bob Whitesel and his book Inside the Organic Church for actually visiting “emerging” type churches as research for his book.

This is one thing Whitesel has to say:

Much of the criticism about the emerging organic church has focused upon the worries and reservations that, due to their engagement with postmodern philosophies, organic [emerging] churches may subtly begin to embrace heretical beliefs.

Quite frankly, before I embarked on my journey I had a premonition that I would find a proliferation of unorthodox theology….. I was surprised to find this not be widespread in the emerging organic church. The vast majority of my encounters were with orthodox theology, coupled with denominational predilections. Thus, while the methodology is experimental, entrepreneurial, and inventive, their theology usually follows quite closely orthodox and denominational roots.”

He also expresses some concerns and observations with non orthodox practices or teachings but clearly states that they are the exceptions not the rule.

Well done Bob.

This also brings to mind some of the criticism I have received lately about comments I have made about evangelicalism and/or fundamentalism. I admit that I have, on occasion, presented a caricature of that “group” but by and large, my observations have been from first hand experience - 25+ years of it, over 12 of those years DEEP inside the leadership structure of individual churches and over 5 years of that working with church planting. So, while some might accuse me of painting with a broad stroke, I feel I have a platform of experience from which I speak.

I have also been accused of being angry. There might be something to that, anything is possible, but what’s funny is that I don’t recall experiencing anger about my church experiences. I currently experience frustration at the resistance to change that I see and the unsubstantiated statements against the emerging/progressive church but I have no bad feelings toward my past. In fact, I believe my past is very representative of what the Spirit of God was doing at that time - peppered with human flaws of course (as always) but I don’t think it was “wrong” for that time.

If I speak passionately about or even against certain modern trends in Christianity, it’s not out of anger or bitterness, it’s out of a passionate desire to move forward, building upon the foundation diligently laid for us by our predecessors so we can continue to effectively advance the kingdom.

I think sometimes it’s too easy to analyze someone or a situation and judge passion as anger because then you can dismiss what that person is saying. I have to be just as cautious about this regarding those with whom I disagree.

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