Excellent workshop with Tony Jones about his new book, “The New Christians: Dispatches from the Emergent Frontier.” (It seems that he neglected to bring copies of the book to sell at the conference, so I’m linking to his site where you can find out how to order it.) He’s a passionate man with a lot of wisdom. He’s also pretty controversial in many circles…and I tend to agree with him on 90% of the things we discussed. I’m not sure what that means for me, so I just hope that stake-burnings for heretics aren’t making a comeback.
Here are the notes I took…more reflections later on…
Structure of the Book
Chapter 1 – Landscape of American Protestantism, and how the Emergent movement fits
Chapter 2 – Biography of Emergent Village
Chapters 3, 4, 5 — Theology & Philosophy of the Emergent movement
Chapter 6 – Profiles of 4 churches (including Jacob’s Well)
“Residential seminary is a dead model, and we need to move beyond it.”
“I don’t think we should use the word ‘sin anymore – we should used the word ‘f****d’.” — Mark Driscoll
Reason for Writing the Book
– Converting Protestantism
– “Emergent is one of the few hopes for the future of American Protestantism”
– Tried to write like a columnist (kinda like Thomas Friedman, NY Times)
People to talk to about how to work within Protestant denominations
MONEY QUOTE #1:
“Lutherans don’t live out their notion of ‘priesthood of all believers’ because pastors have to say the magic words over the magic bread and the magic juice. It’s not only non-Biblical, it’s gnostic!”
Conversation Between TJ and me:
Tony – It’s important for church members to establish a relationship with their pastor. This requires a pastor to stay put for a while and make real connections with people.
Erik – What happens when the pastor leaves?
Tony – Their pastors will not leave these communities anytime soon.
Erik – What happens when they retire or die?
Tony – These churches do not think that they should exist 30 years from now. We’re not about building institutions. The church is for the people in a particular time and space. It will look very different for the next generations. It’s our job to allow that to happen.
Scriptural Foundation for the above argument:
Mount of Transfiguration when Peter says, “let’s build a church here”…and Jesus doesn’t even give Peter the time of day. It’s the only time in Mark’s gospel that Jesus is called upon directly, but provides no response.
“Churches are often times mission-minded until they build a big new building. Their ministry shifts from outreach to trying to fill the building.”
MONEY QUOTE #2
“The guardians / caretakers / practitioners of orthodoxy in our Christian life is the Holy Spirit; NOT clergy, Robert’s Rules of Order, and institutional bureaucracy. It’s not Biblical to abdicate power to people or a system. Divesting power is what we’re called to do when we make disciples. Power should reside in the local iteration of the Church.”