Apologetics Index

Emerging Church – Footnotes

  1. All Scripture references in this material are from the New American Standard Bible.
  2. See David Dockery, “The Challenge of Postmodernism” in The Challenge of Postmodernism. ed. David Dockery (Grand Rapids, Michigan: BridgePoint Books, 2001), 13. Dockery points out that from Schleiermacher to existentialism, there has been a progressive severing of faith from knowledge, reason, and morality. Consequently, I prefer Thomas Oden’s term “ultramodernism” to “postmodernism,” but will use the commonly accepted term.
  3. Stanley J. Grenz and John R. Franke, Beyond Foundationalism: Shaping Theology in a Postmodern Context. (Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster John Knox Press, 2001) 21-22
  4. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines epistemology as “the study or a theory of the nature and grounds of knowledge especially with reference to its limits and validity.”
  5. Modern thought is considered to have originated with the enlightenment.
  6. Douglas Groothuis, “Truth Defined and Defended” in Reclaiming the Center: Confronting Evangelical Accommodation in Postmodern Times. eds. Millard Erickson, Paul Helseth, and Justin Taylor (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Books, 2004), 65.
  7. Ibid. 68
  8. Justin Taylor, “An Introduction to Postconservative Evangelicalism and the Rest of This Book” in Reclaiming the Center: Confronting Evangelical Accommodation in Postmodern Times. eds. Millard Erickson, Paul Helseth, and Justin Taylor (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Books, 2004), 31.
  9. As moral relativism has become an increasingly natural part of postmodernity, culture’s collective conscience has become increasingly seared.
  10. “Ahistorical” refers to the timeless nature of truth. Believers in ahistorical truth maintain that 2+2=4, for example, is the very same truth in the 21st century that it was in the first century. The authors of Scripture consistently presume this posture toward truth and postmoderns consistently reject it.
  11. Our object must be to communicate the timeless gospel message into the culture we address. Emergent methodology is to redefine traditional terms, enabling them to communicate to postmoderns a message which fits their presuppositions but which does not originate from God. When this is done, the effect is that rather than the Church evangelizing postmodern culture, postmodern culture has successfully converted the Church.
  12. Brian D. McLaren, A Generous Orthodoxy (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing, 2004) 260, 262, 264.
  13. See R. Scott Smith, Truth and the New Kind of Christian (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Books, 2005), 107-140.
  14. D. A. Carson, Becoming Conversant with the Emergent Church: Understanding a Movement and its Implications (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing, 2005), 105.
  15. Brian D. McLaren, A New Kind of Christian: A Tale of Two Friends on a Spiritual Journey (San Fransisco, California: Jossey-Bass, 2001), 52.
  16. Ibid. 53. McLaren and others do sometimes claim a supreme place for Scripture in the Church. They do not, however, claim that Scripture should have this place because it is the objectively-true, revealed Word of God. Instead, they grant the Bible a revered status because of the place it holds in the Christian community.
  17. “Generous orthodoxy” is a term originally coined by Hans Frei that has been used by several emergent authors and popularized by Brian McLaren.
  18. A young woman on staff at an emergent church complained to me that she was made to feel she was a second rate Christian because she did not drink, use profanities, or watch questionable movies. While it is important for Christians to remember that in ourselves we are not better than others, it makes us practically indistinguishable from the world to deliberately engage in questionable activities to supposedly make a point. As my son Ryan says, “A day without sunshine is like night.”
  19. Other than two of the more conservative “emerging” sites the only emergent website I have found with a statement of faith is Bill Dahl’s The Porpoise Diving Life. It consists of a lengthy account of the story of his ministry, with the only propositional statement being “We believe God is alive.” Dahl does not explain how he may have deconstructed the terms “believe,” “God,” and “alive.” [This footnote was edited on Aug. 8, 2006]
  20. Robert E. Webber, Ancient-Future Faith: Rethinking Evangelicalism for a Postmodern World (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Books, 1999), 79.
  21. The church must have a prophetic voice in every culture, speaking from God to the people. The message the Holy Spirit honors and uses is the countercultural, prophetic message of faith in the gospel and repentance toward God.
  22. See reviews of McLaren’s books at the following sites:
    http://whatsallthisthen.info/ANewKindofChristian.pdf PDF file
    http://whatsallthisthen.info/AGenerousOrthodoxy.pdf PDF file
    http://whatsallthisthen.info/ChurchontheOtherSide.pdf PDF file


  23. See reviews of Chalke’s book at the following sites:

  24. Evangelicals have long needed exhortations to humility in their attitude toward the world. Many such exhortations have come from within Evangelicalism, however, and I believe the emergent view of humility goes too far in highlighting Christian failings and in declining to proclaim dogma to the world or call sinners to repentance.
  25. An example of this would be one blogger’s comment that Mary is “part of the trinity.” This display of poor theological and mathematical skills was rejected by other emergents on the blog.
  26. While I have not referenced other quotations in this section, this one seems so outrageous it demands to be referenced. It comes from page 17 of Hauerwas’ book, Unleashing the Scripture. (Nashville, Tennessee: Abingdon Press, 1993).
  27. In English, “that” would refer to “faith.” The Greek is a little more complex here. “That” (touto) is nueter, not feminine (taute). It therefore refers neither to pistis (faith – feminine) nor to charis (grace – feminine) by themselves, but to the entire act of being saved by grace through faith. Paul thus indicates the divine origin of the faith that God imparts to us.
  28. I include this quotation and the one prior to it by Schaeffer because they help refute the emergent accusation that all Evangelicals approach evangelism as a fight to be won through verbal sparring.


David Kowalski is an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God. He has authored a number of articles, including two in the “Encyclopedia of Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianity,” published by Berkshire Publishing.


© Copyright 2006 by David Kowalski. All rights reserved. Links to this post are encouraged. Do not repost or republish without permission. Posted at Apologetics Index by permission.

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First published (or major update) on Saturday, July 15, 2006.
Last updated on July 07, 2024.

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