I‘m part of the new Origins Project. Take a look and think about participating.
Scot, This group describes itself as commited to the Lausanne Covenant, which I admit to knowing very little about. But when I follow that link, the covenant includes something that sounds a lot like a strict view of inerrancy. In particular, it says: We affirm the divine inspiration, truthfulness and authority of both Old and New Testament Scriptures in their entirety as the only written word of God, without error in all that it affirms, and the only infallible rule of faith and practice. This also contains language similar to what North Park’ Evangelical Covenant denomination says about the authority of scripture (perhaps it is even more strict than the Ev. Cov. statement). For all sorts of reasons, traditional views of inerrancy makes me very nervous. I accept people who buy into them, but I don’t but into them, and don’t like being excluded from groups based on my views on these issues. I could also say (perhaps this is a more accuracte description of my views) that inerrancy seeks to answer the wrong questions. I’ve only begun reading Blue Parakeet, but its my interpretation that a strict inerrancy might make you nervous too, in part because it answers the wrong questions. Maybe I’m not reading this statement correctly, but “truthfullness . . . in their entirety” and “without error in all that it affirms” sound to me like I couldn’t participate in this project if I think, for example, that there are discrepencies in the gospels (i.e., to which disciples and where did Jesus appear to first appear after the resurrection?, and many questions like that), even if I affirm a strong view of the historical nature and authority of scripture. To me, those sorts of questions of inerrancy aren’t really relevant to how I practice my faith, and requiring that sort of affirmation isn’t necessary. For me, this goes to some of the Third Way, who is in, who is out sorts of discussions on this blog the past few weeks. I perceive it as a non-Third Way type of approach. What am I missing? Your thoughts would be much appreciated, because this is an important issue to me. Thanks.
Sorry, No. 1 is me.
Scot, Wow. I think it sounds great. Count me in!!!
Eric, Such statements make me nervous as well – because of differences in interpretation. As this group seems to be for people “in ministry” in some fashion – I am not so worried here as I’m not the kind of person they are looking to join in. But – I find this statement in general OK, along the lines that I think about scripture. I do think that the scriptures are inspired, truthful, and authoritative. I think that they are our only written word of God – other books or confessions are not on par with scripture. I don’t think that I can dump Esther, 2 Peter, Jude or Revelation – but have to take the whole thing. I can’t privilege Romans 8 over Hebrews 6 or vice versa. I also think that they are our only infallible rule for faith and practice, although they must be interpreted through the power of the Spirit. And I think that they are without error in all that they affirm. But here is where we get in trouble – I think that it is clear that they do not and are not intended to affirm the number of women at the tomb, to whom Jesus appeared first after the resurrection, the last supper as passover or the day before passover, that Jeremiah quoted Zechariah as claimed in Mt 27:9, the age of the earth, the nature of the flood, the lifespans of the first people or the number of people killed in each battle in Joshua or other historical books. Our misinterpretation and misunderstanding causes us to think of scripture as something other than it is, than is intended by God. We have to let scripture be our guide in determining what it “affirms.” And of course this is where we will always have conflict and where we ust rely on the Spirit.
Eric, The exact relationship to the LC is not yet determined. We want to have a common theological “centered set” though and the LC’s emphasis on theology in a missional mode attracts us to it. Furthermore, I’m not so sure the LC’s statement on Scripture is as narrow and restrictive as some might think. When one gets into “affirms” one raises the question of “intent” and that entails “interpretation” etc.. We affirm the primacy of Scripture as God’s Word.
Thanks Scot and RJS. If you want a centered set, why not use the Nicene Creed (or a similar creed), and invite anyone who shares your mission (which I do)? Another example of my concern with the LC is Section 15, which adopts a view of the end times many don’t share. I think Christ will return, but the discussion of false prophets and the Antichrist involve a specific view of Revelation that I think is reasonably debatable. As for the view of scripture, I had a long talk with an Evangelical Covenant pastor in my community about what this sort of statement of biblical authority is intended to mean, and he adopts the sort of view I am suggesting. At a minimum, I think the statement is unnecessary and potentially divisive. RJS — as for whether this is intended for people who are “in ministry,” my view is that we all — laypersons and others — share the same mission, and are all in ministry. I’m a layperson, but I want in! (But I can’t sign on to the LC, which seems to be a precondition).
Sorry again — No. 6 is me.
I have to agree with Eric. As one who is beginning the process of ordination, I would love to be engaged in creative church and evangelism with many like yourself and Dan, but the LC is EXACTLY like any other generic Evangelical “statement of faith” out there, which I could not possibly sign up for. In fact, it is exactly why I left my home denomination, against what I would have liked to do. What happens when someone connected with Origins takes a particular stance on homosexuality, or heck, the non-historicity of certain books? Whatever happened to Nicene orthodoxy in Evangelicalism and why is it not good enough?
Eric, I don’t see that #15 demands any particular view of Revelation other than that there will be a second coming and that we cannot build utopia on earth. I see it as pretty vague and denying a “man powered” mission to bring the Kingdom of God. Although I do think that there are terms which some interpret with a great deal of specificity in eschatological schemes – but they are still terms from Revelation itself. And yes, we are all in ministry – involved in the mission of God, but I still see this as a group for “professionals” or those trained for ministry – although perhaps Scot or someone will correct me if I am wrong.
RJS, One view of Revelation, which makes some sense to me, is that the beast, false prophet, Antichrist etc. were coded language for Rome, the Emperor, etc. at the time of John, not what the end times will be like for us. (I should add that people who agree with this view usually don’t deny that Revelation 21 & 22 are an indication of our future). The LC seems to take a position on this issue by discussing an Antichrist and false prophets at or before the second coming, and its a position I wouldn’t sign on to.
If you want a centered set, why not use the Nicene Creed (or a similar creed), and invite anyone who shares your mission (which I do)? Whatever happened to Nicene orthodoxy in Evangelicalism and why is it not good enough? A problem, IMO, with using the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed (if one wants to use its more complete and most familiar form – i.e., including mention of the divinity of the Holy Spirit) is that to confess it really should mean accepting and affirming it as understood by its authors (just like we should accept what the authors of Scripture meant by what they wrote and not twist it to create a Jesus or a meaning of resurrection or a redefinition of sin, hell, etc., of our own imagination). And I think most so-called “Evangelicals” (a poor and somewhat useless term, IMO, a la D. G. Hart’s Deconstructing Evangelicalims) should honestly balk at affirming belief in “one holy, catholic and apostolic church” and “one baptism for the remission of sins” as believed and confessed by the Catholic Bishops (“Catholic” as in before the East-West split) who wrote it. I.e., if you don’t affirm and practice a hierarchical episcopal form of church government, or don’t believe in baptismal regeneration and baptism as the way one’s sins are washed away, you shouldn’t and couldn’t affirm or confess the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed.
Very very cool! I’m looking forward to learning more.
Hey Scot – Sorry if this seems like a dumb or rude question, but what is the point of the “Origins Project?” I’ll be honest, what I see are a lot of well-known pastors and speakers who are forming some type of online “community.”There are a lot of these communities around – missional tribe is another one that I saw for the first time this week. But I don’t really get what they are doing or how they help every day people. Yeah, it’s cool to “connect” with people around the world, but if I don’t really know you, and you don’t really know me, how cool is it really? I guess I’d rather get to know people in my town. I have to admit that I have a weakness for blogs, online communities, and technology. I carry my iPod touch with me everywhere, checking the latest facebook updates, etc. But I feel like I can get so caught up with attaching more labels, communities and names to my blog-profile and facebook, twitter and myspace status updates, that I become even more disconnected from the people that are actually around me. I guess I just see many new groups popping up online, different speakers and authors promoting them, and it feels like a popularity contest. Sorry my first post on your blog (that I read all the time and love) is negative, but maybe you can explain how you see something like the origins project helping someone like me, a Christian high school Bible teacher in Ohio?
Eric (#10) You’re right – it does seem to take a postion on this, and I would probably have reservations as well if the intent is to pin down the interpretation like this. However, I do agree with the point that affirms that we cannot (do not) establish the Kingdom of God on earth – we are in a now, but not yet mode. I also agree with “Your Name” #11 – that there are some things in the Nicene creed that are a bit troublesome if one goes back to original intent. Even the Apostle’s Creed – which does not have the one baptism clause, does have the holy catholic church. Lately I’ve been reading the epistles of Cyprian (ca. 250) and it is clear that although there is not a Roman hierarchy, there is a united church and the bishops were convinced that God would not save those to whom they denied communion. The community of the united church was essential. It is interesting that he wanted to act with mercy in some cases – because if the church denied communion the person was irrevocably damned – but reasoned that God would judge man’s heart aright and condemn the man who was not sincere in His faith and repentance even if the bishop admitted him into communion. One can go back to Tertullian – (Against Praxeus) where he relates this rule of faith where neither one baptism for remission of sins or one holy catholic church is invoked.
We, however, as we indeed always have done … believe that there is one only God, but under the following dispensation, or οἰκονομία , as it is called, that this one only God has also a Son, His Word, who proceeded from Himself, by whom all things were made, and without whom nothing was made. Him we believe to have been sent by the Father into the virgin, and to have been born of her – being both Man and God, the Son of Man and the Son of God, and to have been called by the name of Jesus Christ; we believe Him to have suffered, died, and been buried, according to the Scriptures, and, after He had been raised again by the Father and taken back to heaven, to be sitting at the right hand of the Father, and that He will come to judge the quick and the dead; who sent also from heaven from the Father, according to His own promise, the Holy Ghost, the Paraclete,the sanctifier of the faith of those who believe in the Father, and in the Son, and in the Holy Ghost. That this rule of faith has come down to us from the beginning of the gospel, even before any of the older heretics,…
Ooops! I’m “Your Name” #11. (You can’t have too many “Eric”s, can you?) I see I also mistyped “Evangelicalism” when citing Hart’s book title.
Jesse, The reason for The Origins Project is stated on the page. Sorry to be so brief, but it is stated right there. On the Nicene Creed … we’re evangelicals and took a missional evangelical statement, one with a history and one that fit the impulses of our vision and dream. We’re not framing a doctrinal statement on which to build a universal church but framing ourselves around the missional work of evangelicals in the 20th Century. Nor is framing a doctrinal statement the point of the Origins Project. Our work will be missional evangelism rooted in such a set of beliefs. So, again, the focus of Origins will be the missional evangelistic work itself — meetings, resources, support, workshops, conferences, books, etc — rather than a doctrinal statement. I hope that is now clear.
Scot, My sense is that many see this “Origins” project as being somewhat, a reaction, or, perhaps better put, counter-point, to what Emergent is, or has become. In other words, it seems that while many progressive evangelicals were somewhat happy with being loosely associated with “emergent” and the “emerging church” that this is no longer the case. To what extent would you agree that this is part of what’s going on – even in a kind of officially unstated way?
Darren, Dan and I are committed to missional evangelism and we wanted to work together with that end in view.
Lots of concern for getting theological statements right in the thread. How have ‘Origins’ members demonstrated a real life and consistent commitment to the poor and social justice? Orthodoxy–particularly in a post modern context–can be hard to judge from words alone. Orthopraxy, in my experience, can be an easier read at times. What have you guys done practically for poor people? I’d guess some readers who might be interested in Origins will ask that question.
Based on the people listed on the Origins website, I’m pretty sure orthopraxy/helping poor people, etc. will be important for this group, Tom. My comment re: theology does not mean to suggest that the Origins group should define itself based on theology. Quite the opposite, my concern was that the group seemed to suggest the people involved needed to affirm certain doctrines (contained in the Lausanne Covenant) to participate. But Scot’s comments seem to explain that the connection with that Covenant isn’t defined yet, and that they were more affirming the missional evangelical approach of the document, rather than specific doctrines, which satisfies my concern. I keep wanting to suggest other framing documents (i.e., to ask why they didn’t use the Ancient Evangelical Future Call as a centering document instead), but the Origins group has people who (1) know far more than I do, (2) put their faith into action in ways I never have, and (3) are very trustworthy, from my perspective, so I think I should just watch and learn. This looks like a great group.
Scot- I had the same question as Darren (#17), and frankly I don’t think your response (#18) was straight-forward. I think I share the sentiment – a disappointment really – of a few readers of this blog that when we saw this group being formed it raised an eyebrow. It seems so – I don’t know which word is best – “non-emergent”, “un-emergent” or “anti-emergent.” The only thing I could figure is that the “heat was on” you, Dan, and Erwin (I’m not that familiar with the rest – apologies), and that this group was formed in an effort to create distance with emergent village, and, in effect, “get out of the kitchen.” Maybe I’m way off base, and if so, I apologize, but that’s how I see it. Still love your blog. Still love your books, Still love those of you forming this thing, but at the end of the day, I’m a little saddened by it.
Hi Tom, This is Dan Kimball – and you are asking good questions and they are very answerable. If you look at who so far is involved in Origins project, you will see Rick McKinley on the Creative Team who was one of the founders of the Advent Conspiracy which now impacts several thousand churches and has raised literally millions of dollars for needs in Africa through Living Water. Also, I can say all of our churches are involved either in Advent Conspiracy or involved in various ministries to help those in need. I just read last week on Mark Batterson’s blog who is on the team, that in his church they just gave $51,880 towards (I quote him here) “That includes 305 goats for families in Ethiopia; 1517 bricks to build an orphanage in Uganda; 4 huts for widows in Malawi; and scholarships for 29 girls in Thailand to get their High School diploma.” Anyway, one reason we also liked the Lausanne Covenant is that is stresses social justice as part of mission. Thanks for asking the question and hope that helps! Scot is answering the questions so well, but wanted to chime in as I know what is happening in the various churches from those involved so far. Dan
Eric, Although I like talking about creeds and faith – I think that the kind of detail we have discussed here goes way beyond intent. It doesn’t seem as though the intent is to define allowed interpretation of Revelation or Genesis. The intent is to give some guidance on the intended direction of the group – radical primacy of scripture, orthodox faith, missional focus that includes evangelism and service (social action). I hope that this initial call for interest brings in a broader diversity of people to be included in the creative team. It disturbs me that the team is: Dan Kimball Josh Fox Dave Gibbons John Park Erwin McManus Eric Bryant Mark Batterson Margaret Feinberg Naeem Fazal Rick McKinley Scot McKnight Skye Jethani The ethnic diversity is great – and the people are all outstanding as far as I can tell. But the gender diversity is pitiful and inadequate and frustrating. Margret Feinberg is well suited – but no more representative of half our population than any of the men listed would be of the other half. If the creative team putting things together is not diverse in this fashion the community will not be either. And there is no way to be less blunt.
It seems is this is another project where it will be all intellectualism from its creative team, and no missional action. This frustrates me. There is a lot of talk and discussion about doing the work of Jesus but not enough actual doing.
Tchr, Despite my reservations above, “all intellectualism” is the one thing I am not worried about. I think that the intent is and the result will be action – missional action and missional evangelism.
I am surprised at the push-back on this project. Good goals (missional, evangelism, etc…), with a more descriptive theological foundation, from a group with a proven track record of “Jesus Creed” type motives. One may not agree 100% with everything about it, but it is easy to see that there is far, far more good here than bad. I signed up weeks ago and am looking forward to further updates. I also hope to see a conference soon for the eastern U.S.
Sorry to jump back in and be stubborn if this is clear to everyone else, but I did read the website (two months ago when Dan Kimball introduced it, and then again last night), and both times I thought, “What is this?” I read it again today, and I still don’t get it. The website says it is a “New community” that is forming; a group of people who want to dream and work for the gospel together and not alone, and missionally-minded people who are doing different things but with the same goal. But what does that mean? What’s the point? How will this project serve or fill a gap in a way that all of the many other social-web-networking-conferencing-webinaring stuff don’t already do? I agree with Darren #17. Since Dan Kimball introduced it shortly after the buzz over the use of the word emerging/ent, and the emphasis on doctrine and primacy of Scripture, it seems to be a reaction to Emergent/Village. It seems to me, IMO, that it will serve as a defining name or title, so people can say, “I’m with the Origins Project.” (perhaps indirectly meaning, not Emergent) But is this really what we need? More groups, titles, definitions, sub-sects, etc.? Even on this blog people are disagreeing over the use and connection with the LC. It feels tiresome to me. There are some big names on the Origins Project’s site, and I really (really) admire, respect and appreciate the men behind those names. But this project is confusing me.
Thanks for these comments and the feedback; it is always good to hear the concerns. Yes, there are lots of networks available and we know The Origins Project is not for everyone. I do want you to know, though, that hundreds have already signed on to the Origins Project and we have barely begun. We are very encouraged by the response so far.
Hello again! RJS – Thank you for your very understandable concern and comment. As you noticed it is a very diverse group. In terms of females as you are asking about, The Creative Team is not entirely formed yet and the names so far were friends whom we have been talking about this. Something you need to know is that each of us are part of local church leadership teams and communities and females very much involved in leadership and shaping our churches. So our churches are part of this with many females and the names on the list are representing many others. Tchr – Thanks for expressing your comment too. Ironically it is wanting to be a community taking action is exactly what is drawing this group together. And as I commented earlier (please check that) you can easily see that action is not void in our churches from those so far on the Creative Team. Rick founded Advent Conspiracy and from knowing the other churches involved, that is one concern that you won’t have to worry about with this community! Jesse – We are just in the very beginning stages of this. We have another meeting in a few weeks and will be shaping more of it as we go along and as we get input – but bottom-line what is driving this is our common passion around evangelism. There are networks like Willow Creek, and church planting networks – but for those of us who have already church planted it is energizing to be around others with this same passion. When I get to talk to others and hear stories in their churches about people who did not know Jesus before putting faith in Him, it energizes me. When I visit other churches and see baptisms and hear the stories of those who did not know Jesus putting trusting in the cross and believing in Jesus it is thrilling and this carries me along to stay on mission and being encouraged in this way. So the sharing of stories, ideas, what God is doing in different places and in different kinds of churches will be what this is about. And of course, with those like Scot in this community talking about the theology of everything. I know that I get so encouraged from others, and that is what is behind all this to be encouraging and building realtionships with those with the same passion. It doesn’t just happen on it’s own and developing networks or communities accelerate people who wouldn’t normally get to meet one another, to do so. I will post some on my blog soon, but I wish you could be reading all the comments and reasons people are saying when they fill out the little sign-up for email updates form. As Scot as said, we have barely done anything to get the word out about it yet, but have literally hundreds signing up and their words are so encouraging as to why they are. So for many, it is striking a needed chord which I am assuming is the same reason I know myself, Scot and the others are even doing this. The body of Christ is very diverse, and diversity doesn’t mean division. So this is for those who feel the desire to be fueled and energized around evangelism/mission together. There are many wonderful networks and communities out there, and on The Creative Team several have other networks they are involved with or leading too. We are kicking it off, so to speak, at Catalyst WestCoast which happens in April http://www.catalystwestcoast.com/ If you go to the Origins Project section, you will see that it is starting with main sessions and labs which will be all about this and by then we will hopefully have a community web site and announce future gatherings together we are figuring out now. This will grow and extend as people are giving input and whatever the best way to encourage each other as we share and discover and explore evangelism and mission today- that is what will develop. Anyway, that’s a little more and I think over the next several months we will be able to more clearly articulate more specifics. We are in listening, praying, thinking and initial planning mode now. So that is why all the comments from people are so helpful who are sharing as they sign up for updates (that we soon will start sending out!). Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Dan
I loved this line, “Ancient Text. Present Context. Future Textures.”
I went over to Dan’s blog to get more info about what the Origins group/project plans to do, and I was suprised — Dan’s comment says that the Origis group is “committed to the importance of doctrines like in the . . . . Lausanne Covenant,” and that you “are in alignment about the things within that.” Then the comments of others on that blog seemed to be of the nature “yes, we need to be more careful with our doctrine” (not an exact quote on this latter part — I am paraphrasing my intepretation of several comments). I feel like this is different from what is suggested above about Origins. And it is more in line with what I initially was afraid of — i.e., that there is a doctrinal litmus test, it is important, and it is embodied in the Lausanne Covenant. Let me give some more background. I consider myself evangelical. I have a very high view of the authority of scripture (i.e., similar to N.T. Wright’s book on that subject). I consider myself missional (as the term has been used by this group), and agree with the emphasis on evangelism. But I can’t honestly sign on to everything in the Lausanne Covenant. Two of several concerns I have are outlined above. It was written in the 70’s, and seems like a traditional strict evangelical statement of faith from that period. I just went through a very painful experience looking for a church, and finding that all of the evangelical churches in my community required members to sign on to statements of faith like those above. So I’m barred from becoming a member of any evangelical church in my community. This is very, very painfaul. My question — is there no room in your community for me? And others like me? Like I said above, I have a lot of respect for the people in this group, I share their mission, and I am confident God will use this group. By why the strict, narrow doctrinal litmus test? How is that a Third Way?
No. 31 is me. (I keep having problems with the system on this — sorry).