Mapping Emerging

Mapping Emerging February 19, 2008

Did you see this chart by Michael Patton here?
What are your comments? Where would you put these folks? (Yes, we all have our opinions about charts, and Patton has already revised his. He also has a newer post on the ethos of emerging.)

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  • I think it reveals a lot about Patton’s own biases that he puts “Evangelicalism” squarely over the center of “Orthodox Christianity”.
    I thought part of the idea of the emerging church is that we are trying to get past these kind of linear dichotomies?
    Though if we were going to accept the terms of this chart, then perhaps there ought to be a narrow slice where “Emerging” and “Fundamentalism” overlap, so that we could put Mark Driscoll there.

  • it seems to me that Mark Driscoll is the really hard one to place here: because in lots of ways you would send him over to the left handside. And I’m not sure that “more emerging” or “less emerging” is really quantifiable, at least not in a linear sense. Because of exactly the reasons that Michael presents – for some emerging will be about politics, others about theology and others about church form.
    But it’s interesting 🙂

  • art

    N. T. Wright is emerging?
    I would put Carson more towards the ‘Fundamentalism’ side (based on his book The Gagging of God, among others) and place McLaren completely in the ‘Emergent’ area. But then again, I don’t know. Like Geoff pointed out, there are some things were some of these men would fall in different areas based on the issues at hand.
    What a hard thing to do!

  • Patton’s second “Ethos” post is a better description than this one I think. There he talks about it as simply an openness to questioning – whether of doctrine, worship styles, institutional structures, etc. The more I think about it, the more I agree that this is the key characteristic of the EC. To be emerging one must value the questions and give others the freedom to question too. It’s not really about where exactly one lands with the answers, whether “conservative” or “liberal”, but rather about the freedom to question in the first place, and the commitment to be in conversation with others about them.

  • I thought it was quite a perceptive chart. You can tell a lot about a church by looking at the books they sell on their bookstall. I’ve yet to see a church selling both John MacArthur and Brian McLaren books. The authors you see will tell you whereabouts on the scale they lie.
    As for Patten putting evangelicalism right at the centre of Orthodox Christianity, at least he is being honest rather than offering some kind of faux generosity. After all, everyone on that list thinks they should be considered orthodox don’t they? I’m sure that Mark Driscoll would find himself only at the very edge of the circle of orthodoxy that John MacArthur might draw, and John MacArthur would perhaps be at the very edge of a circle that N T Wright might draw.

  • VanSkaamper

    I’m sure that Mark Driscoll would find himself only at the very edge of the circle of orthodoxy that John MacArthur might draw
    John MacArthur: He himself was not the circle; he came only as a witness to the circle.

  • “John MacArthur: He himself was not the circle; he came only as a witness to the circle.”

  • Ben

    Ugh – labels.

  • I think labels are useful, Ben–they help us make sense of the world. Frankly, I agree with Mark–it’s good that Patton was honest about where he thought the centre of Christianity is. Frankly, I agree with this chart’s conception, although of course it could be endlessly nuanced.

  • Rick

    I agree with Ben #9. Patton’s whole series up to today needs to be read to understand where he is coming from. His goal of showing the diversity of the emerging church is a worthy one.

  • Personally, I’m not sure whether a linear arrangement really helps to define where the emerging church is at – for me emergence is somthing more than simply positioning myself between evangelical and liberal in some kind of compromise position. I don’t know…

  • To one and all,
    It is nice and all to speak about not having categories and a linear arrangement, and I’m aware of emerging’s desire to transcend such categories.
    Problem is that once one brings in a category like theological orthodoxy then it is impossible not to have a spectrum of some sort, or at least views. For instance, Tony — who sometimes talks like getting beyond — has a book called the “new” Christians which, by its structure, means there are at least some “old” Christians.
    We may be trying to get beyond that in relationships with other Christians, but when one enters into that relationship some theological category, we have “yes, no, maybe, etc.” and it is unavoidable.
    Yes, this chart of Patton’s does not say it all; but it useful to ask where folks stand on such things as orthodoxy.

  • bob

    Hmmm. A couple of thoughts.
    I love how Driscoll is a bit closer to the line between orhodoxy and not than Carson. Based on what? His potty mouth? Certainly not on anything doctrinal, right?
    And while I would place Spencer outside the bounds of orthodoxy (by his own admission), I think it’s silly to place Tony Jones there- again, based on what? Who he hangs around with?
    Doug and Brian admittedly straddle that line in their experimental, boundary-pushing way…

  • John MacArthur – Literally LOL!! Loved it. I will be thinking about that all day!
    It is interesting to one person’s perspective and then to question our own perspective. It is also interesting to such modern categorization to try to communicate one’s understanding. However, to be useful more than discussion, it needs to have specific criteria (in other words this is what orthodoxy is: 1., 2., etc) and much more in-depth research to support the assertions (as a tool of modernity).
    As for me, if it were my chart, I would make the orthodoxy line less of a line and more of a gray area that fades as one gets toward the extreme ends of the spectrum with both fundamentalism and emergent extremes being (at least partially) orthodox. I find it hard to label a person as unorthodox who might agree with me on most theological points except (to use Patton’s example) judgment (at either end).
    In Christ,
    Mark Eb.

  • Where are the women?

  • fjs

    Re the Map: is there a new purity code emerging within Evangelicalism… Impure Doctrine, Pure doctrine, More Pure and Most Pure? Someone is determining who is pure and who is impure?
    It feels so legalistic. One must use the correct semantical field to articulate faith, one must have one’s doctrinal views all in a line, maybe one is saved and washed clean from sin by correct beliefs (as they see it) instead of faith in Christ and the work of Christ.
    I too am surprised by NT Wright’s placement. I respect his commitment to the meaning of scrpture located in Historical context… His way reveals is a bigger commitment to truth than the plain reading method of interpretation which can be tainted also with a whole host of presuppositions.

  • fjs

    sonja, I guess we women still don’t exist.

  • T

    My first reaction to this was being disturbed that a man other than Jesus, even a respected one, is placed at the dead center of a circle labeled “Orthodox Christianity”. Ironically, if one puts Jesus at the center of that circle–and presumably his ways of ministering and the priorities of his teaching along with him, one can immediately think of several differences between Jesus and Carson concerning their favorite subjects, their specific articulations, their patterns of ministry, and so on. Which is precisely the point. Certainly some of those differences are justified based on uniqueness of call, context and other reasons, which of course begs the question at hand.
    You’d think from the current circle though, that one could read the teachings (and observe the ministry) of Carson as the guide to orthodoxy itself. That is really unfortunate, even as good a man as he may be. I hope that Patton means that Jesus teachings and example of ministry are implied to be at the center and that he’d argue Carson most closely follows those, but is that what he means? I don’t know. I fear that this circle represents what I hate to see (but frequently do) in discussions of “orthodoxy”–we don’t use Jesus’ life, ministry and teachings as the plumb line, we use some favorite interpreter of him, which leads to deeper divisions in Christ’s body, just as it did in Corinth and continues to do today.
    We may not like all the people who have legitimate arguments of being “in” when we use Jesus’ teachings and example as the defining center of orthodoxy, and we may not like that putting Jesus at the center messes with our theology and puts more mystery in the whole issue of orthodoxy than we’d like, but let’s at least be express about the plumb line and let the cornerstone be the cornerstone if we’re going to measure who “lines up.”

  • Rick

    For those upset about the discussion of orthodoxy in regards to the chart, please be sure to read Patton’s post on the topic:
    It helps explain his use of the term and where he is coming from in relating it to the chart.

  • sonja #15 and fjs #17 – my thoughts exactly.
    I find this map disturbing in its exclusive nature, i.e., every individual listed comes from the white, Protestant, male strand of Christianity, even those listed “outside Orthodoxy.”
    OK, before all the white males throw tomatoes at me, hear me out. If one defines orthodoxy, theology, and mission using these limited parameters without including different ethnicities, gender, and Orthodoxies, then we still have a long way to go. The Church is much larger than this. For some, these may in fact be representative of these groups, and others would be marginal. Yet, I contend that there are many other reputable voices that speak and influence the Church. Perhaps they aren’t featured in Christianity Today on a regular basis or sell as many books.
    Patton’s map represents a narrow paradigm, one that I find seriously deficient and incomplete. Perhaps he could do one more revision.

  • looks like someone took a multi-dimensional relationship and reduced it to a single dimension.
    when you do so – you can make any thing fit between any other thing – provided you look from the right perspective.
    one can only hope they don’t actually see this as a one dimensional / issue / continuum.

  • fjs

    I get what Patton is saying… I agree that there is a range of essential orthodoxy involving the diety of Christ, the trinity, the person and work of the Spirit, salvation etc…etc I am disturbed by the placement of DA Carson in the center and Driscoll nearer the center. Driscoll nearer the center. it is telling for me because of his position about masculinity. He is also more reformed in theology. Is the center reformed/calvinistic thought?
    One of the distinctions Patton makes is language about the scripture… ranging from inspired and authoritive to inerrent–with inerrent being considered the most orthodox position on his chart. That is a very messy distinction fraught with a whole host of controversial issues ranging from a literal six day creation to the definition about the humanity and role of women.
    That is why I think that real orthodoxy has more to do with one group’s sense of pure doctrine and interpretation of scripture than what the church has agreed upon regarding major truths of the faith.
    I think it has a lot to do with the grasping for power and the “right” and “authority” to define what is real for everyone. When one creates a doctrine of scripture as the most, best, inerrent, one can claim the power to define what is true and decide who is in and who is out. It is that claim that bothers me and creates the rub.
    But alas, this has been goinging on for many centuries… because being “in line” with God carries serious cultural power.

  • Tim

    These charts of evangelicalism are rendered more complex if one acknowledges the thinking of the conservative Paul Hiebert (died in 2007 but previously Professor of Missiology and Anthropology at TEDS). He draws a distinction on epistemological grounds. Some are what he regards as naive realists/idealists and other are critical realists. But this distinction does not adhere to a specific place on the spectrum. One might be conservative evangelical and a naive realists/idealist or a critical realist. One might be a liberal and naive realists/idealist or a critical realist. Yet a naive realist/idealist evangelical like Don Carson (a colleague of Hiebert) would probably regard critical realism as typical of something more liberal (and john MacArthur certainly would).Hiebert himself was a critical realist. Perhaps it is true to say that “emergent” forms of evangelicalism are more likely to be critical realist than naive realist but I suggest that this is only a likelihood – many drawn to the emergent church may still be “naive”. NTW is explicitly critical realist and it is this rather than his specific views on specific theological topics that make his suspect in the eyes of his critics.

  • i’m with sonja. where the ladies at?

  • Certianly not all charts are perfect, and I am not going to try to defend mine as inspired or anything, but one thing that should be realized is what I said in the paragraph after the chart:
    “Don’t misunderstand the chart. D.A. Carson represents the best of traditional Evangelical scholarship. But being in the middle does not necessarily mean that I believe that he is more orthodox than Dan Kimball. He is just less emerging!”
    The chart is to be seen in relation to the emerging issue. Being in the center does not mean that one is in the center or orthodoxy, but illustrates ones trajectory with regards to the emerging issues. My thoughts are that John MacArthur is further away from emerging than Don Carson. Scot’s position towards the right does not mean I consider him less orthodox, just more emerging!
    Hope that makes sense. Thanks for your comments. I read them with great interest.
    Thanks Scot.

  • I would put Ruth Tucker more toward the emerging issue even though she has never stated such. I just know her well enough to think that it is a good placement. There, there is the woman 🙂

  • I get what is being attempted here but what this chart emphasizes for me once again is that “Emerging Church” is really more accurately “Emerging Evangelicalism.” What is emerging in the historic Mainline world (i.e., National Council of Churches club) and Roman Catholicism are apparently “off the chart.” As long as “emerging church” has Evangelicalism alone as its reference point it will continue to be captive to Evangelicalism.

  • josh.. in orthodoxy, the ladies are silent, with hats on.
    but seriously. why the need to draw these lines?

  • Michael, I agree with you, this comparison can and should be done in relation to the broader Christian community, but my purpose here was for an evangelical audience, demonstating that to be emerging does not necessarily mean not to be evangelical. Hope that makes sense.

  • fjs

    Thanks, C Michael Patton, I appreciate the clarification… on emerging verses othordox. I was feeling anxious.
    It hits me rather hard personally–just because I am woman, in ministry, have a submit to one another marriage, I am often seen as unsaved and unbelieving in the Bible. In other words… defined as OUT! It hurts.

  • B-W

    I’m just amused that the chart puts the most “conservative” voices on the left-hand side of the chart, and the “liberal” ones on the right….

  • David, I guess they are silent. Since you answered josh who was echoing me. I asked the original question. That’s really funny. Or not.

  • I understand the need to create boxes and draw lines, but I’m with others here in that it gets a little disturbing when “orthodoxy” is only applied to “those who look think and act like me.”

  • Rick

    In regards to the women, other than perhaps Karen Ward and Sally Morgenthaler, I don’t know if there is a widely known “emerging” female leader that could be put on the chart. Patton apparently was selecting well-known examples. Perhaps that says more about gaps and openings in the emerging church than it does about Patton.
    Fis #22- perhaps power has played a role in some attempts to define orthodoxy, but it does a disservice to the early church fathers (and church leaders since then) to use that sweeping generalization and assume that it was the major factor. As tough as the issue of orthodoxy can be at times, it still is an important element of the church. It is that same problem with sweeping generalizations that Patton is trying to warn against in regards to opinions about the emerging church.

  • At first I thought Sonja was quoting from the movie ‘Blazing Saddles’ and I was going to correct her. It’s “Where are all the WHITE women?” Of course, then this raises another question about diversity? And I don’t fault Patton or anyone in particular, but diversity continues to be an issue in the evangelical world, emerging world, and church in general, doesn’t it?

  • Sonja,
    Your response #32 made me laugh and cry.
    Patton’s chart is an interesting one that tries to give appropriate acknowledgment to the movement or flow of ideas and perspectives taking into consideration a tendency to think in terms of labels and neat lines.
    It would be nice to see a place for women who may be less widely known but just as important in shaping the direction and voice of each thread of the church. I feel pretty strongly that when given the opportunity to bring those marginalized voices to the table (even in charts and discussions like this), it’s important to do so.
    As for being silent and wearing hats, at least I am saved through childbirth, right?

  • What’s most interesting me is that there is not one representative of what I take to be hard-core fundamentalism on the chart, which falls beyond the bounds of orthodoxy for Patton. Why is this, I wonder?

  • Rick

    Erik #36-
    Because, as Patton stated, the chart is about the emerging church (and its relationship with evangelicals). It is not about fundamentalism.

  • #29 Michael
    “…but my purpose here was for an evangelical audience, demonstating that to be emerging does not necessarily mean not to be evangelical…”
    Fair nuf. I think it is a useful tool. It’s just that it gave me such a wonderful opportunity to grind my axe. 🙂

  • Well, Kathy, you and I may be so blessed. But we have sisters who are not. What shall they do? (written with my tongue so far in my cheek, you may not have understood my words 😉 )

  • I posted this earlier and havent seen it listed…sorry if this comes through twice…
    I wonder why Donald Miller is listed as “more emergent” than Mark Driscoll. Miller attends Imago Dei in Portland, which is an Acts 29 church – teaching the same restrictive stuff about women that Driscoll does. Miller’s placement doesnt make sense to me.

  • Mapping Emerging?!?! |

    […] This is a chart I that Scott McKnight posted, via Michael Patton for discussion: […]

  • ron

    Patton says: “To be a heretic in the proper sense means that you deny a doctrine that has been held by all Christians of all time, everywhere. To be orthodox in a proper sense means that you affirm all the essential doctrines of historic Christianity.”
    Using this restrictive/expansive criterion, the likelihood of there being any such doctrines is surely zero. But if there were even one such doctrine to which “all” Christians “of all time” adhered, it is impossible to know what that doctrine would be (Barna started polling nearly two thousand years too late).
    Using the definition given, the best judgment is that orthodoxy is in fact an empty set — there are no orthodox doctrines. Perhaps a comforting corollary would be that since there is nothing to be a heretic from, there are no heretics either.

  • fjs

    Rick, you misunderstood me.
    Not seeking to dis… the early church fathers. Not dissing othodoxy in general. I see orthodoxy as the core major doctrines of the faith… Diety of Christ, person and work of the Spirit, Trinity, Salvation through faith in Christ…etc. etc…
    I am disturbed not by the humble use of scripture to seek the truth about God. I am disturbed by how scripture is sometimes used to claim a certain purity and power over others. And it is used that way as you acknowledge…

  • misc pastor

    I think John MacArthur might be too far to the right. He should be outside the middle circle.
    Mark #5 – there are unfortunately more than plenty of churches that sell the Big Mac’s “books.”

  • Sonja! My eyes failed me, certainly. I am deeply sorry for silencing you!
    And Kathy, isn’t god wonderful that he provided such a salvation method for women.. and sometimes they don’t even die during their salvation!

  • Rick

    Fis #44-
    My bad then. I do appreciate your emphasis on Scripture, core doctrines (orthodoxy), and humility.

  • Sonja,
    You made my day!
    Dan H., you’re right about gender and ethnic/racial diversity. I’m thankful someone else was willing to pick up that drum. I get tired.
    I’d also agree with Bob #13. Can someone explain M. Driscoll’s placement?

  • @ 37 AND 38 Rick you are right that the discussion is in regard to emergent. However Erik’s point sounds loudly in my ear. The church almost never points the finger in the opposite direction and I really would like to know why.

  • T

    Michael (Patton),
    Thanks for commenting here (and for doing so so graciously). I, for one, appreciate the clarification.
    There can be some value to comparing fundamental evangelicalism to “emerging” evangelicalism and whatever is in between the two. My essential concern, though, remains (even though you’re thankfully not arguing Carson is the epitome of orthodoxy ;)) because you didn’t just compare these camps to themselves, but also compared each to “orthodoxy”. Your definitions of orthodoxy are, I admit, widely held and respected definitions, and they get used all the time in discussions like these. I personally wish we would use a different and more wholistic and biblically warranted Standard to measure ourselves as “orthodox.” I personally believe the particular essentials you listed. But as you mentioned, these lists of historical, traditional “essentials” generally come from some specific part of the church, at some point in history, failing to live out or even acknowledge a particular piece of reality, the Truth, as chiefly revealed by Jesus. Arguments then insued about whether that particular piece is really important or not, and, if so, it got added to a list of “essentials”. These lists of beliefs are, therefore, better used as history of past battles over particular pieces of reality than as wholistically accurate pictures of orthodoxy. Let’s not measure men by lists. Let’s measure men by the Man. The lists, at best, present a very partial picture of orthodoxy. Whereas, the best wholistic picture we have of who God really is and wants to say and do is in Jesus’ teachings and actions. And of course, there are very good scriptural reasons to believe that God will use Jesus own life and teachings as the means of measuring everything that needs measuring.
    If we use Jesus’ life itself as our primary plumb line for orthodoxy, not just for specific content but also for priority of content and of action, I suggest we will get a different picture of orthodoxy than if we use the list of past battles. At a minimum, many of our current ‘majors’ will become ‘minors’ and vice-versa.
    It is good to know the history of past battles, but we should not get those confused with the wholistic Standard which God has given, by which God leads and will judge all. Way too often the lists serve to replace the Man.

  • VanSkaamper

    #49: I suspect that Driscoll’s placement has less to do with substance than style. Mars Hill is young, hip, urban, culturally aware and streetwise…yet Reformed. Mark preaches in jeans, and often wears a necklace and/or leather wrist adornment.
    It’s difficult for me to imagine D.A. Carson and John MacArthur in jeans (let alone in a necklace and wristband). I’m not suggesting they don’t own them, only that it’s difficult for me to imagine them wearing them and feeling at home.

  • Phil

    Where’s Rob Bell? 🙂

  • It’s interesting to me that there is only one person represented as a fundamentalist. I recognize it’s a map describing the emerging church movement, but so much of the movement is a reaction to fundamentalism that it seems like a big part of the story of emergent is left out. These categories and leaders did not emerge out of nothing.
    I think a more helpful chart would be one with a spectrum of epistemologies. In my opinion, that tells a more honest and complete picture of what is going on. Too often we use Scripture and Jesus and the categories in the chart to reinforce our chosen epistemologies and not the other way around. That’s part of what I see on the chart.

  • VanSkaamper,
    I agree….I think Driscoll is mostly a fundamentalist in cooler clothes

  • Rick

    Kathy #48-
    As an early player in the rise of the emerging church, Driscoll is associated with it. He is theologically more in line with Carson, but certainly his ministry is directed towards and culturally closer to the emerging line/postmodernism.

  • I am fairly certain that Mark Driscoll would not want to be viewed as being so close to Brian McLaren since he has gone out of his way to carefully point out the distance in their positions.

  • VanSkaamper,
    That’s what I was afraid of.
    I’ll ask Bethany to make a leather wrist adornment for you at camp so you can gain some more street cred as an “emerging” now that you own jeans. I don’t know about the necklace though. (It has to be beaded, right? She usually works in glass and crystals.)

  • Sheryl (#20), how many Orthodoxies are there???
    For far left (right), I submit Carl McIntyre, Bob Jones, G. Campbell Morgan, Lewis Sperry Chafer, Augustine of Hippo,…

  • Rick

    This quote from Patton may help explain Driscoll’s placement:
    “Relation to culture (forgive the stereotyping):
    1. Fundamentalists: Separate from culture.
    2. Evangelicals: Change the culture.
    3. Emergers: We are the culture.
    Remember the song ”We are the world”? Well emergers sing “We are the culture.” In this case, biblically minded emergers would distinguish between the apostle John’s definition of “world” (i.e. “Love not the world nor the things in the world”) from “culture.” The “world” is the expressions of a sin infected culture. Emergers would see God’s work in the culture just as much (if not more these days) as in the church. Therefore, they are one more step away from the fundamentalist philosophy of radical separation.”

  • Rick,
    I dont know if I buy that. Just becasue someone says they are the culture, does not mean they are. In general, women have more opportunities outside of a church like Driscoll’s than they do inside. I dont think that kind of thinking represents the wider culture.

  • VanSkaamper

    #50: I wouldn’t label Driscoll as Fundamentalist. I’d put him in the Conservative/Neo-Calvinist/Evangelical/Chris Rock bucket…which is a larger bucket than the others simply because of the labeling requirements.

  • VanSkaamper

    #41: Don Miller is probably where he is because of his more emergent politics…his books read quite a bit differently than Driscoll’s.

  • VanSkaamper,
    Miller might read differently than Driscoll, but his theology is the same on issues that many emergents care about. Isnt it?
    Miller would not beleive women can lead, just like Driscoll.

  • VanSkaamper

    I don’t claim to know a lot about Don Miller’s theology, so I’ll defer to someone else who does.
    I’m also not sure that one’s opinion on the Biblical teaching on women as pastors and elders is the sole defining criterion of what makes one a fundamentalist or evangelical…it seems to me that there’s not a uniformity of opinion on that issue amongst evangelicals…I admit to being well out of touch with fundamentalists…

  • I think this is quite silly and I must respectfully disagree with you Scot, I don’t see a need for anything like this. Drawing very literal lines, or circles, just can’t be good for any of us.

  • VanSkaamper,
    I agree, it is not the only issue. But in my opinion, it is a very telling one. If a person cant make any movement on that one, I wont toss them out of the emergent camp totally….but there has to be some kind of difference from evangelicals or fundamentalists, doesnt there? If an emergent doesnt want to make progress on that issue, what other issue affecting marginalized voices are they dealing with?

  • Rick

    Jennifer #60-
    You may be right. I am just proposing an idea on perhaps why Patton placed him there. Patton would have to give his specific reason. I do think that although Driscoll may have a theological difference of opinion with much of culture in regards to some of the roles of women (and probably other cultural norms as well), he certainly does not advocate a “fundamentalist philosophy of radical separation.”

  • Rick

    T #50-
    I think Dan Kimball’s view of core essentials is helpful in regards to this.

  • To clarify my comment (#65), I disagree with Scot’s comment (#12), saying that something like this is “useful.” I disagree. I do not think it is useful. I think it is destructive. To draw a circle labeled “orthodox,” and to put some people’s names in it and others outside of it, serves no constructive purpose.
    Just my opinion.

  • Jeff i

    The whole idea that he decides who these lines of whose in and out is interesting. I think it reveals as much about him as it does about what he thinks of these people.

  • You all are great. I hope to clarify some of this in the next post. I will attempt to demonstrate how, from the way I see things, emergers can emerge in five ways.
    Emerging Socially
    Emerging Theologically
    Emerging Epistemologically
    Emerging Politically
    Emerging Ecclesiologically
    If one is emerging in one of these areas, and not in any of the others (like Driscoll), they often still refer to themselves as emergers, even if they are really not that emerging.
    In each of these areas there are ways that one can emerge outside of what has been the accepted “orthodox” position with regards to the particular area (e.g. issue of abortion=politically/sociologically or the docrine of hell=theologically or denial of truth=epistomologically).
    With this, there may be a sine quo non of emerging (which may be my last post), but hopefully it demonstates the diversity not only of emergers, but how one can “emerge.”
    The ethos of the emerging generation expresses itself in a variety of ways. One can be conservative in one area and no so in another.
    Hope that helps some to see where I am going.

  • VanSkaamper

    but there has to be some kind of difference from evangelicals or fundamentalists, doesnt there? If an emergent doesnt want to make progress on that issue, what other issue affecting marginalized voices are they dealing with?
    One would think that affixing different labels on individuals, churches, and movements that there would have to be defining differences otherwise the different labels don’t have any significance.
    If an emergent doesnt want to make progress on that issue, what other issue affecting marginalized voices are they dealing with?
    My take on the emergent movement is that it’s primarily defined by the nature of its engagement with the culture (as previously mentioned in another post). Beyond that I don’t know what qualifies one as emergent vs. merely evangelical.
    If one doesn’t view women in leadership as progress, but rather straying from Biblical teaching, does that mean they have to turn in any marketing materials that use the word Emergent to describe themselves? Maybe it does.

  • VanSkaamper

    It’s difficult to be comfortable with labels if your epistemology rejects objective meaning…but for those of us who still believe in determinate meaning, then analyzing, categorizing, and labeling are worthy enterprises as long as it’s fair and constructive.
    I think that Michael’s description of his emerging categories of identifiers is useful in explaining his emerging labeling, and will emerge as useful in the event of an emergency.

  • Tom Hein

    “Emerging Socially
    Emerging Theologically
    Emerging Epistemologically
    Emerging Politically
    Emerging Ecclesiologically”…. good point C. Michael Patton.
    As a linear thinking evangelical I found the chart somewhat helpful in organizing my thinking. The biggest emerging issue for most of us D.A. Carson type evangeicals has to do with theological/biblical/hermeneutical issues. Then, maybe a little bit with epistemological issues. We generally recognize that the social, political, and ecclesiological spectrums have much wider latitude for freedom.

  • Bob #58 – by Orthodoxies, I am referring to the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox traditions. They don’t even have a place at the table in Patton’s discussion. I am not petitioning for wishy-washy theology or an Unitarian approach to Orthodoxy, but these other faith traditions have much to offer yet they are absent from the discussion.
    Patton does clarify his thinking (#29) by stating that his target audience is evangelicals. I still have a problem with the lack of diversity. For me, the map exposes evangelical’s tendency of exclusiveness in the name of “Orthodoxy” and right doctrine. Michael W. Kruse (#27) touches on this issue. Those people Patton places outside Orthodoxy are there because the Evangelical gatekeepers view them that way. (D. A. Carson is well-known for his criticism of the Emerging “movement” and theology.)
    Driscoll may have been in on the cusp of the Emerging wave, but to say that he is closer to McLaren than to MacArthur is a stretch. Patton places him in the Emerging bracket because Driscoll and Mars Hills “is the culture,” but what does that culture look like? Aside from Driscoll’s contemporary dress and church style/format, his theology and church culture are no different than MacArthur or Piper or other fundamentalists.

  • Michael #71, appreciate your posts and clarifications on the issue. I think it’s ironic, and perhaps endemic in the human condition, that you drew up a chart intending to help people not over-generalize, and to see the bigger picture, and were immediately accused of over-generalizing and obscuring the bigger issue with labeling. Excuse me, I should say “evil evil labeling.” 🙂 That seems unfair to you and the spirit of your post. On the other hand, there is some justice to it! My first reaction, on seeing the chart the other day, was “A chart? But that’s so…so modern! You can’t do that!”
    In other words, I’m saying that it is both fair and unfair for labeling/charting/graphing to be criticized. You’re, er, darned either way – which is why I say it may be endemic to the human condition!
    I’ll be interested in reading the post on the five ways – as someone who’s very inspired by emerging/ent thought, but thinks the post-modern/epistemological stuff is not that interesting or helpful – or necessary – to get to the good stuff in emerging/ent.
    Adam #69 – orthodoxy in its origins and its use is intended for exactly what you are critiquing – to define what is in the box and what’s outside it. That was the (or at least “a”) major occupation of the patristic era – defining and clarifying what the right teaching of Jesus was, and what it wasn’t. So I guess I’m asking is, do you critique the whole idea of orthodoxy? Or just its use in this discussion?
    Personally, as someone who grew up in a church that was fighting over beliefs on Scripture, the role of women in leadership, etc., and as my denomination went down a path I couldn’t follow, I found a lot of inspiration and support in exploring ‘orthodoxy’. Since I didn’t trust my denomination anymore, I checked out “orthodoxy” to insure I was grounded in how I read Scripture. Here I’m talking about things like C.S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity, or like Fisher Humphreys’s discusion in chapter one of Thinking About God.
    Recently, the question of “orthodoxy” has reopened for me – in the sense that I thought what I believed was what was beleived “everywhere, at all times, by everyone in the church.” But I was only looking at it through very Protestant eyes, and realize that *most* Christians, at *most* times and in *most* places, have believed things that I don’t, really, about, oh, say apostolic succession (which plays a big role in orthodoxy) or Sacraments. So…what is orthodoxy, and who decides?
    And, as I mentioned in my post about the Claiborne/Cedarville thing – can orthodoxy be separated from orthopraxy? And doesn’t right practice influence our beliefs?

  • VanSkaamper

    #74: Aside from Driscoll’s contemporary dress and church style/format, his theology and church culture are no different than MacArthur or Piper or other fundamentalists.
    I don’t think that’s fully accurate or fair. I’d put Mark closer to Piper, and I don’t think that the culture of his church is similar to MacArthur’s. Mark is definitely theologically conservative, but the engagement with the urban culture is direct, deep, and sincere. There are something things I admire greatly about Mars Hill culture, others not so much. But I think that Mars Hill qualifies as emergent (or perhaps emergent-esque) in the way they actively and directly embrace and interact with the contemporary urban culture.

  • Chris #75 – Thanks for bringing up orthopraxy. Living out our Orthodoxy, whatever stream we follow, and creating a New Culture of faith is the crux of the matter. I think this is something Emergents are purposefully seeking to do.
    VanSkaamper #76 – It is no secret that Driscoll cites Reformed/Calvinist theology as primary influences on his theology and teachings. As a result, that theology and teaching has shaped the culture of the Mars Hill faith community. One example would be the role of women–in leadership in the church and in marriage. A professor in the Seattle area did a study on how a large number of single females dropped out of college after attending Mars Hill (I am trying to find the link to this article). While Driscoll may dress differently than Piper or MacArthur, and the exterior of those in the church might be more colorful, Driscoll’s theology is essentially the same as these two who are in the more Fudamentalist section of Evangelicalism.

  • Michael

    Carson is no fundamental.
    K, thanks, bye.

  • F/u to myself in #75 – I tend to go pretty simply with something like the Apostles’ Creed these days as orthodoxy – but even that has limitations. (What do those phrases in the Creed mean? And Jesus and the Apostles’ never said them, so it’s only an imperfect summation of what they taught. Etc.) I was also taught as a Baptist that this was the reason for backing off from creeds, and uniting around one statement only – “Jesus is Lord.” (Not that I’m saying this is currently true of any particular group of Baptists – just that I was taught in my formative years that was historically Baptist – “we’ll cooperate with anybody that says it”.) That was the baptismal formula for us, too. And I guess, that still remains my “most core” core belief.

  • So, at best, there are three white women and no people of color? Is that the consensus?
    If it is then we must conclude that the emerging church is not even part of the culture. It is at best an eddy, somewhere off to the side, of mostly white men.

  • T

    Rick (#68),
    Thanks for the reference. I appreciate Kimball’s thoughts, but I still think his “core beliefs” are more of a list of the church’s internal and external battles at different points in time than they are a list of those things which were and are the teachings that God was most concerned to reveal and do through Jesus and even the apostles. And more importantly, it is a fundamentally different thing to compare ourselves or others to a list of ideas of any kind than to a person who spoke and acted in certain ways in various contexts.
    I believe in facts and in right teachings. I just don’t think the list that Kimball or most evangelicals use would be the list of “essentials” that one would get if they tried to sort out Jesus’ own “essential” teachings based on his own teachings and conduct. Where on these lists, for example, is the belief that love of God and neighbor are the most important guides to life? Isn’t it at least a little disconcerting that the very “doctrine” (right teaching) that Jesus said was the most important of the entire revelation before him isn’t mentioned in these lists of “essentials”? Or what about the belief that biblical ‘faith’ is defined as that which you trust enough to guide your actions? This is thematic in the gospels, in James, I John, etc. But again, not “essential”? These are just a few examples of what happens when we substitute the history of the church’s various theological struggles for the revelation of God that Jesus’ life is.

  • Eric T

    I don’t actually read/comment here much, but I had to bite on this one. Isn’t it a little ironic that we seem to be both protesting the use of labels and being indignant that certain people do/don’t share the same label as us? If we’re not going to label people, then there should be nothing controversial about what label Driscoll or Miller happen to have applied to them. They can call themselves whatever they want. Its only when you start drawing lines that it matters what side of them people are on.

  • This side of eternity the body of Christ is fragmented. Dare I say that we need both MacArthur on the one end and Kimball on the other?

  • “To be a heretic in the proper sense means that you deny a doctrine that has been held by all Christians of all time, everywhere. To be orthodox in a proper sense means that you affirm all the essential doctrines of historic Christianity.”

    This “Vincentian Canon” definition of orthodoxy falls prey to the “No True Scotsman” fallacy. It becomes impossible to find a Christian who disagrees with whatever you personally think has been believed “everywhere, always, and by all” because whenever you do find a Christian who doesn’t believe one of those things, you simply say that they are not really a Christian because they don’t hold to that doctrine. In this way you exclude any evidence to the contrary, making it a circular argument and a useless criterion.

  • BTW, this diagram would be slightly better if the central circle where simply labeled “evangelicalism” and not “Orthodox Christianity”. It would still be flawed to put them on a narrow linear spectrum like this given the broad diversity of ways in which a person may be emerging, but at least it would be simply comparing the movements to each other and not making pronouncements about who is “in” and “out”.

  • #86 Mike – I agree. you just did a much better job of saying what I was meaning in #65 and #69.

  • VanSkaamper

    #77: While Driscoll may dress differently than Piper or MacArthur, and the exterior of those in the church might be more colorful, Driscoll’s theology is essentially the same as these two who are in the more Fudamentalist section of Evangelicalism.
    I’m not an apologist for Mark Driscoll, I just have some direct experience with him and his church. I take your point that you fear he’s a Calvinist in Shredder’s clothing, but I don’t know what consider criteria for labeling someone a fundamentalist.
    Mark does have a conservative view of Scripture and inspiration to be sure, and his preaching is faithful to that vision. His church strongly supports marriage and families as they understand the Biblical model.
    I can understand how you might view the notion of women dropping out of university to start a family and build a home while their husband works as a kind of crime against humanity or disservice to your understanding of the role of women in the church and in society at large. Fair enough.
    As objectionable as you might find that, though, these families aren’t shipped off to a remote ranch with circled mobile homes with their own private, un-flouridated water supply and home school curriculum libraries. These same families (and the non-familied in the church) are actively plugged into the urban and global ministries of the church, and are actively engaged in challenging and cultivating local culture.
    So I don’t see this as a black and white, binary thing…hence Mr Patton’s intersecting circles in which “purity” is found on the extreme edges.

  • Matt

    Mike, Your assesment of the canon’s usefullness is not quite accurate. If one uses the general councils as what has been believed than it cna be very helpful. All three branches of orthodoxy affirm these councils.

  • Van Skaamper,
    The problem isnt women dropping out of school. That isnt what makes someone a fundamentalist. The problem is that that path is presented as The Godly Path.
    At one point (and maybe now still, I dont know) Mark liked to boast that all the married women of the church with children were stay-at-home-moms. That was clearly “God’s Way”. At another time Mark has said that women who take out student loans are just robbing from their future husbands because he is the one who is going to have to pay off the loan while she is at home raising kids. Its that kind of rigid adherence that causes the word fundamentalist to be brought up.

  • How about this: Jesus is the white background,
    everybody else is inside.
    And the lion shall lay down by the lamb,
    and John MacArthur and Brian McLaren shall
    walk together in the heavenlies while having
    their tears wiped away.

  • VanSkaamper #88 – Wow, I’m surprised at the tone of your comment given your exemplary example recently on the Education issue. And how ironic with the assumptions you make about me simply because of my objections about Mark Driscoll.
    I don’t want to get sidetracked off the original post, but I feel I must respond. I happen to be an educated female who has chosen to work at home and homeschool our three (soon to be four) children. My concern, not a fear, with Driscoll on the issue of women is that they don’t have a choice, which, my friend, is one of the distinct markers of fundamentalism–there is only one correct interpretation of Scripture. This particular issue has significant bearing on that faith communities culture, because it certainly does not reflect the culture of the Seattle area. Seattle is one of the most educated populations in the country. So, how is it that after attending a certain church and hearing a certain theology (a belief that is identical to Fundamentalists such as Piper and MacArthur) that single females decide to quit college?
    To be sure, Mars Hill does some great things, but the issue of this post is about mapping Evangelicalism and the Emerging “movement.” With that in mind, I thought Driscoll should be on the other side of “Orthodoxy” (#86 Mike Clawson-it took us this long in the discussion to make that realization???! It sure would solve a lot of problems many of us have with the map by changing Orthodoxy to Evangelicalism.) by MacArthur.

  • Sadly, this is happening more and more to me, and I continue to offer the same challenge: Will someone please show me where, in print, I have said something that is outside of classic, historic orthodoxy. I may not be evangelical, as it’s been defined over the past 150 years, but I’ve never claimed to be an evangelical. But surely Christian orthodoxy is much broader than modern evangelicalism. Was Augustine orthodox? Luther? Aquinas? Hildegard?

  • VanSkaamper

    #90: I understood what you were saying. But given that criteria (rigid adherence to something believed to be a Biblical teaching), then I daresay anyone on this list that believed in any form of objective Biblical truth would be forced to wear that label. The fact that you and I might find this particular position of Driscoll and Mars Hill to be something ojbectionable and incorrect teaching doesn’t make him a fundie any more than my belief in the Trinity or the atonement as uncompromisable doctrines make me a fundamentalist.
    My point is that there are emergent qualities to the way Mars Hill approaches its relationship with the local community and culture, and the church’s belief that there is such a thing as a Godly way doesn’t change that.
    I’d also point out that Driscoll takes a sometimes unhealthy delight in being provocative, and I’ve observed many instances where the fact his tongue was firmly planted in his cheek has been lost on critics who look for any opportunity to take a shot at him.
    Feel free to stick any label on him you want, but I don’t think “fundamentalist” accurately describes either Driscoll or his church. I think that the reality is more complex than that.

  • Tony, I am truly sorry if I have mislabeled you on the chart (that is the last thing I wanted to do). My problem with many of the Emergent type is not simply that they might deny certain doctrines that are central to the historic orthodox faith, it is simply that they don’t land. The inability to land is why I would place some people outside of historic orthodoxy.
    Hope that makes sense.

  • Michael – it seems a little too easy to say that because you don’t know where someone stands on certain doctrines, that they rest outside of orthodox christian belief.

  • VanSkaamper,
    You are right in a sense – they are not fundamentalists in the truest sense…but they do aspire to a lot of fundamentalist ways, and their beliefs are carried out into the lives of people in fundamentalist ways. I dont have any great proof I can offer to convince you of that (other than what has already been offered and things very similar to it), but it is based on my time as a member of that church.

  • VanSkaamper

    #92: Apologies, Sheryl. I didn’t intend to make you feel caricatured. Sorry if I did.
    My concern, not a fear,
    Point taken…
    …with Driscoll on the issue of women is that they don’t have a choice, which, my friend, is one of the distinct markers of fundamentalism–there is only one correct interpretation of Scripture.
    Well, then you’ll be relieved to know that Mars Hill doesn’t take “only one correct interpretation” position on most issues. They make clear distinctions between “closed hand” and “open hand” beliefs and doctrines. The former are ones on which they take a position that they ask their members to agree with, and the latter is where they embrace a diversity of opinion within the church community.
    It’s also worth remembering that there are plenty of other good churches in Seattle, so the men and women who attend there aren’t forced to stay and obey. They’re there because they want to be.
    I’m not a member of that church (nor would I be accepted as one for reasons I won’t bore you with at present…I would be from the Island of Misfit Neo-Arminian Toys in their eyes).
    This particular issue has significant bearing on that faith communities culture, because it certainly does not reflect the culture of the Seattle area…So, how is it that after attending a certain church and hearing a certain theology (a belief that is identical to Fundamentalists such as Piper and MacArthur) that single females decide to quit college?
    First, I wouldn’t characterize the women I’ve met at Mars Hill as uneducated. The opposite is true. It’s a very highly educated membership. I’ll defer to your research on the stats about female members dropping out, though. The degree to which that is happening is the degree to which women in that body have decided that’s what they want their lives to look like, and I’m sure it’s due to the church’s teaching on the respective roles of men and women in a marriage and family situation.
    Mars Hill is not my personal cup of tea. I have my own issues with the church. But, I do think they deserve credit for the way they interact with the local culture. Given my knowledge of John MacArthur and his church, I don’t see them as very similar at all in the way they go about that.

  • VanSkaamper,
    The “open hand” and “closed hand” issues thing at Mars Hill is a great idea…its just carried out very poorly. No one knows what the closed hand issues are. I have had personal conversation with Mark where he said that it is important not to define them so that the elders can lead on the fly – that they can decide what is open and what is closed as they see fit. I think that kind of leadership is another mark of fundamentalism.

  • VanSkaamper,
    I should add….the open/closed hand issue is really why my family ended up leaving the church. There was no way to predict what was going to be open or closed (obviously, some big doctrinal things were closed, but outside of that…) At least at that time, the rule was basically, if Mark had strong feelings about it, its a closed hand issue. So, when we felt the closed hand around something that should have been an open hand, we couldnt stay.

  • VanSkaamper

    #99: Yes indeed. I’ve had my own negative experiences with the closed hand (or fist) of the Mars Hill leadership, and I’d agree with you that the reality is not as good as it initially sounds.
    That said, I’m not so sure I’d see that as a distinctly fundamentalist trait…any church can have its own form of orthodoxy that it enforces in less than attractive ways. Whether it’s goal is actual control or just ideological purity, I think it’s more of a human thing than a fundamentalist thing. Because I’ve seen some pretty unattractive tactics in some self-consciously “Emergent” congregations as well.

  • VanSkaamper,
    Yes. Point taken 🙂

  • Well, I think you guys are all wrong and I am right.

  • fjs

    #68… re: core beliefs: I live for the day when a woman’s humanity is no longer a controversial issue.

  • VanSkaamper

    #103. As long as you’re in the correct circle, we’re cool with that.

  • Sonja #81,
    emerging discussions, which after all often have social justice themes, often include voices from or references to voices from the 2/3 world. Karen Ward is a women of color and a prominent emerging voice. Also, like Diana Butler Bass, she’s from an Episcopal background, and not from the “Evangelical” side of things, so it makes sense she’d not be mentioned. (Those coming from the mainline churches being part of a Converging/Emerging movement, maybe.) If the chart, or the bloggers, focus on the Evangelical/Emerging relationship, that’s going to tend to focus on white men, because that’s who does most of the talking in evangelical circles. (Sorry for the generalization, all.) But attend any “emerging” conference and you’ll find women and people of color on the platform and leading discussions. The McLaren “Everything Must Change” tour, for example, features Linnea Nilsen and Tracy Howe about as prominently as it does Brian McLaren. Anthony Smith, who writes the blog “musings of a postmodern negro”, was a panelist at the Everything Must Change event in Charlotte. Etc.
    Your criticism still has validity – the bulk of the voices, and the bulk esp. of the published voices, are Euro-American men. But then, the emerging/ent terms were first coined by WASP ministers, so it wasn’t a representative sample to start with.

  • Eugene
    LOLOL! You crack me up.

  • pepy3

    VanSkaamper: I think you’re right…this is the Evangelical Bucket List.

  • Nicholas P. Mitchell

    There are some people in this discussion who have claimed that all labels are bad. Also, as Patton said, there are some who refuse to ‘land’. Can someone offer an explanation of this? Especially in light of the fact that people in our culture who call themselves Christians but deny the Resurrection. Should we not have ‘boundaries’ and should we not ‘land’?

  • Ah, once again, the massive gravitational pull of evangelicalism sucks emergent in… (and I feel for you, TJ)

  • But you have, Michael. You have misrepresented me. And you’ve done so with no references to my work, no footnotes, just a vague comment about how “many” of the “Emergent types” “don’t land.” I don’t even know what that means. Please, expand your two-dimensional diagram. Put yourself on there. And some women. And some historical figures.
    And if you’re going to start labeling people, you’d better use footnotes. Otherwise it seems like you’ve arbitrarily grouped people you agree with in some “orthodoxy” that you determined.

  • #106, Chris … I don’t buy that argument. I know that there are women and people of color speaking and leading and writing. What I don’t know is why we have jump and down to get their names mentioned in equal place with men.
    If Donald Miller is going to get mentioned on that map, then why not Anne LaMott? Why not mention Ruth Tucker, Sally Morgenthaler, and Karen Ward? They’re not strictly Evangelical? Neither is John MacArthur. Let’s not split hairs …
    Why not begin to change … you know … now? It’s a Kingdom issue.

  • Tony, once again, I am sorry if I have misrepresented you. That is not what I want to do at all. Again, sometimes it is not the stand one takes, but the ones they don’t take . . . I don’t really know how to document that. Hopefully my latest post, on the issue will help you understand where I am coming from.
    I am about to read your book Thinking Christian. I promise to read it carefully and change my tenative position if necessary. I will also blog about it.

  • Matt, in #89 said:

    “Mike, Your assesment of the canon’s usefullness is not quite accurate. If one uses the general councils as what has been believed than it cna be very helpful. All three branches of orthodoxy affirm these councils.”

    And what about those who disagreed with the councils? What the councils decided was not believed “everywhere”, “always” or “by all”. It was what was decided on after much debate and disagreement, and not all went along with it.
    What about the Coptic Church for instance? They reject the Chalcedonian Creed. You could say “well they’re not really Christians” because they disagree with “orthodox belief”. But then it becomes circular to define “orthodox belief” as that which is believed “by all”.

  • the differing flavors of emerging « faithmaps blog

    […] Interesting discussion is going on around this Michael Patton chart over at Scot McKnight’s Jesus Creed blog. […]

  • Well, Michael, I didn’t write a book by that title, so it won’t be much help to you. What else have you listened to or read of mine to bring you to the conclusion that I am outside of your “orthodoxy”?

  • Rick

    T #82-
    I agree that orthopraxy must be evident with orthodoxy. The essentials/creeds/orthodoxy should be seen as Scripturally based tools that help us focus on Christ. They are not to be a substitute for Christ Himself, nor for relying on the Holy Spirit as we walk with Him. Unfortunately, throughout history (and up to the present) there have been too many cases of teachings of false gods, false Christs, and false gospels. Therefore the church needed (and still needs) to help clarify certain aspects of the faith in a more simple way.

  • Jacob

    Presuming, of course, that what constitutes “orthodoxy” is precisely defined as the sharp lines indicate.
    What constitutes orthodoxy? Whose orthodoxy?

  • Rick

    Jacob #118-
    Quoting Scot McKnight:
    “Orthodoxy refers to the faith statements of the classical creeds. “Heresy” refers to teachings contrary to those creeds.”
    This was from a 4 part series he did:
    Patton’s similar description, for purpose his chart and series, was explained here:

  • #119 – Surely that should be “What defines Evangelical orthodoxy?”
    Unless you’re willing to define and put Roman Catholics, Methodists, Anglicans, Eastern Orthodox and a host of other worldwide variations of Christianity on the map, then you absolutely have to acknowledge that this is just playing around in one small corner of the Christian world. It’s also even a very US-centric view of the Evangelicals (despite the inclusion of NTW).

  • Nicholas P. Mitchell

    Why don’t you help people like me understand you by giving us a taste of the gospel you preach and how one accepts that gospel?

  • Rick

    You really should check the links. The quote from Scot covers all the ones you mentioned. Both links go into details on what is covered in historic orthodoxy and the subsequent branches of Christianity.

  • Tim, your observation about the late Paul Hiebert and worldview presuppositions is important. It would be interesting to evaluate theological expression based on Hiebert’s epistemological frameworks. Critical realism seems to typify more of the emerging folks.

  • Tony, sorry, I don’t know where I got the name Thinking Christian (I don’t even have ANY book by that name!) It is The New Christians.

  • Brian

    #120 Dave, you make a great point! I was hoping that somewhere in the course of 123 comments I would hear some evidence that acknowledge the narrow definition of orthodoxy that is represented within the Evangelicalism being discussed.
    What is the center of Orthodoxy? If Evangelicals make no attempt to engage and represent our brothers and sisters within the other great streams of historic Christian Tradition–Eastern Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism, than how seriously can we take their claims of orthodoxy?
    I would like to see voices representing a broader spectrum of Christian Tradition added to the chart. I’m curious as to where Patton would place a Thomas Hopko, an Alexander Schmemann, a John Zizioulas (all Eastern Orthodox) in relation to orthodoxy.
    I would say this challenge must be answered by the Emergent movement, of which I am a sympathetic conversation partner.

  • At the root of these discussions are questions of ecclesiology.
    What happens when we uncover conventions of modernity, ubiquitous individualism and rationalist epistemologies?
    If we were to take all these out of the Evangelical ethos, what would be left?

  • VanSkaamper

    After pondering Jennifer and Sheryl’s comments further, I propose that Michael consider a three-dimensional chart that enables the mapping of additional properties such as the imposition or enforcement of doctrinal positions on congregants so that the “my way or the highway” qualities of a church could be added to the overall mix. It seems reasonable to me that this aspect of a church’s way of doing its work should be accounted for…but is it correct to say that enthusiasm for that kind of control is a uniquely fundamentalist quality? I’m not so sure…but it’s an interesting thing to consider.

  • Rick

    Brian #125 and #126-
    Apparently you did not read #119 and #122.

  • Rick,
    Thanks for pointing that out. I think the question still remains…
    Is my relationship to Orthodoxy mediated only through mental ascent, my autonomous individual volition OR is it determined through a relationship within the community that is the repository of Holy Tradition–The Church?
    In other words, how do we delineate between Church and Tradition?
    Within the Evangelical way of framing Church, I see a heavy reliance upon words. What is the (sacramental) center for an Evangelical ecclesiology?
    I hear Tony asking how he has stepped beyond the bounds of the canon of Orthdoxy. I look forward to hearing a response to that question.

  • Rick

    Patton had earlier responded to Tony with a comment that said:
    “My problem with many of the Emergent type is not simply that they might deny certain doctrines that are central to the historic orthodox faith, it is simply that they don’t land. The inability to land is why I would place some people outside of historic orthodoxy.”
    According to one of Patton’s related posts, he defined it as such:
    “In this case, a historically orthodox Christian would be one that believed in these essential elements:
    Deity of Christ
    Doctrine of the Trinity
    The Sovereignty of God
    The historicity of the physical death, burial, and resurrection of Christ
    Hypostatic union (Christ is fully God and fully man)
    The sinfulness of man
    The necessity of the atonement
    Salvation by grace through faith
    The reality of the body of Christ (the catholic [universal] Church)
    The authority of the visible body of Christ
    The inspiration of Scripture
    The canon of Scripture made up of the Old and New Testaments
    The future second coming”
    Or as Scot sums it up:
    “Orthodoxy refers to the faith statements of the classical creeds.”
    Patton goes into further detail on his post for today, especially in his regards to orthodoxy and his meaning of “they don’t land.”
    I can’t speak for him, but I hope this helps.

  • The chart makes sense to me, but maybe should there be TWO charts: one for practice and one for theology? The reason I say this is that I seem to come across a lot of “emerging/emergent” people who walk the evangelical party line when it comes to theology. Or they think they are theologically progressive just because they hold to (or are willing to discuss) a different view of atonement.
    I was puzzled the other day when I listened to the emergent podcast of the AAR discussion and Tony Jones made a dismissive comment about eternal damnation. What puzzled me is that a few months ago, in Youthworker Journal in the “Iron Sharpens Iron” column Tony discussed hell and said he believed in it. Now, do not take this as critical of Tony. I read his books and listen to every recording of his discussions I can and I really enjoy his approach. But which is it? Are we going to really put theological dogma on the table or not? I think we should. I think we must. Or are we just going to light some candles and move couches into the sanctuary?

  • Sonja #112,
    you’ve confused me – which argument don’t you buy? Because I think you agree with both arguments I intended to make, which says I failed to communicate.
    I’d guess you’re objecting to my statement that it “makes sense” to exclude people like Karen Ward and Diana Butler Bass b/c they come from an Episcopal rather than an Evangelical background. Well, honestly I object to it too – I think of both of them as big parts of the Emerging conversation, and daresay most other emerging/ent folks do too – so the chart would be better with them on it. (And Rob Bell, who doesn’t claim an emerging/ent “label” but is associated with it and read by most of us.) What I meant was, it makes sense considering Michael’s perspective as an Evangelical that that’s what he focused on in the chart. So it doesn’t have emerging Episcopalians any more than it has modern/liberal/orthodox Episcopalians. They’re not on his radar particularly. (Michael, my apologies if this stuff is inaccurage – I’m only speculating based on my understanding of what you’ve posted.) I do think that’s a fault in the chart – but I think I’ve already stated (as have so many others) that charting is inherently flawed and reductionist. (And, well, modern.) By the way, Michael, if you see this – your five ways to be emerging seems pretty valid, and if you chart each of these folks on each of those five areas, that would be (still flawed, but) far superior. One other btw, Michael, is that taking into account the limitations of charting, I do think you’re pretty correct in your placements. (I think the suggestion to replace “orthodoxy” with “evangelicalism” would improve it too.)
    Anyway, back to your comments, Sonja – I think we’re pretty close in what we’re saying, actually. So let me restate what I meant to communicate. I made two arguments: one, that contrary to your earlier post #81, the emergent conversation included many more voices than white men, and I named some. The reason I did this is b/c, from your earlier post, I feared you had the impression that emergent was only/primarily men. This has not been my experience, and I didn’t want you or anyone else to believe that it was on the basis of the chart.
    My intention was not to argue with you, but to show things were much more balanced than you’d stated: “So, at best, there are three white women and no people of color?…then we must conclude that the emerging church is not even part of the culture. It is at best an eddy, somewhere off to the side, of mostly white men.” I didn’t want this to be anyone’s impression of the emerging/ent conversation, I don’t believe it’s accurate or fair.
    The second argument I made is that, while things weren’t as bad as all that, your comments still had validity – things could be better. I made a statement that I assume you’d agree with: “Your criticism still has validity – the bulk of the voices, and the bulk esp. of the published voices, are Euro-American men.” The point being that this is a reality, and a less than ideal one. My closing statement was not intended to refute that critique, but to acknowlede that it is valid and deep-rooted. Hence I said “…the emerging/ent terms were first coined by WASP ministers, so it wasn’t a representative sample to start with.” Again, I’m not excusing this phenomenon; I’m acknowledging that it’s there, has been from the start, and while things are not completely unbalanced, they are still not ideal.
    Do you disagree with those points? I am the first person to call for change and egalitarianism, and agree that it’s a kingdom issue. My fear from your post #81 was that you weren’t familiar with the Emerging conversation and were judging it only on the basis of the chart. From what you say in #112, I think I’d misunderstood you; it sounds like you were criticizing the chart more than emergent/ing.

  • Scott Watson

    This schema, in a sense, shows shows how solisistic and ingrown the Evangelical mindset is. Fundamentialst, Evangelical, Emerging, Emergent–they’re all cut from the same cloth in relation to the issues they wrestle with and worldview. The problem is that this betrays any notion of real catholicity, by putting its questions,issues, formulations, etc. into the grist mill of real interaction and self-definitions of those outside of this part of the Christian family.This would lead to a healthier “Protestant Evangelical” family.

  • Scott – my experience is that the emerging side of things has a very healthy catholicity, and is a conversation among folks converging from the post-liberal and post-conservative sides of the theological spectrum. It’s using too big a brush to think that this schema is typical of how emerging folks would describe themselves.

  • Scott Watson

    Chris #134,
    That’s good to hear. In my limited experience I’ve found that in some evangelical circles (in a broad definition), there is a lot of reactionary response to conservative expressions but the worldview,mindset, questions and basic assumptions are still the same or very similar. There tends not be real paradigm shifts.

  • Re: post 130 and Patton’s list: what does “The authority of the visible body of Christ” refer to? Are all of us independent Baptists outside the orthodox circle?

  • Wow…I blink and there’s a run-away post!
    Since Sonja is covering the bases, all I have to say today is that Michael’s comment in #124 about not having a book called “Thinking Christians” made me ROFLOL…as in, hmm, perhaps that’s part of the problem! 8)

  • Christine

    Jennifer #41 – The women that I know who attend Imago Dei are about as far from a Mark Driscoll position as possible. Just because churches are part of the loose Acts 29 affiliation doesn’t mean that they’re all like Mars Hill, thankfully. I don’t think it fair to color Donald Miller with the same brush as you do Mark Driscoll. Let Miller’s writings and speaking stand on their own merits, rather than tie him in to Driscoll, an admittedly polarizing figure. Seems only fair to Miller.

  • Christine,
    But Miller is on record as supporting the idea that women should not lead.
    If the church didnt agree with that stand, they would not be in Acts 29. I am not saying that 100% of the people there buy into it, but that would be the church’s official stand. You can see on the church’s web site that they only use male pastors. (unless it is women’s ministry)

  • I come a bit late to this conversation but ,,,
    I like what “T” said in post # 18 (and # 50) that Jesus should be at the centre of Orthodoxy. Maybe a more telling exercise would be to place Jesus on this chart where you think He would fit!
    The other parameters on the chart (along a vertical axis) should be liberal/conservative (politically) spectrum.

  • Would we have to define who Jesus is or what he did? If so, that might crowd our center. 🙂

  • TheoBlog » Emerging Church – eine Kartografie

    […] Typologien für die Emerging Church werden immer wieder Mal vorgeschlagen (z.B. von Scot McKnight o. Mark Driscoll). Michael Patton von Reclaiming the Mind hat vor einigen Tagen zwei ›Landkarten‹ publiziert, die ein sehr geteiltes Echo finden (vgl. die Diskussion bei Michael Patton, Scot McKnight und dem Emergent Village). […]

  • T

    That’s a good question. In one sense, we could never could finish defining Jesus. In another, we’re given abundant, if not sufficient descriptions and “definitions” of Jesus in the scriptures that challenge us all.
    Your question makes me think of two things: the goal to reform and keep reforming, and something N.T. Wright said: being a disciple of Jesus “necessarily entails doing business with history and . . . history done for all it’s worth will challenge spurious versions of Christianity, including many that think of themselves as orthodox, while sustaining and regenerating a deep and true orthodoxy, surprising and challenging though this will always remain.”
    BTW, your series has inspired me to blog on this issue as well ( Feel free to give me your thoughts. I’ve appreciated your work on this.

  • As I was thinking today about where Jesus would fit, in a semi mystical moment I began to realize that He would actually far surpass the boundaries of the diagram. In His circle there would be empty spaces where nobody currently fits and maybe where no one is currently willing to go (or maybe has ever gone?).
    The mystical part of this is that I imagined I saw Jesus sitting on a bench over in one of these empty spaces not included in the diagram and saying to me “I bet you never imagined I would be here!”
    A little shaking of the categories for me.

  • Tony Jones,
    You can find my response to your comment, #93, on my blog.

  • Tony,
    Specifically, I’ve taken up your challenge and would like to see you respond. I’ve cited two places where I think you have fallen outside of the realm of orthodoxy. One is in the area of epistemology, and the other has to do with your antagonistic disposition.

  • mapping emergent « finitum non capax infiniti

    […] If you haven’t seen this graphic yet, it was done by Michael Patton and much discussed on Jesus Creed. It was Patton’s attempt to visually represent where people usually associated with the emerging church would stand. […]

  • Reclaiming the Mind Ministries » Reactions to the Emerging Post

    […] Jesus Creed (Whole lot of comments. I dialogue a bit there) […]

  • One further thing that I find interesting about the visual presentation of the chart is how ‘liberals’ have been placed on the right and the ‘conservatives’ are placed on the left. Seems like it would be the other way around, don’t you think?

  • jerry

    Very interesting discussion here with Tony and all.
    I read this whole thing as – Tony’s mostly in the emergent circle – but the emergent circle has a great deal of intersection with the “orthodoxy” circle. To me that means – he can accept a lot of what someone (exclusively) in the orthodoxy circle believes (and does) – but they probably can’t accept much of what he believes (and does)
    I think you get concerned when the lines don’t intersect anymore. Tony might be a big concern to John MacArthur (and vice versa).
    To me quoting Tony as saying something about “orthodoxy not existing” as one blogger wrote is to miss the point. “Orthodoxy” does exist to most of the people posting here – but to many, many others – they just want to see Jesus and make connection with Him somehow. That’s one reason why they are emerging …. cut the buff and get to the real stuff. Can Jesus really meet people right where they are?

  • Doug Allen

    The discussion reminds me of one of my favorite poems-
    He drew a circle that shut me out–
    Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
    But Love and I had the wit to win:
    We drew a circle that took him in!
    Edwin Markham 1936

  • Where is the Emerging Church? Where are You? « Triangular Christianity

    […] I found this series very helpful. If you want to read some criticisms of it, read some of the comments on Jesus Creed. But overall, it is well written and very helpful. Posted in Brian’s Blogs, Emerging Church Movement. Tags: Christianity, Emerging Church Movement, Evangelicalism. […]

  • 2 things I found curious about the chart are: (1) it’s backwards – conservatives should be on the RIGHT and liberals on the LEFT, (2) where did the liberals get left off the circular chart with orthodox Christianity – are they off the chart?

  • The Orthodoxy or Lack Thereof of Tony Jones « Allsufficientgrace

    […] The Orthodoxy or Lack Thereof of Tony Jones Posted in Uncategorized by allsufficientgrace on February 28th, 2008 Tony Jones, commenting at Jesus Creed: Sadly, this is happening more and more to me, and I continue to offer the same challenge: Will someone please show me where, in print, I have said something that is outside of classic, historic orthodoxy. I may not be evangelical, as it’s been defined over the past 150 years, but I’ve never claimed to be an evangelical. But surely Christian orthodoxy is much broader than modern evangelicalism. Was Augustine orthodox? Luther? Aquinas? Hildegard?” […]