Archive for November, 2010


There are actually three related movements in the so-called “post-modern church,” and all three are very dangerous:

1) The Emerging Church (evangelicals who still hold to at least a few biblical doctrines)

2) The Emergent Church (mainline/liberals who have basically abandoned all biblical doctrines)

The following blog of mine is a very brief summary of the differences between #1 and #2:


3) Emergence Christianity – started around 2005; includes speakers and writers who are basically New Agers, Universalists, and admirers of the Interfaith Movement. Examples are Brian McLaren, Doug Pagitt (a universalist), Phyllis Tickle, etc.

Discernment writer Ken Silva of Apprising Ministries explains how #1 and #2 are “morphing” into #3 – Emergence Christianity:


What’s really scary is that the lines are being blurred very quickly – Emerging Church fans and Emergent Church fans are becoming fans of Emergence Christianity speakers and writers.

What is also very disconcerting, is that many Christians have not even heard of these three movements. Even if they have heard of the three movements, they are not able to define them or differentiate between the three. This, in spite of the fact that the three movements are invading churches, colleges and seminaries in practically every denomination.

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I’m glad to see that the Chris Rosenbaugh/Dan Kimball interview is leading to a number of insightful blogs. Here are the most helpful ones I’ve found so far.

1) Apprising Ministry’s great blog explaining the Chris Rosenbaugh/ Dan Kimball interview and making a number of other points regarding Dan Kimball:


2) A Crosstalk blog entitled “Beware the Bridgers Part 1: Orthodoxy is More Than a Doctrinal Statement.” This episode of the show can be listened to at:


3) BetterThanSacrifice.org has a biblically sound blog that defines and discusses what exactly “orthodoxy” is (as opposed to how the Emerging/Emergent Church defines orthodoxy).  The blog is here:


4) Sola Sisters provides the transcript of a great Facebook conversation directly with Dan Kimball. This is EXCELLENT!! In this conversation, Kimball attempts to explain his endorsement of various contemplative practices:


5) Purpose Drivel refers to a “response to criticisms”, drawn up by a group of Emergent leaders (including Dan Kimball) to explain and defend their views. Check out Purpose Drivel’s link to the entire document. (I feel you should read the Emergents’ responses with a grain of salt – I do not believe they are being honest in their comments.) The blog is at:


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I am once again posting my opinions regarding a highly controversial Emerging Church speaker – Dan Kimball. (I’ve revised this blog post, toning it down just a tad and making a few corrections;  this is in response to some constructive comments from readers. I’m working on wording criticisms more tactfully, and on doing more research to verify facts before posting criticisms.)

In a previous post, I reposted a Crosstalk blog slamming Dan Kimball for being evasive in what he believes, and for not disassociating himself from New Age-ish Emergent/ Emergence speakers.

Now let’s turn to a blog by a fellow blogger, Neil.  In his blog you will read a debate taking place between Kimball’s followers and critics.  (I have provided the link at the bottom of this post.)  The blog deals with the debate over whether Dan Kimball is an “orthodox” evangelical. In the blog referenced below, Neil says:

[Chris Rosebrough has] come to the conclusion that Kimball is a Bible-believing Christian who holds to the uniqueness of Christ, the existence of Hell, the authority of Scripture, a denial of universalism… etc.  And even though Chris and Dan disagree on methodology… they look at each other as brothers in Christ.

[I am not conceding that I agree with Chris Rosebrough’s conclusions – I am just reposting the quote here to show what this furious debate is all about.]

These conclusions by Chris Rosebrough have generated a firestorm of disapproving responses from various Christians on the Internet, particularly within discernment ministries.  One of the most outspoken at this point is Linda Schlueter of Crosstalk, whom I quoted in a previous blog.

Regarding the blog by Neil, referenced below, what I find just as interesting as the blog is the responding comments. The  earlier responses from readers speak favorably of Kimball. But then my wonderful discernment brethren start putting in their two cents’ worth. And, boy, do they jump on Kimball’s positions! (Rightly so, I say.)

To all born again Christians who are concerned about the Truth of the gospel and the attack upon it, I would recommend taking very seriously the criticisms of Kimball. And don’t just take my word for it – research the criticisms of Kimball for yourself.

A few more  thoughts.  The fact that we are debating Dan Kimball shows that many within evangelical churches still wonder where he is coming from. Many born again, biblically sound evangelicals still view Kimball as putting up smoke and mirrors. These impressions are reinforced by several of Kimball’s practices: 1) being evasive at times regarding his true theological beliefs, 2) discussing matters with opponents privately rather than out in the open, 3)  endorsing practices perceived as New Age-ish (such as candles, incense, and the labyrinth), and 4) spending  a great deal of time informally with Emergent/ Emergence speakers Brian McLaren, Tony Jones, Doug Pagitt, etc.

There are a few discernment ministries out there  which are defending Kimball, or at least speaking of him in relatively favorable terms. This is my impression of these discernment ministries: they seem to be enthralled by Kimball’s charming personality, after spending time with him and carrying on phone conversations with him. Or, perhaps they just don’t understand the theologically murky Emerging Church movement. Come on, you discernment ministries that are endorsing Kimball. As discernment ministries, your job is to examine Kimball’s BELIEFS  and TEACHINGS and compare them to what the Bible says – it seems to me you have kowtowed to his charming personality and informal, “cool” church style.

Here is the blog I mentioned originally, showing the debate between Kimball’s defenders and critics:


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To start off this blog, I must say I am FURIOUS with Dan Kimball and other Emerging speakers of his ilk. As I described in a previous blog, the denomination I grew up in (the EFCI) will soon be having Dan Kimball as keynote speaker at their Friends Youth Summit 2010. Following is my blog on this:


It is theologically schizophrenic Emerging rascals like Mr. Kimball that are leading the EFCI youth down the road to Hell. Emerging Church leaders may be thinking they are helping our youth grow closer to Christ, but nothing could be further from the truth.

Dan Kimball is hard to pin down regarding what Christian doctrines he truly believes. Also, he refuses to disassociate himself from false teachers – and it is difficult to pin him down on WHY he associates with them.

Consider the following blog by Ingrid Schlueter at the Crosstalk blogsite. I am copying and pasting the blog in its entirety. NOTE – I have emphasized certain sections by bolding them.

To Ingrid Schlueter: Ingrid, it appears to me that Dan Kimball is showing the traits of a true “Bridger” (I like your use of the term – it seems very appropriate). Kimball is trying to make his teachings palatable to both sides of the church aisle – born again Christians as well as New Age seekers and worse. Thank, thank you, THANK YOU, for admonishing Mr. Kimball on behalf of the rest of us. This is what we need to see more of – erroneous individuals being addressed directly rather than being criticized behind their back. May God bless you and strengthen you on the front lines, Ingrid!

Click on the following link to read Ingrid’s original Crosstalk blog. Additional comments have been posted at the blog since I copied and pasted it to here:

Phil Johnson on the Dearth of Conviction in the Emerging Church

Posted by Ingrid Schlueter in Emergent Church, Featured Articles, Religion on November 21st, 2010 | 17 responses

In 2007, Phil Johnson wrote a very helpful piece on the emerging church. In light of recent discussion of emerging pastor Dan Kimball, what Johnson writes is important.

I’ve suggested recently that postmodernists always run in a straight line back to the notion that we should avoid making truth-claims with finality, clarity, or settled assurance. Everything (and of course I’m speaking in practical terms here, because absolute statements are deemed impolite in these postmodern times)—practically everything is supposed to remain perpetually on the table for debate and reconsideration.

Here’s the kind of thing I’m talking about:

In a recent symposium on the Emerging Church movement (Mark Driscoll [et al.] Listening to the Beliefs of the Emerging Churches [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2007]) Dan Kimball says the only doctrines he is really sure about these days are a short list of credos generally agreed upon by Christians and spelled out in the Nicene and Apostles’ Creeds.

See if you don’t think Kimball’s perspective contains a classic echo of the kind of thinking I am suggesting colors the typical postmodern mind. Read the post here at Pyromaniacs.

Commenting at the Crosstalk Blog is not a right, it is a privilege. Crosstalk Blog staff reserves the right to reject any comment that is found to be offensive or otherwise unaccaeptable for any reason. We will not tolerate the following: abusive or profane language, objectionable links, off-topic remarks, and bickering with other commenters. Thank you for respecting this policy.

17 Responses to “Phil Johnson on the Dearth of Conviction in the Emerging Church”

  1. Hi Ingrid,

    This was from over 4 years ago that you are pulling up here.

    And I would suggest reading the comments on this entry too. I had dialogue with Phil to show him specifically from books and even that back where I wrote much more detail of doctrine and beliefs. I ended up talking to Phil on the phone as well which cleared many things up after this post.

    I would encourage you to listen to Chris Rosebrough’s two podcasts where he addressed this as well from this past week. He did a follow up about discernment ministries needing to discern each other that you might find helpful.


    • Ingrid Schlueter says:

      If Phil Johnson has retracted his concerns expressed in his post, let him remove this post and state why. Until you stop your Nicodemus behavior (going by night) and having private conversations with key people to convince them of your biblical soundness, you’re going to have problems, Dan. Did you ever wonder why John MacArthur doesn’t have to run around blogs trying to explain why a book he wrote 4 years ago is no longer valid? Ever wonder why everyone knows exactly where MacArthur stands on basic issues of theology and practice? It’s because he says what he means and lets the chips fall, Dan, that’s why, and he does it in plain, unmistakable English. Either you are pathologically incapable of writing a clear sentence and meaning what you say and should get out of the communication realm, or you are deliberately blowing fog into the clear teachings of Scripture. You tell me which that is Dan, if you can give a straight answer.

    • Paula says:

      Dan you said repeatedly on Chris’s show that you haven’t changed what you have taught for what, 20 years? yet every time someone brings up a blog post or something from a few years ago that is your first defense. You can’t have it both ways, unless you’re deliberately trying to evade radar.

  2. The book was written over 4 years ago and it came out in January 2007 which is almost 4 years is what I was meaning. If you ever have direct questions about my beliefs, my writings, what we teach in our church – always feel free to ask me questions. I am on a retreat on and going on vacation tomorrow, but please feel free to contact me if you would like in 3 weeks. Thank you Ingrid!

    • Debra says:

      Hi Mr. Kimball:
      You had Brian McLaren forward your book the Emerging Church. Brian McLaren attacks the Bible in several areas and denies cardinal doctrine. Why do you still sell it on your website when the guy is a lie peddler and you are still making money off it making him look great.

      Just sayin’.

    • Paula says:

      > If you ever have direct questions about my beliefs, my writings, what we teach in our church – always feel free to ask me questions.

      That’s not how it works either Dan. Either you plainly confess Christ before all, or you don’t. I see more evidence that you are worried about ‘mean’ Christians than the gospel, because THAT is what you chose to make a public statement about. You expect us to take these people that are “interested in Jesus” seriously? They are interested in an idol of their own making. No wonder they despise Christians. Certainly some Christians may have treated them badly, and that’s inexcusable. But that just reinforces them in the extreme self righteousness that they already have. I am sure if they were made aware of their own shortcomings they would be quick to say “well no one is perfect, why are you so judgemental?” But they have no qualms about judging Christians for being imperfect.

  3. Dan,

    You seem to rely on private conversations a lot to settle concerns about your positions. Why not in public?

  4. David says:

    Is Leonard Sweet a spiritually trustworthy Christian teacher in light of the Bible and its authority? I didn’t ask if you had different perspectives, I’m asking if he’s spiritually trustworthy to follow.

    • Paula says:

      I’m kind of wondering why Chris R decided to downplay the Len Sweet connection by just saying that he taught at the same school as Dan attended… as if they had no connection. Is that what Dan told Chris? If he did and if that’s true, then Len should stop lying about his being Dan’s doctoral advisor.

  5. Martha says:

    Dan, are you disclaiming what you wrote in those books written 4 years ago? If so, are you still receiving residuals from the sale?

  6. amanda says:

    The Bible was written thousands of years ago, but God does’t change His mind, so it’s still a reflection of Him.

    That said, when an individual is in the public eye and making public claims of one sort or another, and then changes his views or adds to them, it is safe to assume he still holds the same views unless he has made public proclamations to refute or add to his previous views.

    Defensiveness doesn’t tell anyone what your current views are, Mr. Kimball. Please state them clearly and they will spread like wildfire across the Net.

  7. Chaz says:

    Hey Dan, a few days ago U just spoke at a conference with Mark Batterson who wrote this on his blog.
    “Can’t wait to listen to and hang out with some of my favorite speakers and friends: Matt Chandler, Christine Caine, Kerry Shook, Dan Kimball, Jud Wilhite, Dino Rizzo, and Tullian Tchividjian.”

    Batterson’s recommended reading list is incredibly dangerous if you believe in the Bible. What is your spiritual defense for not telling anybody to watch out for what Batterson is promoting. U think new in Christ people should be reading James Redfield’s Celestine Prophecy? Have you seen that new age website? HE is saying these books are must reads. See his list here. Why would you keep appearing with someone without saying a word to protect God’s sheep? Your supposed to be a pastor and your ok with James Redfield’s Celestine PRophecy? Geez Louise.


  8. Paul Huston says:

    Assent to orthodox doctrine and belief is not the issue here. Although I do not know you personally, the F4F really didn’t show anything except that you may be OK here. The issue, as you know, is your association with heretical false teachers, men who hate the gospel and hate Christ. Your public association with these guys requires a public rejection to the same degree of thier teachings concerning the gospel. Is having a book on your church website that includes writings by Brian McClaren really excusable because “those who take the time to know you know the truth”? Instead of crying out for the cleaning up of discernment ministries do your church and the church at large a service and stand up for gospel truth, especially in regards to false teachers you are associated with either by choice or not.

    • Ingrid Schlueter says:

      Thank you, Paul. Dan, your call to have discernment ministries “lovingly discern” themselves cannot be taken seriously when you cannot even discern and clean up the emerging church or your own ministry. The conferences you speak at and those you write books with and the things you link to on your blog are Exhibit A of why your claims of orthodoxy are believed to be meaningless. Unless your life lines up with your claims, you are presenting a lie. You can attempt to undermine and marginalize those of us who are saying this, as can Chris Rosebrough, but as Shakespeare once wrote, “The truth will out.”

    • Ingrid Schlueter says:

      Fun with heretics! Dan Kimball posts about fun he had at universalist Doug Pagitt’s house. They stayed up till 3am. Oh yeah, also, Brian no-penal-substitutionary-atonement McLaren and Tony original-sin-is-a-depraved-idea Jones was there too. A good time was had by all. ) But Kimball is orthodox – a podcaster said so. They’re just friends. What’s the big deal, right?


      Here’s Kimballs friend Jones’ attack on original sin.

  9. Ingrid Schlueter says:

    Note to Dan Kimball – until you answer the specific questions I raised in my short post in the comment section and those of the other readers, I will not allow you to post your multi-paragraph comment that attempts to convince people of your orthodoxy. You haven’t answered any of the issues I raised, but true to form, are smoothly slipping out of it. We are not going to dialog here, because you refuse to answer the issues put to you clearly regarding your speaking and writing affiliations. You said you couldn’t answer questions on FB because you were writing a book, so I’ll let you get to that.

    • Paula says:

      I would say Dan can post that at his own blog, and I hope he will, so that his friends over there can read what he really believes. I sure don’t get even the very sparse orthodox statements that he gave on Chris’s show (that even a Roman Catholic or Mormon could agree with) when I read posts over there.

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Here is a two-part series of clips, of John MacArthur discussing the Emergent Church.

Note – this is DIFFERENT content than the discussion between Phil Johnson and John MacArthur on the Emerging Church, which I provided excerpts of in a previous blog.


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(revised 07/25/13)

The late David Wilkerson was a well balanced, discerning Pentecostal preacher in my opinion. I thank the Lord that David Wilkerson expressed his outrage about the Emerging/Emergent/Emergence Church movements. He gave a lengthy warning about the Emerging church movement in his newsletter “Seeking the Face of God,” November 7, 2005. The newsletter can be found in its entirety at:


Bro. Wilkerson discusses the Emerging Church towards the end of the newsletter. You can locate this section by copying and pasting the following phrase into your Internet browser search window:

There is a new movement today called the “emerging church.”

Following is an audio sermon excerpt which corresponds with this newsletter. The wording of David Wilkerson’s sermon excerpt is somewhat different from the newsletter. Note the concern and righteous anger in David Wilkerson’s voice. Thank the Lord for the late David Wilkerson!


David Wilkerson on the Emergent Church movement from Michael Helders on Vimeo.

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In a previous blog, I mentioned Tony Jones as one of the persons Emerging speaker Dan Kimball is associating with. Check out Tony Jones’ ever increasing New Age thinking. I am including some excerpts here from a blog by Tony Jones – the entire blog can be found at:


One of the first issues that PT addressed was the terminology that has been so bandied about in this conversation. I, as usual, took issue with it, saying that the conversation about emergent vs. emerging vs. emergence vs. missional is an internecine debate, and that it will be historians a century hence who will 1) decide if we’re worthy of a name, and 2) decide what that name is.  But I will say that after spending the week talking about such things with Phyllis, and her erstwhile daughter-in-law, Mary, I’ve had a bit of a change of heart.

[Like Tony Jones, I also try to make a distinction between the Emerging Church movement, the Emergent Church movement, and Emergence Christianity.]

My usual struggle with the term “emerging” (think Scot McKnight and Dan Kimball) is not that it’s associated with a more traditional, evangelical theology. My problem is that it’s not a term associated with the very metaphors that have been so resonant to those of us in the movement, viz., emergence theories in science.

Emergence science (think Phillip Clayton), lends us words in the family of emergence and emergent. While this may seem a silly semantic difference, it actually changes the nature of the conversation significantly. Whereas “emerging” implies something coming into view and becoming prominent (a relatively simple process), “emergent” is something (or a group of somethings) arising and existing only as a phenomenon of independent parts working together, and not predictable on the basis of their properties (an impossibly complex process).

So, what I’m saying is that maybe, just maybe, the idea of “emerging” does better fit those persons and groups who feel more comfortable with conventional evangelical theologies, and “emergent” is more appropriate for those of us more interested in following the various theological and philosophical rabbit holes that present themselves to us.

This is where Phyllis comes in. She claims that all such movements are a part of “Emergence Christianity,” which itself is subsumed by the broader global emergence — the massive, overarching cultural shift, often called globalization — taking place everywhere, right now. It is, she claims, inevitable that Christianity would be swept up in the changes that are shaking economics, politics, science, education, and every other sphere of human endeavor.

[emphases mine]

So, all this to say that I’m coming around to Phyllis’s POV. Emergence Christianity may be the best term for those of us interested in talking about the meta-religious shifts taking place right now, rather than the more parochial concerns of the “next evangelicalism” or the “rebirth of the mainline” or something like that.

Read more: http://blog.beliefnet.com/tonyjones/2009/07/looking-back-on-cornerstone-ph.html#ixzz15nfxMZUR

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