Emergent Emptiness

Sorry for the long delay, but I have been on vacation.  I don’t blog much on vacation, especially since I was in a location that didn’t have Wi-Fi and I was unable to use my laptop for a week (it was so nice).  

Alas, the world continued on without me, but not all of it was for the better.  Imagine my disillusionment when I read a tweet from Phil Johnson of teampyro.blogspot.com concerning Fuller Seminary’s Vimeo video “Emerging Spiritualities in the American Church,” which was a discussion featuring Tony Jones, theologian (?) in residence at Solomon’s Potty, I mean Porch, in Minneapolis, Phyllis Tickle my ears but doesn’t make me laugh, founding editor of the religion department of Publishers Weekly, and Lauren Winner, Assistant Professor of Christian Spirituality at Duke Divinity School (with her as a professor I assume that “divinity” is referring to the sweet and tasty dessert).  Please allow me the following; Woe to you Fuller Seminary!  My boots are not high enough to wade through the PhD (Piled high and Deep).

I’m not going to go into the details of the discussion, partly because to attempt to recreate what was said would cause my already meager IQ to drop 30 more points, and partly because I ate lunch with my wife not to long ago and I don’t want to lose the money I spent on the food.  I would simply like to make a few comments.  And if you think my sarcasm is too heavy, please know that I am holding back.

Let me begin by stating that I am reminded of Acts 4:1-13.  After Peter and John were arrested and dragged before the “rulers and elders and scribes” as well as the high priest and his father-in-law, the august group questioned the lowly disciples.  The final outcome of the confrontation was that the brilliant, and might I say, highly educated men of Jerusalem, were put to shame by the “confidence of Peter and John,” and “understood that they (Peter and John) were uneducated and untrained men,” which amazed them (v.13).  It was then that the Council “recognized them as having been with Jesus” something that the Council had obviously not experienced.  After listening to the enlightened panel of the Fuller Seminary video I am inclined to say that the three well-educated, highly regarded speakers will not be confused for those who have been with Jesus.

Jones’ continued attempts to sound intelligent and “spiritual” was second in abject inadequacy only to like Winner’s like valley girl like teeth-grinding speech patterns, continuous rubbing of her legs, and her “look how smart I am” attitude.  Furthermore, Tickle sounded more like the old uncle who continually tries to act young and hip while at other times sounding like the young whipper snappers were beneath her and getting under her skin.  The entire thing was a pathetic display by  the panel to describe the apostasy (they would say “emerging spirituality”) that is coming upon the Church (and I use that term guardedly) in the guise of spirituality.  All-in-all they perfectly illustrated what Paul described in Romans 1:22, “Professing to be wise, they became fools.”

One of the most saddening/infuriating portions of the event came near the beginning when Lauren Winner took her opportunity to express herself.  Oh that she hadn’t.  To say that her speech and mannerisms conjured up visions of a nine year old  80’s valley girl trying to sound smarter than anyone else in the room would be an understatement.  I hear that form of speaking on college campuses and just assumed that those using it would stop sometime after graduation.  Sadly, Winners has a PhD in history (you’ve got to be kidding) and still speaks that way.  But that is not the saddening/infuriating part.  Winner briefly debated with herself over which passage of Scripture she liked least, First Corinthians 13 or Ephesians 5.  Now I’ve often debated over which passage I like the most, but have never heard of  a Christian leader debating which was their least favorite passage.  On top of that she admitted that, at least in the past, she had not read the Bible much in her Christian walk but preferred the “Christian mystics” because they were more interesting.  And she is the one teaching “Christian Spirituality” at Duke Sweet and Tasty Dessert School?

I am going to step out on a limb here, a very strong, sturdy, thick, immovable limb, and say that the lowliest preacher with no cemetery edukashun (yes, it’s on purpose) but a profound love and respect for the inspired, inerrant Word of God can know more about spirituality, true spirituality, than the three of these wolves put together.  I think that we can firmly conclude that by their fruit we know that they know nothing of Christ and His provision for our spiritual wellbeing. They are the blind leading the blind and both they and those who are following them are headed for a very deep, very dark, and very hot ditch.  Sorry Mr. Bell.

I will conclude with this plea from the command of our Lord to the Church of Laodicea to those who follow the likes of these three:“You do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see…therefore be zealous and repent” (Revelation 3:17-18, 19b).

God save His Church!


1 thought on “Emergent Emptiness

  1. Thanks for shifting through the nonsense, Pastor Steve. Your post reminds me of Christian’s erecting of a pillar at the stile into “Bypass Meadow” in John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress. On that pillar Christian inscribed a warning to fellow pilgrims of the dangers of thinking one might take that path to the Celestial City. Before he put up the pillar, many pilgrims took the bypass and ended up in the clutches of the giant Despair. After he put up the pillar, many pilgrims read the warning and were spared the tortures of that dreadful road. Perhaps, your blog post will similarly affect fellow pilgrims who are thinking that emergent spirituality is no big deal.


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