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5.0 out of 5 stars a needed second way in the Emerging chuch, October 14, 2006
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This review is from: Confessions of a Reformission Rev.: Hard Lessons from an Emerging Missional Church (The Leadership Network Innovation) (Paperback)
I have read a thousand or two pages of "how to do church" books. I pastor at a church of about 900, and so it's par for the course. Most of them bore me these days. This one I read in three sittings.

There will be considerable criticism of this book. Mark didn't say what he was supposed to. He is pretty clear about what he thinks of Brian McLaren, the public pope of the Emergent church; and it isn't complimentary. He recommends both pragmatic evangelicals like Hybels and Warren and yet he affirms the work of their firm critics like Mark Dever and D.A Carson's work in his footnotes (a both-and I both agree with and am impressed with). He thinks masculinity should have content beyond plumbing, and even dares to refer to Grudem and Piper's book on the subject. That alone can get you stripped and beaten in some very loving evangelical circles.

He also says church people can be immature idiots and life sucking dead weight; like the Leech's two daughters that constantly cry, "give, give!" form Proverbs 30.

I was horrified.
I completely agree.

There will no doubt be many coming up with clever little shots at Driscoll and making pithy condescending remarks about the book. Mark has really opened himself up to that. I suspect he could care less, and I really appreciated that about his style.

No doubt many will find his style arrogant. It will be decried by the equally arrogant under the pretense of humility and nuances spiritual maturity. Many will be convinced. But it should be noted that Mark claims to have been arrogant and to be arrogant. He only claims that that doesn't necessarily make him wrong about what he is saying in this book, and about that he is right. Introspective indecisive hand wringing doesn't work as a dominant disposition when you're leading a church of more than a thousand people in the kind of context he is in. I know from experience. Nor does it particularly work in life unless you are interested in simply criticizing the position of others.

In terms of content, Mark has written his own leadership manifesto about making the hard choices, knowing your mission, learning from others, daring to be serious about the Bible's content in preaching and leadership decisions, allowing for messes, and focusing on spiritual growth if you want organizational growth.

Concerning his bits about the Emerging Church, perhaps his greatest bit was in a footnote. In that note that sprawls from pg. 203-205 he overviews looking into postmodernism as an epistemology, cultural phenomenon, the fruit of modern linguistic theory and post-structuralism, etc. He talks about reading in primary and secondary sources and finally concludes he's going to go ahead and stick with most of what Jesus was saying.

If you think that's simplistic, it's likely that either you're not in the subculture, are considerably more arrogant than Mark is, haven't read the literature or you don't have ears to hear (ie. have lost the will to find a culturally potent expression of Christian orthodoxy).

I have been in many social situations with Gen-X pastors or ministry folks who spoke with such arrogance in criticism of people who "just didn't get post modernism". I was sad because many of them knew more about postmodernism than the gospel

The greatest benefit of what this book is adding to is that there are now two clearly different options for those of us looking to the emerging church conversation for new ways to do church in the increasingly post-Christian West. Those of us that do not think Brian can get us where we want to go want another option. This is a much better one.

Mark Driscoll and Dan Kimball are needed to secure that second voice. And this book was needed to give some steam to that conversation. Mark Driscoll has done the church a service.

P.S.- I have no tattoos, I do wear pants, I do not carry a handgun, I am a Christian, and I'm a pastor in a mainline denominational church that is 98 years old. I'm only 29 though.
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