Friday, October 20, 2006

Calvary Chapel and Purpose Driven

Roger Oakland was one of the speakers at the recent Midwest Pastors' Conference down in IN.  He spoke on the subjects of being men of understanding (taking off from 1 Chronicles 12:32) and the importance of discernment, and on the subject of evolution/creation.  He was initially scheduled to speak on the subject of the Emergent Church Movement... but was instructed last-minute to change his conference topic.


Whatever you feel about the ECM, two things immediately thrust themselves into view here:

  1. Roger was forced to change subjects (and being a gracious man submitted to those in authority over him, he acquiesced) because of a fear that his subject would spark some fireworks due to another of the conference speakers who has proven friendly to the ECM (no, I won't single the dude out, and yes, I still love and respect him and like his teaching, and yes, there would have been fireworks, and yes, I was actually looking forward to them - I'd like to see two Calvary Chapel heavyweights hash through this issue, and yes, I think the conference organizers who ordered Roger to change subjects were wrong, and yes, this is a run-on parenthetical statement, and no, I'm not in the least bit sorry you had to wade through it to get to this point...); hey, we're all adults here; why not let two guys who have strong opinions on opposite sides of the issue "duke it out" so to speak so that the rest of us are edified by being exposed to all angles of this issue and how it affects us as a movement?  I do not like the attitude that's beginning to prevail amongst some in Calvary that want to quell all discussion rather than promote necessary dialogue (and by "dialogue," I mean that in the most Ken Graves-ish, manly-man, non-Emerging way possible).  I think it's the laying of a dangerous foundation, and I pray there's enough iconoclasts in the movement to do an end-run around the establishmentarians and dialog anyway.

  2. Even prominent leaders within the ECM acknowledge problems and potentially massive issues; Mark Driscoll, for instance, has been one of the most incisive critics of ECM from within.  Driscoll's rhetorical sparring with MacLaren has achieved legendary status.  So whether or not you think Roger's spot-on with his assessment of the ECM (and I think his appraisal is closer to being right on the money than it is not...), why not let him speak, let the potentially perturbed peer respond as he may or may not have been led to during his sessions, then open up one of the final sessions for a Q&A with both of them on the panel, and sit back and evaluate their common responses?

On that note, many of my fellow pastors expressed concern about the panel discussion two Murrieta Conferences ago, since it was quite obvious that there was such a huge divergence of opinion regarding the Purpose Driven fad that was still in its heyday.  Personally, I was tremendously blessed by it, because it enabled me to hear men I respect debate an important (however briefly; PDL, like all fads, blew in, blew up, then blew on back out... I am convinced that ECM as it currently exists will ultimately do the same) issue, and it blessed me that there could still be a wide range of opinion within the overarching canopy of that which is Calvary Chapel.

But that's just me; I don't like mindless lock-stepping.  Acts 17:11 applies both ways, and in all directions, venues, contexts, and issues.

Anyway... as I was browsing here at "tentmaking" on lunch, I ran across this article from Roger Oakland regarding Calvary Chapel and the short-lived Purpose Driven movement which I think is worthy of reading and considering.

Agree or disagree with him (and I don't 100% agree with his assessment and conclusion, though I appreciate both); but do so on the basis of the facts, not on the basis of "that article really wrecks my ecumenical warm fuzzy, man!"


SamE said...

"I do not like the attitude that's beginning to prevail amongst some in Calvary that want to quell all discussion rather than promote necessary dialogue (and by "dialogue," I mean that in the most Ken Graves-ish, manly-man, non-Emerging way possible). "

Amen and Amen - lets have it out in the open!

mike macon said...

:D Yes, I have heard of the book and have had it strongly recommended to me - it's definitely on my "must-read" list. The only really substantive critique I've heard from it is that it's somewhat one-dimensional and is really a critique of Brian MacLaren more than of the ECM as a whole. Yeah... however, in reading some of the things from McCoy (Reformissionary), Bell (Mars Hill Church here in my own Michigan back yard), McKnight (JesusCreed) and others, in many respects MacLaren is the EmergENT side of the "conversation." The critiques of MacLaren apply to a large (and very disturbing) swath of the ECM. I suppose that it can be said that the non-MacLarenite EmergING guys don't generally even register on the "I'm real concerned about this" radar. But reading some of the other "big boys" gives me the distinct impression that, "as goes the big 'M', so goes EmergENT."

So I'm looking forward to reading the book - when I have time!

Thanks for the recommend, and thanks for the comment, eh?