Whole Counsel Theology

Monday, June 26, 2006

Erwin McManus and the Emergent Church

A good friend of mine has been reading a few books by Erwin McManus lately, and has enjoyed them a lot. At his urging, I read Blue Like Jazz by Don Miller, and I'm in the middle of reviewing it. When he started reading McManus's stuff, I didn't know if he was going to be like Miller or what, and from my preliminary observations, though he is considered an Emergent Church leader, McManus seemed to be a decent guy with a strong passion.

I have to admit, I admire his passion for wanting the church to be what Jesus established it to be. He also seems to have a strong passion for God from a couple of glances I've taken at his website. This too is far too uncommon in our time, and he is to be commended for that.

However, there are a few things about him that bother me. Not long ago, I had nothing to talk about concerning him, especially since I haven't read his books. I've been guilty before of over-analyzing someone or something about a person without actually having read the material, and, while a person can get a good idea about a book or ministry from trusted sources, it is most often best to get first-hand information. The other day, I found that information.

Here is a link for an interview with E. M. done by FreshMinistry. I'll be referencing a few things from the article, some good, some not so good.

First, I want to say it is clear that God has done a lot of things in Erwin's ministry. The website records some of the work that he did that was, apparently, shortly after his conversion:
He was convinced that if the message of Jesus was true, it would work in the worst situations, so he focused his efforts among the urban poor. He and his wife Kim worked side jobs to support their ministry among the people no one wanted--drug dealers, prostitutes, the homeless.

I can only commend Mr. McManus for this. It is an awesome thing that God was using him to bring the Gospel to those people.

Yet, there are a couple of things that bother me, like this one:
Every human has God placed evidences within their soul. Postmodern evangelism is extracting those evidences from the soul and show them to them. I say, 'Inside you is a craving you need to listen to.'

I would agree that every human has God placed evidences within them. In fact, Romans speaks to that issue clearly:
Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. (19) For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. (20) For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. (21) For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.

So then, people have some knowledge of God -- but they suppress it in unrighteousness per the inspired text. I'd have to say then that inside a person is some knowledge they are required and commanded to accept and believe, but a "craving"? I'd have to disagree. In fact, the Scripture seems to teach just the opposite:
John 3:19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil. (20) For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.

Scripture indicates that we hate the light of God's goodness, not that we're "craving" it. Of course, God eventually changes His elect so that we do crave God, but those who are pre-regenerate won't be doing it. Mr. McManus's statement and method then can use some adjustment. On to another statement by Mr. McManus (emphasis mine):
“The churches that will cease to exist are not those who are doctrinally errant, but are spiritually errant. You can't get away with it anymore. You can't just talk about what the bible says, you better flesh it out or you are dead.”
“That's what's exciting about the world in which we live. Only the viable church of Jesus Christ will survive, the inauthentic need not apply. I want to live in the world that if the church is not the revolution that Jesus died to establish 2000 years ago it ceases to exist. I want to live in a world where the church has no more crutches, or buffers to guard her from injury. I want a church where a culture no longer protects her. Whenever the gospel enters an environment, it prevails.”

First of all, I wanted to say that I find myself in strong agreement with McManus here, that is, the non-emphasized parts of the above quote. We must not simply talk about what the Bible says; we need to flesh it out, and being inauthentic about it is useless. James says this very thing in different words. Furthermore, I completely agree that the Gospel prevails when it enters an environment. The reason of course is that God works out what He ultimately wills when His Word goes forth.

However, with that said, I find that I disagree with the emphasized parts of his statement that I quoted. Granted, no church will be completely doctrinally perfect. However, that is no excuse for not pursuing it and making it a high priority. We must search the Scriptures, and, when we find areas where we are not in agreement with them, we change accordingly.

There seems to be a strong tendency in those who accept some or all of the label "emergent" to avoid emphasizing doctrine. Sometimes, the word is even seen as a pejorative, and Bible doctrine takes a back-seat to relevance in ministry.

This is surely tragic, and misses a critical reason for using Scripture at all. Furthermore, Paul had a few things to say about those who opposed the doctrines he was teaching. We MUST strive constantly to be as biblical as we can be, rigorously scrutinizing everything we say and do by the Holy Scriptures. Granted, McManus was not saying we shouldn't do that, but they way he said what he did seemed to suggest that being doctrinally correct wasn't very important. The truth is, if we are going to be spiritually authentic, we need to have a standard against which we can measure our level of authenticity and if we are spiritually errant or not! It is not an either/or, but rather, a both/and approach that we need.

One more quote that really bothered me, in response to a question asked of him about what kind of advice he would give preachers who want to minister in the post-modern age:
First, The sermons that are changing the world are the ones where the pastor is real--sharing his journey with the congregation. Second, stop preaching sermons and start telling stories. Third, Break though the pressure to be a great preacher and become a great leader.

Agreed, if a pastor is not real and authentic when he declares the Word of God in preaching, then he's doing a disservice to the text and to the congregation. A pastor should be affected by the text he is preaching. However, here is where the agreement ends, and where I think Mr. McManus is creating a false disjunction, falling into the either/or error, among other things.

Stories can be useful to illustrate what a text is talking about, but if all we do is tell stories and stop preaching, we as preachers have abdicated our responsibility to declare the Word of God. We have substituted our errant, personal accounts for the inerrant Word of God. Tragically, this is already the case in many churches, emergent or not. Most of the "preachers" today seem content to tell amusing stories about themselves or others rather than to deal with the text of Scripture. We need more of the latter, not the former. I've addressed this to a small extent in another post.

Also, pastors should desire to be great leaders AND great preachers; it's a both/and, not an either/or. However, if we should have to make a choice between the two, the Scriptures seem to indicate that being a good and accurate preacher would be more important than being a dynamic leader. You can be a great leader and mishandle the text of the Bible and lead your people into doctrinal error, and subsequently, have a church that misses its purpose of the glory of God. However, even if a man isn't the best of leaders, if he declares the Word of God clearly and accurately, God can and will work mightily in his church. Chances are that He'll raise up other people who are better leaders than himself to serve as elders too.

It would appear then that brother McManus has some of his priorities out of order. Let's not make the same mistake, and pray for his ministry that he wouldn't lose his passion for leading people, but that he would also gain one for sound doctrine and expository preaching so that God would be glorified all the more, and his ministry would be all the more blessed.

For the Glory of Jesus,
David Hewitt

27 Comments:

  • You should check out this page...

    http://www.churchformen.com/

    Of which I've echoed similar words that you have just said. Meaning the real reason people don't like church is because there's no craving.

    Cheers

    By Blogger Frank Martens, at Monday, June 26, 2006 4:52:00 PM  

  • Frank:

    I went over to that page, and I would have to agree with you. Not only should we not need things like those portrayed on the site you referenced, it seems to minimize if not eliminate the atmosphere of reverence in a worship time. This is something SORELY lacking in our churches today; we seem to have forgotten that God is HOLY and RIGHTEOUS and AWESOME in emphasizing His love as much as we have.

    May God forgive us and draw us back to a holy awe of His Awesome Majesty.

    DBH

    P.S. -- The gimmicks they are using wouldn't have worked on me anyway. :) I'm not much into sports, cars, or motorcycles. However, I *do* like good preaching.... :)

    By Blogger David B. Hewitt, at Monday, June 26, 2006 6:00:00 PM  

  • So...what else of McManus have you read or listened to besides this 8 question excerpt on freshministry.org? (which does not capture the heart of McManus...at all) Interview excerpts are infamous for this, btw.

    I read that interview and your comments and I think you are going on a witch hunt.

    Sounds like you are exegeting this vocal interview and this material simply will not stand up to that. I don't know if Mohler would stand up to that. Piper probably would because the man is so stinking careful about what comes out of his mouth but...stop it. It's not scripture, stop tearing it apart as though it were.

    By Anonymous Andrew Short, at Monday, June 26, 2006 6:55:00 PM  

  • Brother Andrew:

    A witch hunt? Surely you know me better than that. I commended many things that McManus said in that interview; in fact, if my count is right, I commended him the same amount that I criticized -- am I mistaken?

    No, what he said is not Scripture, which is why some of it is likely to be in error. The words that *I* say are likely to be in error at times. In fact, I honestly get concerned if people do NOT correct me over something; it usually means that people don't care enough to do so. I LOVED it when Patrick did so on a post I made about MacArthur's message on the Resurrection a few weeks ago. I stated something ambiguously at best and was conveying a wrong message. I repented of my error and corrected what I said in the comments section of the post.

    Here is what I don't understand: I do not mind a bit if people pick what I say apart (though I would prefer it be in the context of the whole [which is why I linked to the article and included some clearly good material from it]). In fact, I would be bothered if I were to say something in error (and I do at times for sure) and correction NOT happen, even if 95%+ of the rest of the post, article, lesson, or whatever was spot on. Moreover, that *might* make it even more dangerous an error (depending on what was said of course), simply because the rest of what I would have said would have been good; the error would have been more easily accepted. If I'm wrong, or I wasn't clear, someone PLEASE tell me! I am not above criticism, nor is McManus, you, Piper, Mohler or [INSERT NAME HERE]. If something is incorrect and not according to Scripture, then it should be noted, but noted in a Christian manner, with a desire for one brother/sister to restore another lovingly.

    I am not saying that McManus hasn't blessed people or that he won't -- it is clear that he did and is! However, if what he said is representative of what he normally says/does, then there is some correction to be made. Even if he misspoke, which of course is a possibility, then his words were poorly chosen.

    My intent is for education of brethren (about dangers of neglecting doctrine), and also showing them some of the good things McManus has done (I did note some from the article) and pray that God would increase McManus's passion for the things he seems to make light of (i.e. doctrine) so that God will use him all the more.

    If that didn't come through clearly, then please forgive me.

    By Blogger David B. Hewitt, at Monday, June 26, 2006 8:00:00 PM  

  • I asked two other friends of mine to read what I have written in this post. If I am in error or being unreasonably critical of another Christian brother, I certainly want to know.

    At this point, I do not think I have, but I am taking what you said seriously, Andrew.

    I want you to know that.

    By Blogger David B. Hewitt, at Monday, June 26, 2006 8:03:00 PM  

  • You wrote, "It would appear then that brother McManus has some of his priorities out of order. Let's not make the same mistake, and pray for his ministry that he wouldn't lost his passion for leading people,". This is your conclusion. You got that from reading 8 questions out of an interview-ette of someone that you admit you haven't read about or of before.

    This makes no sense to me.

    You are writing an admittedly uninformed opinion. That is dangerous in and of itself, and I wonder about the motive behind it. By all means, write something about McManus, criticize him all day long if you must, but read and research and get to know the man first.

    By Anonymous Andrew Short, at Monday, June 26, 2006 10:56:00 PM  

  • The reason I wrote the way I did was because of the information I had. The organization that interviewed him is a ministry that is definitely friendly to the "emergent" church, though they often call it the "future church."

    The intent of the interview wasn't to criticize McManus, but to find out how he views ministry. That being the case, I figured it would be a good summary as to what he thought on a few matters. Of course, it isn't comprehensive, but a summary it remains, and it is why I spoke as I did.

    The reason I used the term "seems" is because of the nature of the interview. Are these the things that McManus truly holds? If so, then I stand by all my comments. If not, and he misspoke, then I am willing to be corrected. However, if he does not hold what he stated, then why did he state it to begin with? This is what would confuse me, brother Andrew.

    All of us (myself included) when we find a person who God is using in a particular way tend to want to imitate the person. I am certainly a fan of John Piper, though there are a few things I don't agree with him on (though they are minor issues). I have a tendency to want to imitate what he is doing -- and there are certainly many things worth adopting, but the reason for that is because so much of what Dr. Piper does is SCRIPTURAL. Anything that he may do that is NOT MUST be rejected.

    That was part of the reason I wrote this about McManus. There are clearly things that God is doing in and through him, but he also has (apparently) adopted some dangerous attitudes toward doctrine, and therefore I wanted to warn people about those while I pointed out the good things in what he said too.

    I still don't really understand your concerns; I think you're presenting them in a kind manner, but I honestly don't get it. I still think I've presented what information I saw in a fair light (as did three others who I asked to read this to make sure I wasn't eating my foot). Again, if there is something that you are seeing that I'm not, I am still willing to be corrected, but I'm beginning to think some of this is a difference of opinion. :)

    Should I read a book by McManus at some point, I may write about that. However, the same danger could likely arise that you've pointed out here. Will one book of the many he's written give the complete picture? It likely won't, but, were I to review it, then I would go on what information was presented.

    McManus was kind enough to give this interview in the public sphere, and it is going to be much of the information a lot of people go on. Some may seize the bad parts and catigate the man. I didn't want to do that, but wanted to be fair.

    May God grant that I succeed in that matter even more in the future.

    SDG,
    DBH

    PS -- I do appreciate your input Andrew -- please never think otherwise.

    By Blogger David B. Hewitt, at Tuesday, June 27, 2006 7:50:00 AM  

  • it may be time to unplug for awhile. what's going on in the lives of your neighbors? are you making an impact in the lives of those that live around your for Jesus? just some questions i've asked myself recently. you spend an awful amount of time criticizing people that God is really blessing their ministry. God has used guys like Miller and McManus and Bell to reach people that others have overlooked. McManus is one of my favorite authors and one of my top preachers. i love his untamed spirit-filled life and i hope to be more like him in that. and honestly, he probably looks more like Jesus to the people around him than we do. i don't do much blogging much...i don't think the blogosphere is a good place to live. it seems like a bunch of ticked-off christians throwing rocks at each other because they're different. it's not something i want to be a part of. it honestly makes me upset and truly disappointed. God did not call me to critique and overanalyze and slam other guys ministries. i may not appreciate them as much and/or they may not be my cup of diet dr. pepper...but who am i? God has called each of us to our specific ministries. i'll be honest dave, it really seems that if someone doesn't line up with you theologically then they are simply wrong and to be avoided or prayed for. i'm saying this as a friend. you've come off cold. you're a great exegete...i believe you could exegete a menu and tell me what the writer actually meant by "with blue cheese." i know you "rigorously scrutinize everything..." but realize this...i believe that leads to isolation and putting yourself in a box. in other words, it doesn't leave the door open for those who differ from you to come along side you and work with you. as a pastor...it could close many good opportunities. look at the 4 guys at T4G. some of them drink!!! that's crazy...but they are all reformed...so i guess it's okay. i think we can spend too much time looking in southern cal and other places around the world pointing out the specks in other's eyes while the people that God has placed next door to us have no clue who we are and who Jesus is. let's change that.

    unplug dave...talk to a neighbor today.

    By Anonymous patrick, at Tuesday, June 27, 2006 10:02:00 AM  

  • It's difficult for me to picture brother Dave as cold, or as slamming the ministry of another, even in this article, unless you skip the parts where Dave commended McManus for the agreeable points, and the parts where he was given the benefit of the disagreeable. You must be appealing to your experience outside the blogosphere.

    Dave seems to me to be very sensitive to those who take lightly the Word of God. If that's a log in his eye, then I'll take two logs myself.

    By Blogger brigand, at Tuesday, June 27, 2006 12:39:00 PM  

  • Brother Dave...

    for what it's worth, I think you are to be commended for your humble spirit and your desire to point out both good, and not so good, in the arena of leaders in the evangelical world.

    Far too often in our day, the moment you disagree with anything anyone says who is the "favorite author" or pastor, you're slammed down as someone who is being unfair, or unreasonably critical. There is a real aversion to being a Biblical berean, and I honestly don't get it.

    There is a way to disagree and do it without ad hom, but with respect for differing opinions & convictions.

    I thought your opinion of this article & McManus' statements to be fair, based on the public info in the article. In no way did I find you overly critical at all.

    FWIW...

    SDG,
    Carla

    By Blogger Carla, at Tuesday, June 27, 2006 1:57:00 PM  

  • I agree with Carla. Dave has the kind of gentle spirit that I hope to God will cultivate in me over time.

    I admire his passion for wanting the church to be what Jesus established it to be. He also seems to have a strong passion for God...This too is far too uncommon in our time, and he is to be commended for that.

    However, there are a few things about him that bother me.


    This doesn't sound like a hit job to me. It sounds remarkably similar to the first part of Revelation:

    "I know your works...But I have this against you...yet this you have...He who has an ear, let him hear"

    This is a great model for all of our critiques, & I think Dave has followed it well.

    To the pro-McManus folks--do you think Dave's assessment is wrong? Can you point to a book, sermons, etc., that would demonstrate that what Dave has said is misinformed (or just plain wrong)?

    The Dave I know is committed to being Biblical--and shouldn't we all be committed to that same thing? And if someone is not being Biblical, don't we owe it to that fellow believer to help them conform themselves to Scripture?

    FWIW, Dave, I'm glad you picked the example of Piper. I like him too, but when we were reading Desiring God for my men's group, there were times when we disagreed with what was in the book. I said something about this to my pastor, and his reply was interesting. He said, "I'm sure if John Piper were here he would be encouraged that we were taking his words and examining them with Scripture." I think he's right. Would that we all would cultivate an attitude of humble submission to Word-centered correction.

    Thanks for your post.

    By Blogger Gummby, at Tuesday, June 27, 2006 4:42:00 PM  

  • I'd have to give Andrew the credit for bringing up Piper. :)

    SDG,
    DBH

    By Blogger David B. Hewitt, at Tuesday, June 27, 2006 5:29:00 PM  

  • Everyone is missing the point. Judging a person based on 8 questions in a 1 page interview excerpt is a bad idea. David cites only this interview web site as a source. As an example, the television networks LOVE interview excerpts because a person can be made to appear to say ANYTHING with the right sequence of questions and strategic edits. It's bad media.

    I know David's gentle spirit, I interact with him face-to-face on at least a weekly basis. I also know that David has two real-world friends (Patrick and myself) who would have been MORE than happy to discuss more about McManus, and give him more material for evaluation. I also know the "Mr. McManus" has at least 3 web sites where his theology and passions can be evaluated, as well as at least a few books.

    David chose to criticize someone who I admire with such a paltry amount of evidence, I took exception to it. A freebie from http://www.erwinmcmanus.com/ : How many people here realize that he graduated from Southwestern Theological Seminary? I don't know, it just felt worth mentioning here. Read my previous comments. I said, "criticize McManus all day long if you want to", and I meant that...but do it based on more than 8 questions one day when he may or may not have been at his best. And my comment about not exegeting an interview excerpt stems immediately from that thought.

    That is too little material to decide that "brother McManus has some of his priorities out of order". If I am honest with myself, it is also too little material to decide that his passion is admirable. It's almost enough material to decide that he exists and that someone decided to interview him one day.

    That's all I have to say about it. No more comments...

    By Anonymous Andrew Short, at Wednesday, June 28, 2006 9:57:00 PM  

  • Wow, this is an all-time record for comments on a blog post on this blog. :)

    Andrew, thanks again.

    I had heard that he graduated from Southwestern. I had forgotten that, but I do remember reading it somewhere.

    Carla, from what she's told me, read over everything at Mr. McManus's website and all the associated links on his site before commenting about him at one of her blogs a while back.

    She and Matt Gumm are real people, and I do consider them friends. :) I haven't met them yet, though I hope to one of these days. Brigand lives in Evansville, so he's not TOO far.... but anyway....

    I'd be more than happy to retract what I've said if it can be demonstrated to be false. Perhaps EW wasn't at his best that day. That happens to all of us! If there is something in one of his other works or a sermon that he's preached that would contradict what he said in that interview, I'd be MORE than happy to publish a retraction of what I've said. Of course, in any case, in this interview he misspoke at best. I'd need a counter-example though to verify that.

    Since you and Patrick know him much better than myself, could I ask you a favor to provide me that example from what you've listended to or read?

    I'd appreciate it greatly.

    SDG,
    DBH

    By Blogger David B. Hewitt, at Wednesday, June 28, 2006 11:51:00 PM  

  • I found this link that had some good information in it. I can't fault EW here (unless I overlooked something); I admire his passion and desire to be sure, and wish more people had it.

    By Blogger David B. Hewitt, at Thursday, June 29, 2006 12:11:00 AM  

  • Maybe McManus' "craving" can both be the craving of the Holy Spirit within the saved AND the calling on the lost from the outside by Jesus?

    By Blogger Spliggybow, at Thursday, November 29, 2007 10:49:00 AM  

  • Erwin McManus teaches a flawed theology.

    I have been attending Mosaic L.A. for 3 years.

    The first problem with Pastor Erwin is his unwavering belief in his own rightness. He believes he has been anointed (small a) to tell the world about a Christ that we don't get because we're blinded by conventionality and tradition.

    Unfortunately, Pastor Erwin does more than just point us back to the Truth. He leaves out the foundations of Costly Grace: sin, the Cross, the need for holiness and obedience.

    These topics are addressed at Mosaic rarely, if at all. When they are, you get excited that maybe the fluff from before was just an abberation. And then the message veers back to "emergent" messages.

    There is little on sin, there is no call of the Spirit, it's the promise that "God has a plan for your life, to make you greater than you are." A health/wealth gospel but with achievement as the carrot, which plays well in film-industry L.A.

    It's a theology for you and not for you to give up everything to.

    Yes, Pastor Erwin has a defense for leaving out these tenents of the faith, "those words have been co-opted by mainstream Christianity." He has a defense for everything that might be called a criticism, as do his followers, but the fact is he does not base his teachings on that which Christ is paramount, on which Christ's power rests.

    He may say he gets there another way, but I haven't seen that way come to fruition, nor have I seen his teaching impact people I know at Mosaic in a lasting way. His messages are not really talked about during small group. They're just something you listen to, are stimulated by during the moment, then sort of forget about.

    This is not a personal attack against Erwin McManus the man, but it is a pointed critique of Erwin McManus the spiritual leader and theologian. If it appears that I am attacking him personally, consider how difficult it is to separate Erwin's beliefs from him as a person. Erwin McManus has become a brand name. The two are intertwined.

    "Beware those who come to preach a gospel other than the one we have told you..."

    As we all know, cheap grace is forgiveness without obedience, justification of sin without justification of the sinner. Without calling these things what they are, without using his passion to teach people how to embrace Christ, we are left with "God has a plan for your life, to tap into your dreams and aspirations." We get this EVERY WEEK. He points to the star where Jesus was born, but not a walk to the star, the way to walk like Jesus.

    He has said his biggest fear is having church be boring, and I wonder if he thinks a discipleship theology would be too boring for his media-focused audience. So we get dance troupes, and comedy-improv troupes, and short films, but not a feeding.

    Because of this misguided focus Mosaic is a spiritually-shallow place. The people are wonderful. It's a vibrant social-networking place for Christian-minded people in L.A. But it is not a place of discipleship or Christian truth.

    I hesitate to even call it a church, and you can notice that Mosaic doesn't call itself as such.

    Erwin does give long, joke-filled talks about his personal discoveries, using the Bible as a buffet in which to support his ideas. The amount of spiritual content is sometimes as little as 25% of his message. To put it bluntly, it's an Erwin-centered experience. Prayer, the Holy Spirit, the supernatural aspects of faith that help us to walk in the footsteps of Christ, these are not pronounced in a clear, literal way. But Pastor Erwin's TED conference experiences are.

    And think about this: Erwin travels all through the week, speaking at secular and spiritual conferences throughout the world. AND he is lead pastor at Mosaic, preaching at 4 services on Sunday. Is there spiritual wisdom in trying to do all this AND be a husband and father of 3? And write books on how he sees the true Christ and we need to learn from his teaching?

    He is the first to admit how busy he is, but I fear he does not understand the impact of this schedule on his life and worldview. He seems to be striking while the iron is hot, making sure he is relevant in the post-Christianity conversation by being everywhere he can be, but still doing a full-time job heading Mosaic as well? It doesn't really seem to be working from sitting in the audience.

    In response to the poster above calling the article a "witch hunt," I'm not surprised. There is a defensive, cultish aspect to Mosaic where people cannot openly have an opinion that contradicts Erwin McManus's. During his talks he often makes light of (ridicules) emails sent to him taking a different point of view than the one he has previously espoused.

    So someone like me does not write an email.

    You are quite right to question Erwin McManus's theology. The sheep know the shepherd's voice. I don't hear it at Mosaic, and after 3 years of trying to understand what's wrong with the community, I'm finally understanding.

    And yes, I'm posting as Anonymous because the passionate support for Erwin goes beyond the rational, as you can see from earlier posts.

    My hope is that God opens Erwin's eyes to his spiritual arrogance, and redirects a very good passion that he has into a deep theology that risks putting Erwin second to Jesus Christ.

    Emergent, traditional, these labels mean nothing. It's meeting Jesus in an honest way, from the heart. That's what people are truly craving.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Monday, April 07, 2008 6:36:00 PM  

  • Anonymous, at 6:36 PM, you hit the nail on the head! I don't know anything about Erwin specifically but there are tons of exploding, modern churches that match your statements.

    Feel-good messages full of humor and 'relevance' but lacking in Bible and doctrine.

    By Anonymous Clay, at Wednesday, November 12, 2008 11:39:00 PM  

  • I've just read the book "the barbarian way". I absolutely loved it as it articulated thoughts and opinions that i have formed in my study of the scriptures. i believe whole heartedly that the church is becoming comfy and responsible for the decay of our nation. we need to be barbaric in our outlook to conforming to the world. I believe that because the message of the cross is offensive, then the world will receive me as offensive. To take up our cross, to die to ourselves, to be a living sacrifice - all supports the idea of being barbaric. He states that the barbaric way is about love expressed through sacrifice and servanthood. i personnaly appreciate the thought process there. A barbarianism that tells me to turn the other cheek. He also speaks of us wanting to be barbaric but then being dumbed down by comfortable christian'ism'. Peter stating that he would die with Christ, only to deny him 3 times. John preaching in the desert and baptising but later wondering if Jesus 'was the one'. Those points brought up the desire to want to encourage others to maintain the fire. I was encouraged by the book to maintain the fire. I don't buy into the doctrine of finding a better you, or walking with God = prosperity, and for that matter, i did not see any of that in this book - in fact he states that it is intersting that the most blessed and rich nation has more literature on how to become more blessed. I want to help other believers to experience Christ by pointing to the Father as Christ did. I think that if you experience Christ, you will know Him in your personal way that is meaningful to you and in that, you will be consumed by His presence and continually transformed. So, us barbarians may travel different paths, but we are going the same direction. NOW I CHECK MYSELF. in no way am i saying that any belief will get to heaven. Jesus is the only way and we need to get on board with Him. I mention different paths in the context of how the body is described - separating the hand from the foot "can the hand say to the...." And this is where i saw some flaw in the delivery of erwin's message. It is loose in this area.
    1st half of the book read,,,,more to follow

    By Blogger mark, at Thursday, April 01, 2010 1:08:00 AM  

  • having a night between the first and last half of the book, i continued...
    Erwin speaks on suffering a bit and how it is in keeping with the barbaric way. I'm all about that,not that i enjoy suffering, but i understand it's purpose. In my journal i wrote..."i've always had the notion to enjoy suffering - not that i enjoy with enthusiasm the moment of grief or despair. but with joy, i endure the heart pain that i know as adventure. God has a purpose for me; there is nothing that happens that He has not planned either for me or someone else. Once you change your mind and rid yourself of the fear of suffering hardship, you can appreciate that God would have you suffer in the same manner Christ suffered for us. The manner is love"
    I finished the book with more approval than not - though i saw a tendency to err towards wrecklessness. I know that God is a God of order. He brings structure to chaos. He brings beauty to ashes. He redeems the worthless, he beautifies the ugly. He saved me! I will have a barbaric, fearless flavor of righteous order.

    having read the book, and never hearing of the author, and knowing little to a slim none of the idea of emerging church and the like,, i am glad i came to google this author. As you may figure, i was a bit taken back to read such hard comments about this man. but reading further into his ministry and the flare it seems to have, the red star cluster has been released and i am ever shrewd as a snake. A take away from the bloggers here is that the one defending the title of Erwin, seems to do just that - DEFEND ERWIN at all costs while the host repeatedly states his desire to bring out truth, inviting argument based on actual statements from the author, and for the ultimate purpose of edifying the body, bringing glory to God.

    This is my first time "blogging", hope this turns out well. I can't imagine what long winded sentences and paragraphs i've incorrectly written. As the host here repeatedly states, if there is something wrong in my statements here, PLEASE EDUCATE ME. i, also, am not above error and i sooooo want to be corrected by those in Christ, in love.

    servant of the king

    By Blogger mark, at Thursday, April 01, 2010 3:53:00 PM  

  • Mark:

    Thanks for your comments. It looks like to me that you have done what you are supposed to do with regard to the books you read by Erwin McManus. You took the good stuff and spit out the bad. :) I for one would say that your comment was right along where it should have been.

    Thanks again for dropping by.

    sdg,
    dbh

    By Blogger David B. Hewitt, at Monday, April 05, 2010 9:20:00 PM  

  • The "craving" that McManus speaks of sounds a lot like the "God-shaped void" that I grew up hearing about. And I must admit that I too, have seen a lot of excellent doctrine spoken but not applied. Perhaps that is what McManus refers to in his comment. I have not read much of his writing, but I intend to - oh, just for the record - I am 65 years old and not part of the emergent church either. However, I find much of what I've read on line so far intriguing enough to make me read more.

    Thanks for your comments. I found them helpful in so far as the quoted review was concerned.

    K. L. Bingham

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wednesday, July 28, 2010 10:30:00 AM  

  • Sir :
    I only have been going to Mosaic for 8 weeks. I've read two books by McManus and saw two of his videos. During all my exposure to him and his works I did not once come across the word "sin". Should this be a concern or is it too early to make an assessment?

    For starters I want to say I didn't read your entire article, but it does seem like you gave a fair review of your impressions of McManus.

    Despite your review and my observation I still like the guy and plan to keep going to Mosaic. One of the other posters said it was not like a church. THAT is partly the reason why I keep going back. Being a philosophy graduate I also appreciate some of the things he says and writes and I learn from them; for example, in Soul Cravings to the question of "If there is a God why is there evil?" McManus responds "If there were no God would there be evil in the world and who would be responsible?" I don't know about you, but I find that a witty response.

    But perhaps I am missing something or am not given the entire spiritual picture. So I will probably try out a second church to get a different perspective and make up my own mind.

    Peace to you

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thursday, December 16, 2010 6:51:00 PM  

  • You are 100% correct David. As you know, and I think you even mentioned, this is not discussion on whether or not this person is saved, or if there are people in his church getting saved. There is no perfect church. We all have strengths and weaknesses. But we grow together as one body, striving for perfection, which is an on going journey. As long as Jesus is the center point of any church, there are people being saved. Now if a church has that, but is clearly off in places, theology wise etc, then it is are obligation as brothers and sisters to bring this to attention. Also, we must be careful to be constantly checking in with the Holy Spirit and not trusting are own logic. Thank you for your integrity, it is not easy to do what you did. There will always be someone who will not understand where it is coming from. Everyone is in a different place in their walk, and some are not walking at all. Keep up the good work! God bless you my brother, and may you continue to grow in His love and wisdom.
    In His service,
    Chad

    By Blogger chad bishop, at Tuesday, February 08, 2011 1:31:00 PM  

  • to whom it may concern, i am a Bible College student and this is great stuff for my Church and Culture class debate on Leonard Sweet's Culture matrix, there are four views on message and method from low change to high change in both categories. That being siad i am a broken man clinging to Grace, Faith, Repentance of Sin all culminating in Jesus's relationship with the Father.i find myself honoured to read insight from humble and passionate followers. Thanks again.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wednesday, March 02, 2011 7:01:00 AM  

  • Interesting that this thread has been continuing. :) Glad this has been beneficial to God's people.

    sdg,
    dbh

    By Blogger David B. Hewitt, at Saturday, March 05, 2011 10:00:00 AM  

  • I watched a video on Mcmanus website. And he interviews a muslim and to the watcher of the video, he and his muslim friend suggest that the god of the muslim qur'an (allah) is the same god as The God of teh Bible. Slice it anyway you want, but that is false teaching.

    Eph 4:14-15
    Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won't be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.

    John 10:2-4
    But the one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice.

    John 10:14 "I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, ~Jesus

    o you know His voice?

    How do you get to know His voice?

    Read & study your Bible for yourself and be in fellowship with a sound bible teaching church.

    2 Timothy 2:15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

    By Blogger ReceiveTheRealJesus, at Monday, September 26, 2011 2:52:00 PM  

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