Emerging/Emergent Quiz…

Here’s the game. Read the following quotes and give yourself a score on how many you disagree with (you are not saying you disagree with me, but rather with the quotes in question).  

1. “The Bible is one f______ scary book.” – Tony Jones, national coordinator of the Emergent Villiage (www.tonyj.net). I encourage you to comment on Tony’s new blog and let him know what you think of his statement.

2. Steve Chalke and Brian McLaren have both suggested that the subsitutionary view of Christ’s atonement is like “cosmic child abuse.”

3. Rob Bell in Velvet Elvis, “I have been told that I need to believe in Jesus. Which is a good thing. But what I am learning is that Jesus believes in me.”

4. Steve Chalke in the Lost Message of Jesus: “God affirms the orginal goodness of mankind.”

5. Rob Bell in Velvet Elvis, “God has an incredibly high view of people.”

6. “The problem, I think, at least in the Christian tradition, is that grace always seems to have no meaning apart from sin. The two concepts are always linked. Its not that I think sin is a myth or that everyone is perfect; it’s just that I believe linking grace to sin detracts from its beauty and intensity.” Spencer Burke, Heretics Guide to Eternity. Hmm, that’s an interesting position in light of Titus 3:3-4, 1 Corinthians 6:10-11. and 1 Timothy 1:13-14.

7. “Because in the kingdom of God, fun and play are important things…because in the kingdom of God, dignity and pride are also important things.” Brian McLaren, The Secret Message of Jesus.

8. “Moses was what we might call a revolutionary political leader and liberator, a cross perhaps between George Washington and Nelson Mandela.” So, in light of Hebrews, Jesus is not a better mediator than Moses; rather, He is a better revolutionary – a better cross between Washington and Mandela?

9. “. . We are already in unless we want to be out. This is the real scandal of Jesus. His message eradicated the need for religion. It may come as a surprise, but Jesus has never been in the religion business. He’s in the business of grace, and grace tells us there is nothing we need to do to find relationship with the divine. The relationship is already there; we only need to nurture it. Of course, growing up, I had a much different concept of grace. I grew up in an environment where grace was described as ‘unmerited favor.’ The only problem was that getting this ‘unmerited favor’ still required doing something – namely, ‘asking Jesus in your heart’ or praying a prayer.” Spencer Burke, A Heretics Guide to Eternity.

10. Steve Chalke suggests that the following from a children’s VBS is not the gospel:

(1) God created me. (2) I am a sinner. (3) Jesus came to die for me. (4) Until I accept him as Lord and Savior I cannot receive the abundant life God has for me.

He then presents what he believes is the gospel:

(1) Jesus explained that God loves them unconditionally. (2) God longs for them to be part of his plan for creation. (3) Jesus teaches that no-one can keep them from this destiny except their own decision. (4) Jesus’ death and his resurrection form the dead prove that he was telling the truth so we can trust him.

How many did you disagree with out of 10? Here’s the scale; call me harsh if you must:

0-3/10: I’d bet my money that you are emergent/emerging. If you don’t like the label and consequently won’t fess up to it, you’re proving my point.

4-5/10: I’d call you a soft evangelical with very little biblical/theological discernment.

6-8/10: You probably like to think of yourself as balanced. After all, Jesus was balanced right?

9/10: You are a fundamentalist or a conservative evangelical, but you thought I was unfair with one of the quotes above. I can deal with that.

10/10: Congratulations; you agree with me. What does that make you?  

  1. #1 by Samuel Laurence Guzman on November 6, 2007 - 8:17 am

    Those are some of the most heretical statements I’ve heard coming from so called Christians. How someone could speak of the death of Christ as cosmic child abuse is beyond me. What balsphemy. We need to write a book on these folks 🙂

  2. #2 by clearly on November 6, 2007 - 9:03 am

    Let’s do it.

  3. #3 by Phil on November 6, 2007 - 10:56 am

    Well, I’m Pentecostal, and I agree with most of those statements, so what does that make me?

  4. #4 by Verity on November 6, 2007 - 12:15 pm

    Confused? What ones do you disagree with?

    I think, Clearly, that the concept of man’s worth in light of who God is, is very poorly understood. It took me reading God’s Passion for His Glory to really, really get a sense of God’s awesomeness – and that only because it constantly took me to Scripture. I understand why people get tripped up on this one (numbers 3,4,5) – but that obviously does not make it okay… I wish, how I wish! we saw God revealed enough to cry with Isaiah “Woe is me!!!”

    Man doesn’t seem to need Christ, and His blood, and the atonement anymore… I want to go and cry – when I hear how the gospel ought to be presented to little ones….

    And, grace is intensified, and God supremely glorified, when we see the horrendous depths of sin He has saved us from.

  5. #5 by Texas Ron Linebarger on November 6, 2007 - 3:09 pm

    Paul said that a carnal man cannot understand the things of God. It is still true today. Neither can a man who has not been born again or the natural man. The Corinthians acted and thought like a person without Jesus for the most part. Only a spiritual man can discern the things of the spirit. Often the academics of man make the glass a little harder to see though, not allowing one to see clearly. If, at our best spiritually, we agree with the words of the Apostle Paul and say “now we see thought a glass darkly or dimly,” then, when we are out of fellowship with our Lord, we face an even darker glass?

  6. #6 by Samuel Laurence Guzman on November 6, 2007 - 4:14 pm

    “And, grace is intensified, and God supremely glorified, when we see the horrendous depths of sin He has saved us from.”

    Amen! I agree with your whole comment. No one wants to here about depravity anymore. It makes us feel “icky” and we can’t have that. But, as you said, we cannot know how depraved we are until we know how holy God is.

    What we have today is a humanistic, man-centered gospel. It’s all about man, man, man; what can God do for man? The Gospel I find in the Word is all about God and the “praise of his glory”. If we could only understand why God does what he does! The motivation for everything God does is for his own praise and to show forth his own greatness. We truly do have a great salvation, and it should cause us to rejoice. But the Gospel, at its core, is not about man; rather, it is about God.

    And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;2Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:3Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

    “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

    “Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.”
    Ephesians 3:21

  7. #7 by Verity on November 6, 2007 - 4:41 pm


    I was also thinking about these verses today: “Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?” Romans 5:20 – 6:1 Grace, and sin, are so obviously connected….

  8. #8 by Todd on November 6, 2007 - 5:41 pm

    Not sure why I read your blog–I guess it’s out of the sort of interest that people can’t peel themselves away from trainwrecks.

    Anyway, here’s my “jerk-move”: when I read through this quiz and the majority of the responses, I was reminded of Jesus’ parable in Luke xviii,9-14. I hear the voice of the man loudly praying “God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week” et cetera et cetera.

    I’m not saying that I’m not a hypocrite in what I’m saying. I am, afterall, reading your blog and annoyed enough to say, essentially, “you’re wrong and I’m right.” This is something for both of us to think about. Think about the Body of Christ and how dare any man think that he is one who can tear what God has unified.

    And this is immature and ironically self-righteous, but I really can’t hold myself back from the answer to your mocking “10/10: Congratulations; you agree with me. What does that make you?” A Pharisee.

    “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!” The Gospel might begin here for more people than we might think. One last thought corny thought-experiment, maybe it’s not so much me being right against you being right, but rather God’s Truth, against man’s truth. Hold that thought about that’s what you are trying to say with this blog and think honestly about how that statement would sound in anyone’s mouth.

    God, be merciful to me, a sinner!

  9. #9 by Samuel Laurence Guzman on November 6, 2007 - 6:25 pm

    Todd: You’re refrain of “God be merciful to me a sinner” is exactly what we are talking about. No one wants to talk about sin anymore. In fact, people don’t like sin so much that they are trying to re-invent the Gospel to get rid of it.

    What seems to irk you is that anyone would take an absolute stand on anything. I think you, and many others like you, fear an absolute standard. What you perceive as arrogance is simply standing by the truth. That never has been and never will be popular. But Truth is not relative. You may perceive this as arrogance, but often times being a man includes sticking by what you believe.

    Many of your ilk say that we who point out error are Pharisees. However, pointing out error does not necessarily stem from arrogance (though it may). On the contrary, it often (and in the case of this blog, does) stems from love and a concern for those who may be honestly mislead by error. Should we watch out for pride? Of course; we are all susceptible to it. However, I believe that many of us, including Clearly, understand the reponsibility that teachers have. Any one who teaches the truth will be held to a higher standard by God. For this reason, these issues are never approached without fear and trembling, and yes, self-examination.

    At any rate, I think you accusation of this blog and its author is, at best, unfair. I’m not sure what you would expect Clearly to say. He has one of the most gracious blogs that I have read when it comes to these issues. There are blogs dealing with the emergent church that are much more vitriolic in their approach. Contrary to your claim, Clearly is not arrogant in the least. I know him personally and he has a very humble spirit and a heart for the things of God.

    Before you accuse him of Phariseeism, be sure to examine your own heart and motives and see if it is actually his message, one of absolutes, that you dislike and not his approach. I fear that this is the case.

  10. #10 by dissent on November 11, 2007 - 8:19 am

    I could not disagree with your assessment more Samuel. What takes place in the comment section of this blog is more akin to mutual spiritual [edited by blog owner, please keep comments appropriate] than pointing out truth.

    God is seeking to reconcile all things back to Himself. Christ’s redemption was cosmic in nature. Pointing these things out and living in this reality is at the heart of the gospel, right alongside sin and grace.

    Be satisfied in the person of God and in His work. Don’t sit around here telling each other how right you are and how wrong the rest of the world is. This blog is more often than not a disgusting show of self love.

  11. #11 by Verity on November 11, 2007 - 4:25 pm

    Oh dear…

    Dissent, I think you misunderstand the intentions of most on here. We have, through personal experiences, felt the ramifications of this new gospel. And, in an attempt to keep one another informed, and engaged, we share. This has less to do with self-love, than a love of God, and a love of truth.

    I refuse to love people to hell with a false doctrine. I refuse to be sucked into a gospel that promises hope to countless numbers apart from the only Way of salvation – through Jesus Christ. I, and those on here, love others enough to speak the truth, in love.

    Sometimes we err. Sometimes, in our passion for God’s Word, and His glory, we come across as harsh and proud -and for my part in that, I am sorry. But do not mistake that for a love of self…..

    I believe in the absolute authority of Scripture. I believe that there are truths to be known, and rejoice in them….


    What does “Christ’s redemption is cosmic in nature” mean?

  12. #12 by vince on November 12, 2007 - 4:11 pm

    I don’t see how number 1 would lead someone to agree/disagree with you…it seems to be a basic axiom that the Bible is scary.

  13. #13 by clearly on November 12, 2007 - 6:45 pm


    Good point. However, “general axioms” don’t usually include the f-word. Also, while the Bible can be scary (especially if we have a guilty conscience), it is usually a great source of challenge and comfort.

  14. #14 by vince on November 13, 2007 - 11:34 am

    Let’s not throw out truth because we don’t like the vocabulary.

  15. #15 by thegreatapostasy on November 19, 2007 - 3:47 pm

    I got 10/10. What does that make me? I think it makes me a sinner — a real life, deserving-hell type of sinner — who’s saved only by God’s overwhelming and undeserved grace (His “unmerited favor”).

    Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a WRETCH like me …


  16. #16 by Gene on December 3, 2007 - 5:29 pm

    “Think about the Body of Christ and how dare any man think that he is one who can tear what God has unified.”

    I would dare say this: Anyone who doesn’t believe in the inerrancy and sufficiency of scripture, and who doesn’t agree that God is angry with the wicked every day, that hell is our just dessert and the only mediator between man and God is Jesus Christ, that repentance and faith are necessary to salvation, or anyone who does agree with these heretical emergent make-beliefs, is very likely NOT a part of the body of Christ. The belief that God is happy with all, and we just need to cultivate our relationship with him and not really be concerned about our past or present sins is not a biblical concept.

    Paul contended for the Truth, and so must the body of Christ.

  17. #17 by Karen Greer on May 1, 2008 - 9:17 am

    Wow, sounds like rank heresy to me. And people think these guys are actually teaching the Bible?!

  18. #18 by Tony on March 23, 2009 - 10:03 pm

    I disagree with 9/10…The only one I agree with is #1. while i don’t like the f word…especially in the same sentence as the Bible…God’s word can be frightening at times. yeah its encouraging, comforting, but its also described as a sword…being convicted of sin, reading about lost souls going to hell, and then there are some pretty disturbing stories in the OT. The Bible affects ppl in many ways…while all of them are ultimately good, not all are comforting.
    Just a note, I don’t know if I like your scale at the end…if people don’t agree with you, mock them? That’s not the best way to get others to see your point of view. Its attitudes like that that turn people away.

  19. #19 by Cole J. Banning on January 21, 2011 - 7:55 am

    I agree with 10 out of 10 of these statements, but I have way too high an ecclesiology (and Eucharistic theology?) to be an Emergent Christian. I think Roman Catholics and other Anglo-Catholics would all have a great deal of difficulty with this test.

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