Category Archives: Emergent Church

Reflections on my journey, to The Journey

I made the trip to St. Louis for a couple of reasons, but first and foremost to meet Darrin Patrick for myself. The lead pastor of The Journey and I had exchanged several emails over the course of a year and at some point he extended an invitation to me to come and see for myself.

As much as I looked forward to meeting Pastor Patrick, I wanted to look him in the eye and apologize for a harsh and judgmental spirit. I wrote a blog article back in January 2007 concerning an event hosted by The Journey called Theology at the Bottleworks. Although I would still strongly disagree with any ministry that would incorporate any tool to reach people that would detract from the message and integrity of the Gospel, Further research and conversation, and prayer, led me to the conviction that I jumped to conclusions in some ways. I also was convicted of the Lord that I was not exhibiting the compassion and mercy I should have as a believer. Continue reading

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One-On-One with Darrin Patrick

The emergent church…the emerging church…the Midrash…the mission to St. Louis; I discuss all this and more with Darrin Patrick, lead pastor of The Journey. Listen for yourself as Pastor Patrick and I sat down to do a live radio program in the beautiful sanctuary of this urban St. Louis fellowship.

Listen HERE!

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One-on-One with Mark Driscoll

What is his heart for ministry? How does he respond to critics? John MacArthur contacted him recently; what was that about? These are a few of the topics I discussed recently with pastor and author Mark Driscoll in a interview taped at Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Washington. As usual, this interview is sure to generate discussion and we certainly welcome your comments. This is a portion of the audio from the video taped interview. We plan on making both formats available in their entirety soon.


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Goals in 2008

Here are some thoughts on 2008 and goals or hopes I have for the new year.

Family-In 2007, I came to understand more than ever that the most important thing I can do, for all areas of my life, is that I be the best husband and father I can be. I always knew this, but the Lord really drove the point home to me. Voddie Baucham’s book Family Driven Faith made a big impression on me and instilled in me again that the most important ministry I have been blessed with is that of my family, and no longer will I sacrifice my family on the altar of ministry.

Ministry– The radio program continues to expand and take directions that surprise me. We have done a lot of traveling in the last three months and that will continue during 2008. The book project on the Emergent Church is progressing and I anticipate its conclusion this year (pray it will all come together and a publishing arrangement will come together). Our relationship with Salem Communications has been a very positive thing and while the syndication project has been slow in developing, our association with has been tremendously positive. The thousands of emails we have received from listeners around the world has been so wonderful.

Relationships– One of the greatest blessings has been the relationships the Lord has placed us in. I won’t name people because it sounds too much like name-dropping, but we have been blessed with the opportunity to know and work with many people and ministries who are so wonderfully committed to the Gospel and it is an honor to serve with them. I look forward to what the Lord has in store for 2008.

Blogging-While our blog has gotten a lot of attention and has proven to be a very valuable tool with everything else we do, it has also become a distraction of sorts. One of the regrets that I have about my blog, and blogging in general, is that many times they are used as tools of attack and conjecture, used many times to go for people throats rather than ministry. I have been guilty of jumping to conclusions, making accusations before knowing the facts, and worse yet, drawing more attention to myself than to the Gospel and that is not what we as Christians should be about. Plus many times I have found myself feeling pressured to post something, anything, on the blog, just because I haven’t written anything lately. Blogging is a wonderful tool and should be used wisely. As Christians who use this medium as a tool of ministry, we should always keep that first and foremost in our hearts and minds. We should be assertive, bold and clear, but if we lack love, compassion and mercy, then something is wrong. Supper with a friend in Dallas not long ago helped me to really understand this.

Personally-I am thankful to our Lord for taking me to the woodshed on many occasions. I am confident in my motives and intentions, but sometimes I lack compassion for the very ones I say I am taking the Gospel too. During my trip to an emergent church conference in Texas last year, I came to understand that many times I have been harsh and unloving, especially when it came to those involved in that movement. While I strongly disagree with many of the views of some of those promoting the emergent doctrines, and I will contend for the faith with fervor and without fear, I am still mandated by my Lord to love those folks and to show it and act it. This is difficult at times, but we must speak the truth in love.

These are just a few reflections, and there is so much more to share. I am very hopeful about the days and weeks to come. I will admit that at times I am so overwhelmed with the tasks at hand, that sometimes I have to just step away and breath. But what a glorious honor it is to be even a small part of what God is doing. Praise His Name.

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MacArthur: The Emergent Church is a Form of Paganism

From, comes this interview by Paul Edwards, host of “The Paul Edwards Program” on WLQV in Detroit, with John MacArthur about the emerging church movement in America.

Paul Edwards: Help me with this—the emerging church prides itself on conversation, having a conversation, so let’s have a conversation. How can you have a conversation with someone, when you’re not even speaking the same language?

John MacArthur: Let me just cut to the chase on this one: [Doug] Pagitt is a Universalist. What he was saying is real simple. He was saying when you die your spirit goes to God and judgment means that whatever was not right about you, whatever was bad about you, whatever was substantially lacking about you, gets all resolved. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a Buddhist, a Hindu or a Muslim—doesn’t matter whether you’re a Christian really; we’re all going to end up in this wonderful, warm and fuzzy relationship with God. That’s just classic universalism.

I think you know it’s most helpful, Paul, to go back and kind of recast how we view these people. He’s not a pastor; he’s not a Christian; that’s not a church. When you call yourself a Christian and you call yourself a pastor and you say you have a church, all of that has to be—to be legitimate—defined biblically. And if it’s not, that’s not a church and you’re not a pastor and you’re not even a Christian.

What you have here is a form of false religion … A form of paganism that basically wants to be thought of as Christian because it gains a certain ground. But the underlying bottom line of this whole emerging movement is they don’t believe in any doctrine, they don’t believe in any theology. They don’t want to be forced to interpret anything in scripture a certain way and the out is, “Well the Bible isn’t clear anyway.” In other words, we don’t know what it means; we can’t know what it means. 

Brian McLaren says nobody has ever gotten it right—we haven’t got it right now—so let’s not make an issue out of anything. Let’s just be open to everything. Let’s not take a position on theology, or for that matter, on morality or behavior because, hey, there’s no judgment anyway so we’re all going to end up in God in some ethereal, eternal relationship. And that’s just non-Christian. It is blatantly, flagrantly non-Christian. It’s as non-Christian as any false religion.

Read the entire interview…..

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Trying to catch up…

I pray everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. Mine was tremendous! I spent some much needed time away with my wife and children and it was hard to come back to work,but work I must and I thought I would take a few seconds to shoot some info your way.

  •  Voddie Baucham will be back on the radio program scheduled for Monday December 3rd. Dr. Baucham and I will be discussing his book Family Driven Faith. As I have said before, God has greatly blessed me through this book and I know you will be blessed and instructed as well.
  • We are excited about our trip to Seattle, Washington on December 15th. My wife Susie and I will travel there for the first time to do research for our book on the emergent church. We will be visiting Mars Hills Church, video taping an interview with Pastor Mark Driscoll and doing the radio program from there live on the 15th.
  • Then on December 27, the entire Corley family loads up and heads to Chattanooga, Tennessee for the Reality Check 07 Conference, hosted by Anchored in Truth Ministries. We look forward to seeing our friends Brother Jeff Noblit, Brother Paul Washer and all of the family from First Baptist Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Join us if you can in beautiful southeast Tennessee. Find out more at
  • Lastly, we are prayerfully seeking preaching opportunties. We will travel wherever the Lord leads, whether it is a church, a conference, a seminar, an event or whatever. We want to be where we can proclaim the truth of the Gospel. Please consider inviting us to your area to minister. Call us today at 888-253-9254. We don’t require some advanced  donation or anything like that. If you can help with travel and hotel expenses and provide an offering to the work, that would be great, but if the Lord wills that we be there, He will provide.

PRAYER REQUEST!- We continue to face a huge challenge in the day-to-day operation expenses of WQBC Radio, our base here in Vicksburg, MS. While we have scaled back expenses there is still a significant need for funding of the station itself. Please pray for the provision of WQBC and of course for the radio ministry as a whole.

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Few more thoughts on the EC

I think we have have probably discussed the Emergent Church well enough that we can move to another topic on the radio program. We will continue of of course to talk  the ECM, and especially when we receive the video from the conference itself. But at this point, I wanted to post a few more thoughts:

  • The “emergent seeker” is not someone we should just criticize and cast away. We should pray for them, love them and share the truth with them. So be prepared!
  • The emergent leaders are a different story. It is hard to believe that some of these people “just don’t know”, or “just have a different perspective”. Its possible i guess, but my opinion is that they have known the truth and choose to reject it. Most of them are seminary educated and very intelligent.
  • Not ever person and/or leader who place themselves, or are labeled by others, as being “emerging or emergent” are of the stereotypical emergent/emerging ilk that openly promote or endorse false teachings. Apparently there is a difference between emergent and emerging, but I have yet to understand the distinctions. I met people at the Emergence 07 conference that I sensed were very sincere, loved God and were truly wanting to know the truth. They just wanted to reach people.
  • You can do things and utilize methods and tools that reach people and not compromise the Gospel. It can be done. The Lord Jesus did it. The apostles did it. We can do it. So why isn’t it being done?
  • We can, and must, speak the truth in love. If we say we are say we love God and people, and our hearts desire and calling is to reach people with the Gospel, but we lack compassion, mercy and humility, there is a problem. Some may think that’s it difficult to do these things, and you are right. There are times when we need to turn over the table of the moneychangers. The Lord Jesus was most forceful and indeed angry with the religious leaders, who knew they were wrong and proclaiming a lie. But with the woman at the well things were different. We must be ” wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” Matthew 10:16.
  • I have come to really understand how drastic this situation really is. The influence of the teaching/philosophy of the ECM is tremendous. It goes to the deepest core of our society and not just within Christianity, but it is spilling over into secular society and indeed draws from it, which may be even more dangerous. Now is not the time to slow down, it is time to speed up our efforts.
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Day Two at Emergence 07 and a conclusion

Day two at Emergence 07 in Austin Texas started early Saturday at Gateway Church. The days schedule began with the attendees broke off into small groups as the speakers took turn fielding questions on a variety of issues, most dealing with church growth and theology.Next, came a message by Scot McKnight on dealing with six questions emergent seekers ask that are not safe to ask in traditional churches; as Dr. McKnight put it questions that are asked by seekers but are being rejected by evangelical churches. The questions dealt with 1. The Bible, 2. Science, 3. Christian and Church Integrity, 4. Hell, 5. The God of the Bible and 6. Sexuality. Following Dr. McKnight address, the panelists took turns asking McKnight about his comments and taking questions from the audience.I received an email today from a reader, Jake, who was disappointed with my blogs posts saying,It’s easy to give vague statements about how “many basic tenets of the faith were called into question or even outright rejected” and “the running theme here is ambiguity, doubt and uncertainty about almost everything”.  Would you care to offer some specific examples?  Until you do, it seems to me that all you’re really doing is leveling serious accusations about the speakers while offering absolutely no evidence to back them up.

I commend you for being much more gracious in your criticisms than many who dislike what some emergent leaders teach.  But routinely such criticisms seem to consist of vague statements with little critical engagement of actual points of disagreement.I appreciate Jakes comments and agree in part. I do plan on offering specific examples, in fact the actual audio of specific statements. The fact is the production, editing and reviewing needed to present these materials takes time, and I am basically a one-man operation. I arrived in Vicksburg very late, around 1:30am, slept for about two hours before leaving for another engagement today. As I said, we will be providing specifics on statement I made in the first Austin post. But let me say this, and Doug Pagitt so much as said the same thing, everything said at the conference is consistent with the writings and teachings of the respective speakers. Lastly, let me say again, that my going to Austin for this conference was not to mock or belittle anyone. Attending this conference was a tremendous awakening experience for me, also a convicting one. More still to come and please listen to out radio program on Monday October 21.

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