Chapter 4 – The American Church

2: The American Church

No one can grasp the American Church of 2011 through one book or even through one hundred books because of the vastly diverse opinions, viewpoints, belief systems, doctrines, denominations, leaders, books, blogs, and television shows. Despite this, it is absolutely necessary to understand the state of the Church within American culture to begin to understand the world in which young Christian athletes live. No subculture operates in a vacuum and although these athletes may need support, encouragement, information, and a reconstruction of values unique to American youth, American culture and the American Church have created the air in which they breathe, the thoughts they use to express themselves, the example for them to live out, and the very foundation that their lives are built upon.

It has been almost five hundred years since Luther’s 95 Theses; in some ways nothing has changed, but in many other ways everything has. Christians are still discussing predestination, grace versus works, and other questions that nobody will every answer completely until Christ returns and explains it to us. Outside these questions about doctrine and beliefs, something much bigger looms on the horizon. The world is changing, especially the Western world of Europe and the United States, and people no longer think the way that they did two hundred years ago. Modernism has begun giving way to postmodernism, argued by some to be the completion of modernism and argued by others to be a reaction against modernism. Either way, postmodernism takes modern though and expands it much further than any modern thinker conceived. The postmodern ideas of Jacques Derrida, Jean-François Lyotard, and Michel Foucault have slowly crept into the modern mind, changing the way that many people think and relate to the world.

In spite of these new ideas, the Western world is far from united in this movement from modernity to postmodernity and it will doubtless take a couple more generations before the U.S. can be said to be solidly postmodern. One thing keeping the U.S. from fully embracing postmodernism is the larger American Church’s firm grip on modernity, white-knuckled and unwilling to move into another realm of thinking. As mentioned in the introduction, one must remember that modernity was and is no friend to Christianity. Modernity promotes the self and self-sufficiency as gods and encourages idolatry through naturalism, a trend that continues into postmodernity.[1] Modernity breaks everything down into scientific and well reasoned arguments, a trend that the postmodern mind rejects but the Church has embraced. In reality, the Church looks modern because it has sought to be relevant to modern people, giving up some aspects of pure Christian belief to achieve this relevancy. A similar thing is happening in the American Church with postmodernity with some Christians seeking to be relevant to postmodern culture, at the expense of other aspects of pure Christian belief.

Some Christians like Phyllis Tickle, Doug Pagitt, Tony Jones, or Brian McLaren would argue that the current struggle within the Western Church, of which the American Church is part, is simply a reflection of what happens every five hundred years or so in church history. Tickle references Gregory the Great’s institution of monasticism during his papacy in the late sixth and early seventh century as the first example of this, followed by the Great Schism in 1054, followed by what she has termed, “The Great Emergence” of the twenty-first century.[2] Other Christians like Ted Kluck and Kevin DeYoung explain that this “Great Emergence” and the Emerging Church movement which ascribes to this hypothesis, is really not an acceptable direction for the American Church to move.[3] The tension between Emerging Christians and those who are not emerging is twofold. The first area of tension is simply that the Emerging movement is different from mainstream Protestantism and as such, is misunderstood. This is understandable because everyone alive today has only ever experienced a modern church and though Christians want to relate to the world around them, it has historically been difficult for the greater church body to adapt to culture in a way that retains the true message of the Bible and engages people on their level of understanding and worldview. Invariably something is always lost and often what is lost is regained in the next swing of church trends. But this leads directly to the second major tension, the concern of the non-emerging that the emerging have made grievous errors in their attempts at relevancy, abandoning areas that are necessary for the biblical Gospel and therefore preaching a gospel that is no longer the Gospel.

“The Great Emergence” is most clearly seen in the younger generation, those around age thirty and younger. But even those must be separated into categories because many on the older side of this generation, those age twenty-five and older were not necessarily raised in a culture of postmodernism and much of their views come from an attitude of something resembling contempt for the modern American Church arising from their skepticism. The younger generation is filled with youth who have been surrounded with postmodern culture from birth and they are increasingly unchurched rather than skeptically churched. Since the focus of this work is on the younger generation of churched youth, older group of postmoderns and the unchurched younger group will not be discussed except in relation to our primary group of young churched athletes. While many youth are simply unchurched, increasingly large numbers of youth who have grown up in church are leaving Christianity or walking out lives completely inconsistent with the Gospel while still claiming Christianity. The problem the Church faces is how to rescue this generation in a way that is both consistent with the Gospel, relevant to American culture, and faithful to Christ.

The Traditional (Modern) Church

Perhaps one of the best ways to begin an explanation of the modern American Church is to use the words provided from God to encourage and correct seven churches of Asia in Revelation.[4] The revelation given to John begins with Jesus speaking to the churches of Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea. The statements made to the churches are generally accepted to be at least twofold, speaking to the specific seven churches of the day and also describing the seven conditions of the Church universally throughout time.[5] Other prophetic interpretations are put forth by scholars, but for the sake of this discussion, only these two interpretations will be used. In the following passages, Jesus makes it clear to the Church that He does not desire any church to be so closed that people cannot get in or so open that anyone can come in. Three of the churches focus primarily on correcting this type of extremism. Understanding these tendencies towards extremism that result in error in American Church in 2011 will lead our discussion on how to best reach the Christian youth athlete[RZ1] .

It is impossible and foolish to place a church body consisting of thousands of churches into one category without risking being guilty of an over-simplified blanket statement. The summary and evaluation that follows is a generalized view of the American Church as a whole, not a statement about individual churches, denominations, or areas of the country. Clearly there are churches, denominations, and areas that will not fit into this explanation, but a more broad view of the Church as observed culturally is absolutely necessary for understanding the times. As a general statement, the American Church of modern times would probably align best with Christ’s word to the church in Ephesus. Jesus exhorts the church in Ephesus,

I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false; and you have perseverance and have endured for My name’s sake, and have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place — unless you repent. Yet this you do have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. (Rev. 2:2-6)

The Ephesian church was commended for several things, not the least of which was an intolerant view of sin, evil, and false witnesses. As Kinnaman and Lyons explain, this is often how American Christianity has been portrayed, not only to those outside the Church but those within. Kinnaman’s research found that 91 percent of Americans outside the Church and 80 percent of those inside the Church between ages 16 to 29 describe present-day Christianity as “antihomosexual,” with 87 and 52 percent, outside and inside the Church respectively, using the word “judgmental” in their description.[6] This view of present-day Christianity may seem too harsh and far from flattering. But considering Jesus’ indictment, this must have been similar to how the Ephesians were viewed by those outside the Church at that time. Truth without love creates an environment where Christians are better known for what they oppose than what they support, a condition all too prevalent in the modern Church.

To add to this already uncomfortable assessment, the third most frequently indicated phrase used to describe present-day Christianity by those ages 16 to 29 was “hypocritical,” 85 percent outside and 47 percent inside the Church agreeing with this depiction.[7] It seems that there are two interconnected reasons why this view is so prevalent with non-Christians. The first is that American Christians lives are strikingly similar to the lives of non-Christians. Another study conducted by Barna in 2007 revealed, “When asked to identify their activities over the last thirty days, born-again believers were just as likely to bet or gamble, to visit a pornographic website, to take something that did not belong to them,… to physically fight or abuse someone, to have consumed enough alcohol to be considered legally drunk…” and several other activities not condoned in the Bible.[8] The second reason for the view of Christians as hypocritical is that 37 percent of born-again Christians responded in Kinnaman’s studies that “lifestyle – doing the right thing, being good, not sinning” was the most popular in listing the top two or three priorities for a Christian.[9] Since Christians are claiming that their lifestyle is the most important part of Christianity while having remarkably similar lifestyles to those outside the Christian faith, it is unsurprising that the present-day Christian is considered to be a hypocrite. Both Christians inside the Church and non-Christians outside seem to be getting this message loud and clear; though Christians are more likely to be understanding of other Christians’ struggles with sin and therefore less likely to consider their brothers and sisters as hypocrites, still almost half of the young Christians surveyed agreed with the statement. Christians who feel their lifestyle is the most important priority would logically focus on the lifestyle of others, making them judgmental rather than loving and at the same time, showing them to be hypocritical because they do not actually live morally superior lives.

To the modern Church’s credit, it has largely rejected sins like sexual promiscuity, homosexuality, drug and alcohol abuse, and adultery in the face of a culture that has accepted many of these things as normal and natural. This is reflected in Jesus commendation to the Ephesians for their rejection of the Nicolaitans. There are several thoughts about who the Nicolaitans were including the identification of them as followers Nicolas of Antioch or as a group who elevated the clergy over the laity. However, in context, neither of these views are supported by the text. Because of this, some scholars connect the Nicolaitans to the teaching of Balaam, explained in Revelation 2:14-15, and believe this group was guilty of teaching Christians to eat foods sacrificed to idols and participate in sexual immorality.[10] Jesus tells the church that He hates those things as well, commending them for their intolerance.

Present-day Christians struggle with studies like the ones quoted above that were conducted by Barna because they see their intolerance for sin as a badge of honor, something to be commended for like the Ephesians were. But the Church has failed to recognize that intolerance for sin coupled with a lost love for Christ is nothing to be commended for. Jesus commands the Church to repent of this sin and return to the things that she did in the beginning. Jesus does not tolerate a Church the does not love people yet claims to love God. The Apostle John explains, “If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.”[11] Jesus was clear in His teaching that love is a necessary part of the life of a Christ follower. If repentance does not happen, Jesus indicates that He will remove the lampstand from its place, a serious reality that demands our attention.

The Relevant (Emerging) Church

In many ways, the development of the emerging church is a reaction against many of the perceptions of those outside the Church. Many within the Church recognize that the world is changing, that postmodern people view the world in a different way from their parents, and that the image of Christianity is not altogether a good one. The term “emerging” encompasses many different types of churches, leaders, and followers including people who would describe themselves as being emerging, missional, or emergent. Generally those who believe they are emerging focus on trying to reach postmodern people in a gospel-centered way that they often describe as including being missional. Many inside and outside the movement have noted that there are multiple “streams” within the concept of “emerging.”[12] Mark Driscoll, a pastor at Mars Hill Church in Seattle who considers his church emerging, was an early part of the emergent church movement but has distanced himself from the movement because their theological direction was not “a place he wanted to go.”[13] He explains that the group who initially started the emerging conversation has “morphed into three teams.”[14] He defines the first stream as the “relevance” stream which includes men like Dan Kimball and Donald Miller, men who truly believe in the Bible and the Gospel but are trying to use new ministry methods to reach a new different crowd.[15] The second stream he identifies as the “revisionist” stream or the emergent stream and the third, the “relevant reformed” stream.[16]

The Emergent Church

The second stream, best known as the emergent movement, is important in this discussion of present-day Christianity because although some believe movement hit its high water mark somewhere between 2000 and 2005, the ideas behind the movement will continue long after the labels have become defunct.[17] Pastor Driscoll argues that this movement follows the path that led to the fall of Adam and Eve in Genesis 3, a conversation that questions what God has said and results in the subtle manipulation of God’s word.[18] Within this movement are leaders like Tony Jones, Brian McLaren, Rob Bell, Phyllis Tickle, Doug Pagitt, Peter Rollins, Leonard Sweet, to list a few of the more prominent writers, speakers, and bloggers. Just as the modern church is guilty of capitulating to culture to sell Jesus to the world, those in the emergent movement are often guilty of the same thing. In Revelation, after Jesus addresses the churches in Ephesus and Smyrna, He continues with a word to the church in Pergamum:

I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is; and you hold fast My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days of Antipas, My witness, My faithful one, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. But I have a few things against you, because you have there some who hold the teaching of Balaam, who kept teaching Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit acts of immorality. So you also have some who in the same way hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans. Therefore repent; or else I am coming to you quickly, and I will make war against them with the sword of My mouth. (Rev. 2:13-16)

And then to the church in Thyatira:

I know your deeds, and your love and faith and service and perseverance, and that your deeds of late are greater than at first. But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads My bond-servants astray so that they commit acts of immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. I gave her time to repent, and she does not want to repent of her immorality… But I say to you, the rest who are in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not known the deep things of Satan, as they call them — I place no other burden on you. (Rev. 2:19-24)

Jesus commends both of these churches for their love, and faith, but He does not leave them simply with a commendation. Both churches were guilty of accepting teachings that God hates, a serious word of caution for every church after them. Pergamum was rebuked for the very thing Ephesus was commended for, the teachings of the Nicolaitans. They were guilty of allowing people to teach that it is acceptable to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit acts of immorality. It is not enough to simply hold fast to the name of Jesus and love what He loves if the church does not simultaneously hate what He hates. These churches show us that doctrine is important and even though we must be careful not to hold too tightly to the modern way of organizing everything into neat and tidy boxes, we must not think that what we believe is less important than how we believe. The idea that it must be one and not the other is itself a modern idea; it is not what or how but what and how.

The idea that what Christians believe is no longer important emerges in emergent leaders blogs, books, and interviews. In A Heretic’s Guide to Eternity, Spencer Burke speaks about grace as something that people opt-out of rather than something that is received through belief in Jesus. Burke defends universalism and explains, “Universalism says that a theology of grace implies salvation for all, because if grace could be granted only to some people and not to others, based on an arbitrary issue of culture, geography, and luck, it is in fact no grace at all. I concur with that idea, but I also believe that we must take the concept one step further and realize that grace is bigger than any religion.”[19] Burke makes a serious error in assuming that God is only gracious and that salvation is arbitrary. While arguing that grace should be universal and open, he simultaneously builds a wall around God confining Him to grace alone without considering that God is also perfectly just. Jesus says that no one can come to the Father except through Him, a statement that serves as a dagger for universalists.[20] Christians for 2000 years have joyfully died for the belief that grace is extended to only those who believe in Jesus Christ and that salvation is found in no other name. The early Christians were not persecuted for believing in universal grace but for being intolerant of other religions in the sense that they refused to concede that other gods were equal to Christ. A return to the beliefs of early Christians would invariably be more exclusive, not less.

Another example of holding loosely to Christian doctrine is found in Brian McLaren’s A New Kind of Christianity, a book written by the movement’s most influential spokesperson that is essentially a second part to A New Kind of Christian which Rob and Kristen Bell refer to as their “lifeboat” in their search for meaningful Christianity.[21] McLaren speaks about the “Sex Question” and points to the failure of Christian’s current view of sex in light of sexual promiscuity in teenagers and high divorce rates, concluding, “A new kind of Christianity must move beyond this impasse and begin to construct not just a more humane sexual ethic in particular, but a more honest and robust Christian anthropology in general.”[22] As mentioned in chapter 1, human sexuality is notably very complex and far beyond the scope of this paper. However, it must be mentioned that McLaren flirts with the line between true to scripture and wishful thinking. In order to find a “more humane sexual ethic,” where does he intend on looking? Will he look to culture and science or to the wealth of scripture God has provided to the Christian? It is unclear throughout his book which of these sources will prove more weighty in his final conclusions. Christians must be very careful about using the Bible as a guide to culture rather than culture as a guide to the Bible.

The emergent church desires to recapture much of the mystery about Christianity that has been lost in the modern era. Those who are emerging in all three streams generally see that much of the love has been lost from the Church and that Christianity has been reduced to a list of rules about what Christians are against rather than what they are for. In addition to this, the modern church has reduced much of the Bible into a series of “blessings,” chopping up the Word into daily bites of happiness.[23] This causes the Bible to be fragmented and vastly misunderstood as a book God intended to convey uncomplicated hope and happiness to every person through the blessings of God. To combat this, many emerging Christians are promoting the Bible as a narrative, a story that cannot be broken up into statements but must be read as a whole to being to understand its meaning. On this point, the emerging Christians are quite right; the Bible was written as God’s story, a story about Jesus from beginning to end. All sixty-six books come together to show the world who God is, who Jesus is, and who we are as a result. The modern church has in some ways trivialized the Word by publishing devotionals that isolate verses without providing context and only using verses that support the publisher’s purpose (like the “blessing” devotionals). This causes much confusion because Christians no longer read their Bible in context and with an understanding that God had a larger purpose for inspiring each book.

But just as the churches in revelation receive praise and judgment for going from one extreme to the other, the emergent church takes the idea of the Bible as a narrative too far. The Bible as narrative cannot be separated from the Bible as authoritative and specific in its commands. Jesus was not confused about this point when He taught His disciples, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.”[24] If the Bible can be distilled into one overarching narrative, why would Jesus instruct His disciples to keep His commands? Would He not have taught them instead to follow the story of God’s love? God wove the Scriptures together in a way far beyond human understanding, a fact that is attested to by the millions of Christians who have read the Scriptures and yet have not mastered them. It would be impossible for us to give more credit to God than is due to Him for His masterpiece. Why must we oversimplify the Bible into a brilliant story when it provides Christians with both God’s story and God’s instructions?

Beyond this oversimplification of the Word as narrative, the emergent Christians have too often moved the Bible out of the category of God’s writing and into the category of human writing. Phyllis Tickle explains the process by which the Bible has been moved from the inerrant Word of God to something else through the work of Charles Darwin, Sigmund Freud, and Joseph Campbell.[25] The world has changed as a result of these men and she describes Campbell’s The Power of Myth as persuading “much of North American Christendom that exclusivity and particularity were a hard, if not impossible, sell.”[26] Since that time, Christianity has gone through a revamping and a re-understanding of what it is and should be. This line of thinking has developed into a view of the Bible as something much less than spiritual authority for a believer. Rob and Kristen Bell, leaders of the emergent movement, discovered “the Bible as a human product” and proclaim that “the Bible is still the center for us, but it’s a different kind of center. We want to embrace mystery rather than conquer it.”[27] While the Bells are absolutely right in recognizing the mystery and depth of God expressed in the Bible, they go too far to believe in the Bible as a human product.  The Bible is a masterpiece given to the Church by God and to move God’s Word into a human category is to open the Church to grave error.

The churches in Revelation are judged for allowing teaching into their churches that is contrary to the teachings of Christ. The idea that Christians can view the Bible as a human creation rather than God’s inerrant word is not substantiated through Jesus’ teaching. Jesus quoted the Scriptures on several occasions and taught,

Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Matt. 5:17-19)

Although the emergent leaders do not seem to have blatantly taught immorality to their followers, their inability to take a stand on what the Bible defines as truth and morality is a serious consideration for the authenticity of the movement as Jesus-centered. Issues like divorce, homosexuality, alcohol and drug use, and sex before marriage are all handled with the utmost of care and rarely addressed directly or biblically. Even if emergent leaders do still use the Bible as their primary means of understanding the world, if they do not teach their followers that the Bible is the primary way God has spoken to the Christian, what will stop the next generation from using the Bible and, for example, the Koran as their primary texts? In our efforts to reach American youth athletes, we must be careful to avoid the errors being made within the emergent movement.

The Missional Church

Although many youth may not have yet discovered the emergent church as an option, they will inevitably realize that their questions about faith and Christians require them to walk away from the Church or to find someone who is speaking a language they understand. Chapter 1 explained the cultural air American youth in 2011 breathe and the worldview that surrounds them. Thankfully the emergent church is not the only group of Christians striving to fight Christian stereotypes and to engage postmodern youth and adults. Both the “relevance” and “relevant reformed” streams of emerging theology are focused on providing biblical answers to today’s postmodern questions. One theme for both of these streams is the desire to be missional, defined by Scot McKnight as participating with God in His redemptive work, connecting with community, and “participating in the holistic redemptive work of God in this world,” which means acting like Jesus did during His ministry by treating bodies and souls.[28] A missional church recognizes the mistakes made by the traditional modern church of holding to the good but losing their first love and focuses on correcting that error. Driscoll and Breshears explain it this way, “Early leaders in the missional movement saw that many contemporary evangelical churches had slipped into an attritional ministry philosophy focused almost solely on bringing people into church buildings and events.”[29] A missional church seeks change the current view of Christianity as judgmental hypocrites by going out and doing community with those inside and outside of the Church. Keller provides the following five elements of a church living missionally: discourse without Christian jargon, the ability to tell a culture’s stories with the Gospel, providing theological training for Christians for their public life and vocation, real Christian community, and the practice of unity across denominations as much as possible on the local level.[30]

There are many churches across the United States who focus on having a missional attitude that emphasizes community and love rather than preaching and rules. One example of such a church is Mars Hill Church in Seattle, a church that in 2010 was listed by Outreach Magazine as the 30th fastest growing church and the 54th largest church in America.[31] As of February, 2011, Mars Hill has 9 campuses in 2 states, 8 in Washington and 1 in New Mexico. Though they have over 8,000 people who attend, the church is very committed to community. Pastor Driscoll constantly mentions the hundreds of community groups that exist around the city, emphasizing that they are an essential part of attending Mars Hill. He explains, “We intentionally connect the pulpit to our community groups so that after I preach, our people gather in homes to discuss the text or topic and share meals, friendship, prayer, accountability, love, support, and worship, not unlike house churches.”[32] This internal community focus also extends into the outside community and culture, an effort to counteract the Christian stereotype of “holy huddles.” Mars Hill attendees are encouraged to be biblical, repenting, students of culture, who contextualize the Gospel by using language the culture can understand, welcome the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit, and live their lives counter-culturally by reflecting the love of Christ.

While missional churches are far from perfect, many of them are making an effort to connect with a culture that the traditional modern church has lost touch with. It is here where a discussion about reaching American youth begins, here where a bridge is being created between youth culture and Jesus, here where the Gospel is not marginalized but spoken without jargon or assumptions, here where the love of Christ can change lives, and here where youth can learn what Christianity is all about without stereotypes or confusion. In order to train Christian youth how to survive in a culture that does not understand nor desire to have anything to do with Christians, we must begin with an attitude that it is the Church’s responsibility to reach out, not to expect those who are confused, marginalized, or simply children of their culture to reach out to the Church.

[1] James K.A. Smith, Who’s Afraid of Postmodernism?, under “Apologetics and Witness in a Postmodern World” in Chapter 1.

[2] Phyllis Tickle, The Great Emergence: How Christianity Is Changing and Why (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2008), 19-31.

[3] Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck, Why We’re Not Emergent: By Two Guys Who Should Be (Chicago: Moody, 2008).

[4] Rev. 1:10-11.

[5] Warren W. Wiersbe, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines on the New Testament (Colorado Springs, CO: ChariotVictor, 1992), PC Study Bible formatted Electronic Database (2006), under “The Seven Churches of Asia Minor.”

[6] Kinnaman and Lyons, UnChristian, 34.

[7] Ibid.

[8] The Barna Group, “American Lifestyles Mix Compassion and Self-Oriented Behavior,” (February 5, 2007) (accessed February 11, 2011).

[9] Kinnaman and Lyons, UnChristian, 50.

[10] Walter C. Kaiser Jr., Peter H. Davids, F. F. Bruce, Manfred T. Brauch, Hard Sayings of the Bible (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1996), PC Study Bible formatted Electronic Database (2006), under “Rev 2:15, Who Were the Nicolaitans?”

[11] 1 Jn 4:20-21.

[12] See Scot McKnight, “Five Streams of the Emerging Church,” Christianity Today, January 19, 2007, (accessed February 15, 2011).

[13] Mark Driscoll, “Convergent Conference Session 3 – The Emerging Church,” The Resurgence, mp3 file, 13:20, (accessed February 15, 2011), under “Media.”

[14] Ibid., 14:45.

[15] Ibid., 16:00-17:45.

[16] Ibid., 17:45 & 55:40-50

[17] Brett McCracken, Hipster Christianity: When Church and Cool Collide (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2010), 134.

[18] Mark Driscoll, “Convergent Conference Session 3 – The Emerging Church,” 18:50-19:20.

[19] Spencer Burke and Barry Taylor, A Heretic’s Guide to Eternity (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2006), 198.

[20] John 14:6.

[21] Rob and Kristen Bell in “The Emgergent Mystique,” Christianity Today, November 1, 2004, 2.

[22] Brian McLaren, A New Kind of Christian: Ten Questions That Are Transforming the Faith (New York: HarperCollins, 2010), 190.

[23] Scot McKnight, The Blue Parakeet (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2008), 46-47.

[24] Jn. 14:15.

[25] Phyllis Tickle, The Great Emergence (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2008).

[26] Ibid, 69.

[27] Rob and Kristen Bell in “The Emgergent Mystique,” 2.

[28] Scot McKnight, “Five Streams of the Emerging Church,” 4.

[29] Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears, Vintage Church: Timeless Truths and Timely Methods (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2008), Kindle edition, 217.

[30] Tim Keller, “The Missional Church,” June, 2001, (accessed February 15, 2011).

[31] Outreach Magazine, The 2010 Outreach 100 Listings of America’s Largest and Fastest-Growing Churches, Lifeway Research, by subscription at (downloaded February 16, 2011).

[32] Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears, Vintage Church: Timeless Truths and Timely Methods, 257.

[RZ1]IN _____ chapter.


2 responses to “Chapter 4 – The American Church

  1. Pingback: Dissertation Chapter 4 – The American Church | The Busy World of … | Live Beyond Reality·

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