While the paper linked to below thou shalt not kill except divx download was intended to deal with Don Carson’s critique, the comments and emails that have been recieved would indicate a perception that Brian McClaren has been unfairly portrayed.
At least for the short term I have de-linked the paper in its current form and I’d ask that others who have it just hang onto it for a bit and not circulate it. It is not our intent to either hurt Brian McClaren or damage relations with friends in other countries. We are very sorry for the hurt this has caused and apologise for that.
As I indicated in the comments below, we are most definitely open to learning and changing and aware that we have our own blind spots (which we obviously can’t see…) It may be that after some review we still stand in a slightly different position to other groups, but its not our purpose to be adversarial and condemn our brothers.
Alan Hirsch has commented a response in Tall Skinny’s post and it is worth reading as it speaks to where we are at:
Please be assured that what we have written is not a dismissal of Emergent and certainly not a distancing from Brian McLaren and what he stands for. I have immense and abiding respect, nay, reverence, for Brian. Our primary concern in drafting this document was to try and distinguish elements that make us different in terms of nuance and focus in order to try offset the collateral damage on the Australian missional church that has, and is, sadly taking place due to Carson’s book. The context for this is that we have labored long and hard to try and establish a small beach-head of legitimacy within the broader Aussie church, and we feared (with reason) that this debate could set the cause of the emerging missional church in Australia back significantly. Unfairly so. Hence the paper.
It is quite true to say that the general issues of Emergent are not ones that we have in tended to focus on over the past few years. This is not to say that Brian’s works have not significantly advanced worldwide understanding of the issues that the church in the 21st Century must face. They certainly have. These are simply not Forge’s primary concerns. There *are* differences, but I am happy to say, with one of the other posts, that these are differences within the family.
This document is therefore not primarily aimed at those within the EC, but at its critics and at the curious onlookers in our context. What we are really asking is that those who will criticize the emerging church as we experience it, then let them fully understand what they are criticizing and not subject all people in the various worldwide expression of the EC to a critique focused on a few of its significant spokespeople–as ill-informed as Carson’s critique may sometimes be. I think many of the responses that have been given to Carson’s book have clearly exposed the many flaws in it. It was not our purpose to add one more. Please believe me that our purposes were primarily pastoral by two guys on behalf a sometimes fragile emerging phenomenon. It would be tragic to see the remarkable thing that is just beginning to happen here being cut down in its infancy for all the wrong reasons!
I am truly sorry that this might play itself out badly on brothers and sisters in common cause. We will try and limit any misunderstandings that our document might have caused. Brian, you are a legend. Stay true!
Once a document is ‘out there’ its obviously irretriveable however you may wish to not circulate it while some questions are resolved.