God Work by Randy Harris

I just finished Randy Harris’ book God Work – Confessions of a Standup Theologian and I have to say it was a really great read. I have also been reading N.T. Wright’s new book After You Believe and over and over again I found myself picking up Harris’ book over Wright’s. I wouldn’t have guessed it would have happened that way but it did. What kept me coming back to this book was Harris’ open and honest style. He is not afraid to ask a difficult question and then handle the answer honestly, even if it raises some unconformability in the process.

In this book you get ecclesiology, epistemology, and theology all rolled out in a way that is humorous and intellectual. What he has done in this book is take us out of the driver’s seat and put God back in it. In doing so we learn how to interact with God in a healthy, relational way that is both biblical and meaningful to upcoming generations of Christians. We are free to ask questions. We are free to have doubts. We are free to be confused at times. But at the center of it all, God patiently engages our lives through the ups and downs to bring us closer and closer to himself. This book is good for a healthy perspective on postmodernism, not just in explanatory form but also in how Harris works through much of his material.

I have to say, that I am a better person for having read this book. Several of the stories I had heard before. They were just as funny in print but in print I had more time to deal with them and meditate on the points being made than hearing these stories live. I wish I had more time to give a thorough synopsis of this book and describe more of its contents but why let me do all the work for you? If you have been looking for your next read, give this one a shot by ordering directly from Leafwood in the link above.

The last thing I want to mention about this book is I think it would be especially helpful for many elderships to read together. I say that because it would really help them understand the worldview of our youth and get a grasp on how to maintain unity among church goers with more and more of a postmodern outlook. I really hope that Harris plays a big part informing more and more congregations on how to make the coming, needed transitions in the church without compromising our core, scripture-based, values.

About mattdabbs
I am a minister, husband, and father. My wife and I live and minister in Saint Petersburg, Florida. My primary ministry responsibilities include: small groups, 20s and 30s, involvement, and adult education.

17 Responses to God Work by Randy Harris

  1. JMF says:

    Thanks Matt!

    Is this book an appropriate read for a non-theologian?

    Does Randy have any online presence at all? Website, etc?

    I’ve been looking for words from him for some time now online, and I really can’t find anything. I had Dr. Harris at Lipscomb, and though I was highly un-engaged in my bible classes at the time, he was still the best teacher I ever had there. Incredibly funny dry humor. He actually tried to get you to learn something. It wasn’t about tests….in fact, his tests were very basic and simple…all around great teacher.

  2. Gina Morrison says:

    this book is an example of the emergent church Matt – maybe you would like to read it and then discuss it with me.

  3. Gina Morrison says:

    I’ve not read it but I will gladly order it. At Amazon on the “go inside” I was able to read parts of it and duly noted it was highly endorsed and praised by Brian McLaren,emergent church leader.

    I know of Randy Harris’ strong identification as a “monk” and mystical thinker. I also know of others who are straight out of the spiritual growth, spiritual formation group who endorce his books. Ok, i’ll order it today and i’m sure it’s a quick read with very little scriptural support to broad brush feel good transformational thinking. I do go by a “pattern” with the CoC involvement with emerging missions, spiritual growth , church growth. It’s not too difficult Matt.
    But i’ll read it. I know you read it because of another post where you and others discussed it. Should I post on here or the the other one. I also ordered some audio of Dr Harris talks at the Spiritual Growth Conference as well as other material. I’m doing more and more homework so I can speak to more specifics. Thanks
    I’m also aware that on the concerned members forum or piney.com, he’s riled up alot of people.
    You said he now has his own blog but I can’t find it……..can you paste it here again?

    • mattdabbs says:

      So give me some excerpts from what you read online that are emergent…Also, which type of emergent? There are all sorts.

    • mattdabbs says:

      I don’t think the blog is currently online. Gina, I would really like to caution you a bit. What you are saying here is very public and it appears you are really after some people. There are a few scriptures I would encourage you to look at to bring some balance and caution to your perspective and approach.

      Mark 9:38-40 – “38 “Teacher,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.”

      39 “Do not stop him,” Jesus said. “For no one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, 40 for whoever is not against us is for us. 41 Truly I tell you, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Messiah will certainly not lose their reward. ”

      I know all of the people you are talking about personally and can say God has done and continues to work in their lives and ministries. So be very careful when condemning and making broad generalizations toward books you haven’t read and people you do not know. I know you have great zeal and I appreciate that but it is easy for that zeal to take us places that are no longer healthy where all we can do is look for error. I only know that because I was there myself and am tempted to go there from time to time even still.

      Also see 2 Tim 2:23 & Titus 3:9. I just bring those up to make sure you are balanced, careful and loving in your approach. God bless.

  4. Gina Morrison says:

    Matt, those verses are not applicable . I’d appreciate what I said that appeared negative. I’m stating what Randy Harris has said about himself. I believe they are teachers of unbiblical doctrine and are totally carry the same message as the Rick Warren, Tony Campolo and all of this group. Your explanation of “missions” as something different than classic emergents is not different; it’s just another word. So again, I think this discussion was why I believe Randy Harris is a “classic emergent” is his books endorcements and also the “look inside” feature on Amazon gave me confirmation. As I said , I will read his books, i’ll listen to the audios when I receive them and then i’ll give you more specific words relating to his book.
    I note also that Tomy Campolo is listed as a contributor to NewWineSkins and i’ll share just one of his quotes that certainly supports . I certainy didn’t call Randy Harris “the devil” or even come close to the scriptures you quoted. I said what Randy Harris already owns himself and is further supported by his associations. Again, when i’m talking about missions, spiritual formation(spiritual growth, emergent church. I am speaking of a movement to reinvent evangelism, make nice with meditative practices warned against in scripture among other areas.

    Tony Campolo:

    In my case intimacy with Christ had developed gradually over the years, primarily through what Catholics call “centering prayer.” Each morning, as soon as I wake up, I take time—sometimes as much as a half hour—to center myself on Jesus. I say his name over and over again to drive back the 101 things that begin to clutter my mind the minute I open my eyes. Jesus is my mantra, as some would say.

    Tony Campolo claims he became born again through this practice called centering prayer. He encourages his young readers to get closer to Christ by embracing this ritual. Centering prayer is becoming very popular within the Emerging Church Movement. Is it biblical?

    • mattdabbs says:

      Again, give me some Harris quotes instead of broad generalizations about what you read. You can “look inside” the book and obviously saw things that upset you. GIve some specifics.

      Can you show me where Campolo says he became a Christian through centering prayer? Also, wasn’t one of your links endorsing praying a prayer to become a Christian? I could be remembering that wrong as I have had so much reading to do. If so, how do you see that as any different?

  5. Gina Morrison says:

    Here are my verses that specifically address this discussion

    Matthew 7:15 ESV / 81 helpful votes

    “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.

    1 John 4:1 ESV / 78 helpful votes

    Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.

    Romans 16:17-18 ESV / 64 helpful votes

    I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.

    2 John 1:10-11 ESV / 45 helpful votes

    If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.

    2 John 1:7 ESV / 42 helpful votes

    For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist.

    John 7:24 ESV / 39 helpful votes

    Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.”

    Matthew 7:16 ESV / 23 helpful votes

    You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?

    Matthew 7:1-5 ESV / 23 helpful votes

    “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

    Colossians 2:8 ESV / 21 helpful votes

    See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.

    John 8:44 ESV / 20 helpful votes

    You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

    Galatians 5:22-23 ESV / 15 helpful votes

    But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

    2 John 1:10 ESV / 14 helpful votes

    If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting,

    Revelation 2:2 ESV / 12 helpful votes

    “‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false.

    James 4:11-12 ESV / 12 helpful votes

    Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?

    1 Peter 5:8 ESV / 10 helpful votes

    Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

    Romans 2:20-24 ESV / 10 helpful votes

    An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of children, having in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth— you then who teach others, do you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal? You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law. For, as it is written, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”

    1 Corinthians 2:15 ESV / 8 helpful votes

    The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one.

    Matthew 18:15-17 ESV / 8 helpful votes

    “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

    Psalm 1:1-6 ESV / 8 helpful votes

    Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; …

    1 Corinthians 5:1-13 ESV / 7 helpful votes

    It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife. And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you. For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing. When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord. …

    Romans 16:17 ESV / 7 helpful votes

    I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them.

    Romans 2:15 ESV / 7 helpful votes

    They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them

    John 10:10 ESV / 7 helpful votes

    The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

    Luke 12:57 ESV / 7 helpful votes

    “And why do you not judge for yourselves what is right?

    Matthew 5:22 ESV / 7 helpful votes

    But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.

    1 Corinthians 10:15 ESV / 6 helpful votes

    I speak as to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say.

    Matthew 7:1-2 ESV / 5 helpful votes

    “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.

    1 Chronicles 16:22 ESV / 5 helpful votes

    Saying, “Touch not my anointed ones, do my prophets no harm!”

    Jude 1:12-16 ESV / 4 helpful votes

    These are hidden reefs at your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear, shepherds feeding themselves; waterless clouds, swept along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted; wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever. It was also about these that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones, to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” These are grumblers, malcontents, following their own sinful desires; they are loud-mouthed boasters, showing favoritism to gain advantage.

    Jude 1:1-25 ESV / 4 helpful votes

    Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James, To those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ: May mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you. Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. …

    2 Peter 3:16 ESV / 4 helpful votes

    As he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.

    2 Timothy 3:6-9 ESV / 4 helpful votes

    For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men.

    John 3:18 ESV / 4 helpful votes

    Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

    Isaiah 3:9 ESV / 4 helpful votes

    For the look on their faces bears witness against them; they proclaim their sin like Sodom; they do not hide it. Woe to them! For they have brought evil on themselves.

    1 Kings 2:9 ESV / 4 helpful votes

    Now therefore do not hold him guiltless, for you are a wise man. You will know what you ought to do to him, and you shall bring his gray head down with blood to Sheol.”

    1 John 2:27 ESV / 3 helpful votes

    But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.

    1 Peter 3:15 ESV / 3 helpful votes

    But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,

    2 Timothy 4:10 ESV / 3 helpful votes

    For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia.

    1 Timothy 4:13 ESV / 3 helpful votes

    Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching.

    1 Timothy 1:19-20 ESV / 3 helpful votes

    Holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith, among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.

    2 Thessalonians 3:14-15 ESV / 3 helpful votes

    If anyone does not obey what we say in this letter, take note of that person, and have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed. Do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother.

    Galatians 2:11 ESV / 3 helpful votes

    But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned.

    John 7:51 ESV / 3 helpful votes

    “Does our law judge a man without first giving him a hearing and learning what he does?”

    Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV / 2 helpful votes

    Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

    Titus 1:13 ESV / 2 helpful votes

    This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith,

    1 Timothy 1:3-4 ESV / 2 helpful votes

    As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith.

    2 Thessalonians 3:6 ESV / 2 helpful votes

    Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us.

    Romans 12:1-2 ESV / 2 helpful votes

    I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern

  6. Gina Morrison says:

    Matt, I think you are a super nice guy but I don’t think what I said about Randy Harris rose to the level of the scriptures you gave me. I was trying to find his blog so that I could discuss things with him on the blog. I noted he contributed to WineSkins and then noted Tony C. was also a contributor. As i’ve said before if various individuals within the CoC churches and Universities believe in their associations with known emergents , again i’m not going to say what emergent group because I see little difference between them despite some people trying to create possibly “an allusion of difference,” just own it.

    However, I would really like to know exactly what I said that you found offensive. Seriously…I do and i’ll refrain. Until then, i’ll wait for my book and since you have already read it, I will contact you again, on this thread when i’m ready to discuss it and perhaps Soul Force? I think i’ll get both.
    Again, I grant you full permission to delete all of my above scriptural quotes (just trying to make a point) and the post you thought was too personal. Really, I encourage the deletions!

  7. Gina Morrison says:

    Matt,

    What I said about Randy is again, nothing he would not say about himself and I’ve tons of audio.
    Also, note this is The WA Council of Churches which I assert is an apostate group. If you think this is all perfectly Biblical and acceptable, just tell me, just own it. IF you want me to discuss his books with all his resources for his books and the books he uses , i’ll be happy to do that after i’ve read it. However, if you want to say, that all of his associations, mystical teachings are fully alligned with the “mainstream” emergent church leaders and you have no problem with it from a Biblical view, just say so.

    Randy Harris
    Posted on June 10, 2009 by churcheswa
    Dayspring has been offered two workshops with Randy Harris

    One of the most sought after speakers in the USA for the Churches of Christ. Randy teaches Bible majors and courses in theology, philosophy and preaching at Abilene University in Texas, a private institution of higher education integrating faith and learning throughout the curriculum, reflecting the theological perspective of the broad mainstream of Churches of Christ.Randy graduated from Harding University with his bachelor’s degree in 1979, a master’s degree from Harding University in 1983 and received an M.Phil. and PhD from Syracuse University in 1987.

    Randy was the pulpit minister for Donelson Church of Christ in Nashville for nine years prior to his arrival in Abilene. He received a certificate in Christian Spiritual Guidance from the Shalem Institute, and has participated in Trappist, Carmalite, Ignatian, Franciscan and Celtic communities in his study of contemplative prayer and mysticism. He has taught and participated at multiple monasteries around the world.

    Register Now for;-
    “Living out the Story”
    Wednesday, 17th June – 5:00-8:30pm
    Registration and Light Meal – 5:00-5:30pm
    Cost: $30 (Conc $25) includes meal

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    Thursday, 18th June – 9:30am-12:30pm
    Registration from 9:00am
    Cost: $30 (Conc $25) includes lunch

    Hosted by Dayspring Centre for Christian Spirituality and Counselling

  8. Gina Morrison says:

    actually, I don’t think it’s necessary to say a prayer for salvation but it is a “confession with the mouth” but to compare that to mytical prayers is well, frankly kinda uninformed. I’ll be happy to discuss the difference

    In terms of Frank C . sure………

    Most Christians can tell you the very moment when they first encountered Jesus Christ in a personal way. Being born again is an event that can be vividly remembered and I can clearly remember when I was convicted by the “hearing of God’s Words on the salvation message. Tony Campolo says his personal encounter began when he discovered Christ through a practice known as “centering prayer.” Though not found in the Bible, the ritual of centering prayer is a pillar of Eastern mysticism.

    In his book Letters to a Young Evangelical, Campolo shares his own personal testimony in a chapter called “The Gospel According to Us.” He begins the chapter the following way:

    As you may know, most Evangelicals at some point make a decision to trust in Jesus for salvation and commit to becoming the kind of people he wants us to be.
    A few pages later in this chapter, Campolo presents the details of his conversion experience. He begins by stating:

    When I was a boy growing up in a lower-middle-class neighborhood in West Philadelphia, my mother, a convert to Evangelical Christianity from a Catholic immigrant family, hoped I would have one of those dramatic “born again” experiences. That was the way she had come into a personal relationship with Christ. She took me to hear one evangelist after another, praying that I would go to the altar and come away “converted.” ( But it never worked for me. I would go down the aisle as the people around me sang “the invitation hymn,” but I just didn’t feel that anything happened to me. For a while I despaired wondering if I would ever get “saved.” It took me quite some time to realize that entering into a personal relationship with Christ does not always happen that way . (in case you’re wondering, an alter call is not a requirement either)
    Now, it is certainly true that not all conversions are experienced by coming to Christ at an evangelistic crusade. However, it’s important to carefully consider how Campolo describes his personal conversion experience, especially in light of the Scriptures. Later in the same chapter, he wrote:

    In my case intimacy with Christ had developed gradually over the years, primarily through what Catholics call “centering prayer.” Each morning, as soon as I wake up, I take time—sometimes as much as a half hour—to center myself on Jesus. I say his name over and over again to drive back the 101 things that begin to clutter my mind the minute I open my eyes. Jesus is my mantra, as some would say.
    I have searched the Scriptures! You can do the same. Centering prayer and using the name of Jesus as a “mantra” is just not there. In fact the idea of using a mantra (that is mindlessly repeating a word over and over again) is used by the Buddhists and the Hindus in their attempts to focus on the spiritual realm and contact higher beings that the Bible calls demons.

    Tony Campolo may claim he is an evangelical Christian, but the facts speak loud and clear. The mystical New Age practices he promotes as well as Randy Harris and others from CoC are more closely tied to Buddhism, Hinduism, and Catholicism than to biblical Christianity. The Bible makes it clear the only way to be born again is to repent of your sins and acknowledge Jesus Christ. The doctrines of demons that Paul warned Timothy would be promoted in the name of Christianity in the last days are underway.

    Look up. Jesus is coming soon! Scripture speaks clearly about the falling away and we are alert it’s as clear as a full moon on a clear night sky.

    The difference between a prayer that calls upon the Lord (our true and only God) regardless of a silent or voiced one is totally different than a mantra . If you truly need to understand the vast difference, just ask me again and i’ll go into in more depth. Sadly, Matt……most christians I know wouldn’t need to ask that question.

    • mattdabbs says:

      Let me address your questions and then address your last post:

      Your questions:
      “Also, note this is The WA Council of Churches which I assert is an apostate group. If you think this is all perfectly Biblical and acceptable, just tell me, just own it.”

      I don’t know who the WA Council of Churches is so I have no idea if they are biblical.

      “IF you want me to discuss his books with all his resources for his books and the books he uses , i’ll be happy to do that after i’ve read it.”

      Gladly

      “However, if you want to say, that all of his associations, mystical teachings are fully alligned with the “mainstream” emergent church leaders and you have no problem with it from a Biblical view, just say so.”

      I evaluate things on a case by case basis. Can I say I think you are biblical in every way or that I agree with you on every doctrine? It would be foolish to make a blanket statement that I agree with you or Randy or Tony C or whoever and you are completely biblical in every way. If you have a specific question based on a specific quote from any of them I would be glad to give you my take on whether or not I think it is biblical and why.

      Now to your last post:
      There are a couple of important things to remember if you are going to be engaging in various websites with conversations like these that this comment reminds me to mention:

      1 – Always quote the person you are talking.
      It is very, very important we let people speak for themselves and then evaluate their own words.

      2 – Don’t critique people if you haven’t read the primary source for yourself, in full context.

      3 – Reference where you are getting your information. Always reference it if you copy and paste large chunks of someone else’s writing like you did here. It is transparent when you do that and we can then even evaluate the source you are quoting from. Because the quote you give are not just Campolo’s words. They are partially his but interlaced with commentary by someone hostile to him. It is important we know who that is. So a link is important. In this case you got it here – http://www.understandthetimes.org/commentary/c58_pf.shtml But the burden is on you to provide that not on me to dig that up.

      The problem with this quote is it doesn’t back up your point that he became a Christian via centering prayer. You wrote, “Tony Campolo claims he became born again through this practice called centering prayer.” Where in this quote do you find that? It says he was looking for a dramatic conversion experience his mother wanted for him. Then the guy who wrote this skips to his take on centering prayer. I don’t read in here anywhere that it was a part of his conversion process or that his approach to conversion is to have people do centering prayer.

      Also, do you know where centering prayer originated? Was it mystics or Buddhists or Hindus? Nope. Christianity. It was a practice probably started by the trapists monks (who Randy has spent time with if my memory is right) why? To get some far out mystical experience? Nope…to get closer to who? To God. Is that wrong? Is it wrong to spend time in prayer? Is solitude a sin? These guys are more focused on God than many of us have ever been. It is important we know what we are talking about before we go about condemning all of this.

      Also, it is important you know where Randy is coming from. Randy has studied all sorts of things. He has incorporated meditation and some practices from Christian monks that have allowed him to really commune with God and others. Is that wrong? If he was meditating to achieve nirvana or engage in some occult practice I would call him out on it and denounce it. But that is not what is happening here at all. I have heard him speak on it repeatedly and my only concern was that there would be certain people who couldn’t hear what he was saying and miss the point. I am afraid that is what has happened here and with those people you are reading, like the link above.

      So if you want to critique Randy by all means do so. He is big enough to take it. But read him and critique his words not somebody else’s take.

    • mattdabbs says:

      If you like you can read the primary sources like “The Interior Castle” by Teresa of Avila – http://www.ccel.org/ccel/teresa/castle2.toc.html for free online or works by St. John of the Cross that are also free on that site. I have not yet read either but plan to at some point. These two did a lot of the ground work for contemplative prayer. Sounds like John is a tougher read than Teresa.

  9. Brian says:

    I am reading Soul Work, and love it. of course I must be some kind of liberal, emergent false teacher. Randy Harris, who I don’t know personally, doesn’t have much of a web presence, b/c he doesn’t spend time attacking other people’s faith online

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