terry mattingly writes about phyllis tickle’s nywc talk
Thursday November 29th 2007, 5:00 am
Filed under: church, youth specialties, emerging church, emergent, news

wow - how cool. noted religion columnist terry mattingly wrote his column this week about the content of the talk phyllis tickle gave at the atlanta national youth workers convention.

are we on the verge of the Great Emergence?

Church leaders who can do the math should be looking over their shoulders about now, argued Tickle, speaking to clergy, educators and lay leaders at the recent National Youth Workers Convention in Atlanta.

funny, my friend tony sent me the text of the column in an email, and when i got to the quote where phyllis talks about some guy sailing west and west and west and not falling off the dad gum thing,” i thought, “oh, that’s the same line she used at our convention. then i realized mattingly was actually using that quote FROM our convention! ha.

i have no idea how he got this general session talk or heard about it — i’m very intrigued.

the column is a great summary of the talk in a short amount of space. there was a good amount of discussion about it in the comments on this post, by the way.

here’s a tidbit from mattingly’s column:

This kind of revolution, said Tickle, doesn’t mean “any one of those forms of earlier Christianity ever ceases to be. It simply means that every time we have one of these great upheavals … whatever was the dominant form of Christianity loses its pride of place and gives way to something new. What’s giving way, right now, is Protestantism as you and I have always known it.”

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uhhhhh, Marko, not to do the commercial for you, but . . . perhaps Mattingly caught work of Tickle’s presentation and downloaded an .mp3 from http://ysmp3andcddvd.com ????

Comment by D. Scott Miller 11.29.07 @ 8:05 am

She was a fantastic general session speaker.

Any chance of finding a slot for her next year in one of the seminars? Maybe some combination of her, Scot McKnight, Jeff Johnson, and/or Jeannie (there are others too) on the benefits/uses/need for a structured prayer life. I would love to hear her talk about her prayer books in her self-effacing way of speaking. Informative and delightful to listen to.

Comment by Jeff Moulton 11.29.07 @ 10:49 am

Marko, I suspect you might not keep this comment up very long- I have noticed very few negative comments on your blog, but for what its worth…
Firstly, I guess that I am the guy that Tickle warned you about. I was at the Atlanta conference and heard Phyllis speak to us about the upcoming schism in the Christian Church. I was glad to be there so that I know more about how to combat what you in the emergent church are doing do the Christian Church. Know this, you may have the appearance of godliness but by not aligning yourself with the Word, you are denying its power. “Avoid such people” says Paul. You are being lead astray by your passions and opposing the truth. You are men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. Your folly will be plain to all. This is from 2 Timothy 3:1-9- but since you emergents don’t believe in the authority of scripture, this means you can choose not to adhere to this passage. But be warned- God will not be mocked and all of you who are teaching this must realize that teachers of the Word will be held accountable for what they teach and for those you are leading astray. I am a Student Minister who is fervently equipping my students and church to be able to detect the emergent movement and know how it is counter to the Word. There are many like me. We will not put up with “the conversation” or the “generous orthodoxy” and we will certainly not drop sola scriptura, sola fide, sola gratia, solus Christus, or soli deo gloria from our wonderfully reformed vocabulary. You may be wolves in sheep’s clothing or you may be just sheep that bark, God only knows that, but I do know you will be stopped. Call us ignorant, call us closed minded, call us behind in the times and we will thank you for the compliment. Like I said, I am the guy Tickle warned you about and I will fight- not for the outcome of blood shed but for the outcome of seeing this traitor race fall down on our faces to Christ, the Christ of the Word. He is the Christ and He is perfect. He is the Word and the Word is perfect. Submit.

Comment by Matt 11.29.07 @ 11:09 am

This is going to be a question in light of Matt’s post. Can someone tell me how the “emergent church” denies the authority of scripture? I’ve never read that from so-called emergent authors or books or heard that from so-called emergent speakers, thinkers, or pastors. In fact, I keep hearing the centrality of Jesus and the Bible along with other streams that draw us to the Father and give us a vision for the Kingdom. Or am I missing something?

This time a comment. Marko, I’m going to have to get this talk. Talk about ruffling some feathers! I love it. That’s what I love about YS - you or someone you bring in is always making us think both with our heads and our hearts. That’s what love about communicators like Spurgeon (can you get him to the next NYWC? haha), McLaren, Ortberg, McKnight, etc. I need to be pushed and pulled by smarter/different/more godly people than me to bring Jesus into clearer focus through His Word and their insight.

Just my stuff…Thanks, dude!

Comment by Seth 11.29.07 @ 12:42 pm

matt — i rarely remove comments, and never because the commenter criticized me.

i\’m amazed, actually, that you were at the nywc. i\’m glad you were there. i hope you continue. we need in the mix.

seth beat me to the line this morning, as the one thing i just have to push back on, and ask you to not say, is that i do not believe in the authority of scripture. i am passionate about the centrality of jesus and the authority of scripture. i believe scripture is god\’s primary means of revelation. your statement that i do not believe in the authority of scripture is just not true.

Comment by marko 11.29.07 @ 1:00 pm

jeff — we’ve already asked phyllis to join us i a couple cities next year. tentatively (this could change), this will be sacramento and pittsburgh.

Comment by marko 11.29.07 @ 1:20 pm

[…] See also The Future of the Emerging Church: Are we experiencing the next Reformation of Christianity?, an interview with Tickle from earlier this year. (ht: ysmarko) Related PostsNo related posts […]

Pingback by JakeBouma.com 11.29.07 @ 2:21 pm

Marko- I was in Atlanta. great job. When Phyllis Tickle walked off the stage I was sitting right at the steps and hugged her cause that message really refreshed my passion behind new unity in the church crossing boundries. When I came back to MN a whole bunch of my co-workers were already talking about her message! I don’t know how the word got out so fast, but I feel very fortunate to have been there to here her speak.

Comment by Derek 11.29.07 @ 3:27 pm


I admire your loyalty to and your passion for Christ. I think that is something we are all striving for and driven by. I agree that I would not want the Church to stand on anything but the truth of Christ as our Savior and the Bible and God’s true revelation. Like Seth, I am not sure I understand the perception that the “Emergent” church or movement is promoting a lifestyle of disloyalty to the Word. Perhaps in addition to other terms in our religious language, we really need to have someone define “Emergent”. A lot of us are just discovering this term for the first time and are trying to piece together what it means.

So far, what made my heart warm about Mrs. Tickle’s message and what I understand the emergent movement to be is this: The Church (big “c”) is coming closer to a community of denominations of people who all love Jesus and are willing to admit and respect that we experience Him in different ways. Being exposed to these various traditions gives us a fuller understanding of the God we love in Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

I have been exposed at length to many denominations in my day and have found people living a life full of the Spirit in all of them. I think the change/movement in the Church is more along the lines that Lutherans or Methodists (just a random pick) are coming to sense some truth and mystery to the wonder of the gift of tongues. Likewise people in the Assemblies of God may see the beauty in the freedom that is a confession of sin as in the Catholic heritage. Those in congregations that only sing hymns from 1860 will see that modern-day artists are writing music for words written by King David. And those enjoying praise music will find inspiration in words written in hymns from 500 years ago. I could go on, but you get the idea.

All that to say, perhaps Jesus is taking us to a place where His Body can work together to bring his Grace, Love and Forgiveness into the world instead of pointing angry fingers at traditions we don’t understand. What a beautiful, more full picture of the face of God we will see! I am reminded and encouraged by the precious Words of the Bible: 1 Cor. 12:7 “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.”

1 Cor. 12:11,12 “All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines. The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ.”

And you know the rest…”the eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you!’…”

Praise God! We are one in the Spirit!

Comment by Katie 11.29.07 @ 7:00 pm

Marko your graciousness/humility always amazes me. Thank you for your example of Christ.

On a funny-think-about-this-note…What’s the difference between “How great thou art” (the hymn) and “How great is our God” (chris tomlin)?

Comment by Chris 11.30.07 @ 10:15 am

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