Monday, August 20, 2007

Ken Silva Calls Me Out - The Gathering as Clueless, Blind Guides

Thank You to our buddy Zaque for calling our attention to this post by anti-emergent church fellow Ken Silva. Ken is living in New Hampshire, so I will need to visit him someday soon - well, after returning from France, and the UK.

He noticed that we held our "God: For People Who Hate Church Conference" back in May and decided to respond to it, and even to link to one of the dialogues.

Now he responded to the dialogue, which can be downloaded here, with these words:

"Although these people are currently spiritually clueless they do know the repainted social gospel and theology, such as it is, of the emerging church quite well. But the tragic truth is we are not dealing with the orthodox Christian faith here. No; rather this is a mish-mash of things roughly related to Christianity which they simply pick and choose by their own existential and highly subjective feelings about what they think God might be doing.

After listening to this the discerning Christian will hear the Voice of the Great Shepherd say – “Leave them; they are blind guides.”"

You can find Ken Sliva's daitribes against anything even remotely Emergent (which tag I am not sure I fully fit) at this website. He is sure that I am part of a neo-liberal cult, and with my friends moving toward the "religious bondage of Roman Catholicism."

What do you think?

I tend to think that he has replaced Roman Catholic Bondage (whatever that is) with his own brand of theological, and practical do and don'ts which look even more like the bondage of the law than anything he berates.

I guess this post came out a couple days ago, while our missions team was returning from London, and I was bunking up at Mike and Jules' place.


Anonymous said...

So let me get this straight: You missed Ken's post and are responding to it a few days because you were busy spreading the Gospel?!?! Shame on you ;)

Ken Silva said...

No Steve you silly, ya still didn't get it straight. I say Phil was out spreading abr/>

NH is coming into the foliage season in a month or so and it's very nice. Be glad to visit with you.

And if you don't know what religious Roman Catholic bondage is in the first place, then how could you be sure you're not moving toward it? Food for thought.

You said: "I tend to think that he has replaced Roman Catholic Bondage (whatever that is) with his own brand of theological, and practical do and don'ts which look even more like the bondage of the law than anything he berates." We're going to have to agree to disagree here.

Mike and Jules...Clawson? Do say hello for me, will you ol' chap. :-)

David said...

I can't wait to be accused of things like that on a grand scale. I'm such a minor leaguer!
Way to go Phil. You make me proud! :-)

Agent B said...

I read this link a few days back.


Thanks for your gentle reply, Phil. I love you.

Anonymous said...

Interesting. I didn't get the same vibe as Mr. Silva. I grew closer to Jesus after going to the conference. Sounds like quick judgements to me.

Jeff said...

Ken Silva is against you?

Well done my friend!

David - don't worry, I've been reading your blog and I have a feeling that Ken will be getting around to you soon. It's just that God's grace is so broad, and Ken's vision is so narrow, that it really is overwhelming for one single man. But I'll be praying that you fall under his wrath soon. :)

Pastor Phil said...

Hi Steve,

We were spending time with people who might your area, and it went well. It is amazing to find people trekking through alternative festivals who have rejected our traditional modes of Christianity, and yet still desire to know Jesus. This was a common theme during our travels.

I wonder if Ken ever meets these kinds of people, and I wonder what he might do with them.

I think I'll ask when I meet him.

Pastor Phil said...


Mike and Jules Clawson? No. I don't know who they are.

Roman Catholic Bondage: I am not a fan of Roman Catholic theology or practice. Yet, I know Catholics who are not "in bondage." I know others who are, and still more who are only Catholic by name. I am sure all churches have that spectrum of followers - perhaps even your small house church, and my little gathering of believers. I actually hope to have that spectrum of Christians (inserting this word so as not be called Catholic by you) at The Gathering, because it means we are influencing people at all levels of faith.

Now as far as you being in bondage: The times I have read your material (which have been few, but covered quite a number of posts) I see only addiction to a narrow definition of Christianity, and a quick dismissal of Emergent and/or Popular Christianity. Now I am not really defined as emergent myself, and certainly do not hold to the more liberal theological or moral leanings of some of the emergent clan. I also am not a fan of the mega-church model, and popular movements of Christianity. Yet I also find myself wanting to distance myself from narrow definitions which reject people for such things as their style of gathering, or redescribing (not redefining) faith for the sake of reaching a generation. You on the other hand, seem to insist that your narrow entrance to the Kingdom is only wide enough for Reformers. Are you sure this is judging righteous judgment, and not unrightly judging instead?

Pastor Phil said...

Oh David,

You have been, and will be bro.

Pastor Phil said...

Agent B you ol' shudderbug,

Peace on you bro.

Pastor Phil said...

Hey Carl,

What's with the cool photo? Ken's judgments are not quick, as much as they are developed from his personal sense of calling. I would imagine from the massive amounts of material he has generated against anything remotely close to being Emergent that he thinks about this stuff daily, and believes he is called by God to do so. So he is thinking through this all the time.

Pastor Phil said...


Thanks. Do I get a medal to pin on my chest? I can add it to my series of purple hearts.

Anonymous said...

Good point. Makes sense. I guess I would then say he goes about the wrong way in his processing of judgement.

Alf Cengia said...

I'm a little confused here. What makes your Jesus any different from Buddha or the Dalai Lama? What is it, exactly, about conventional church that you don't like. I guess what I'm asking is this:

Is Jesus the Son of God who died for our sins?

Is sin still relevant?

Other than teaching us to love each other and God with all our hearts, (which goes without saying) is there something else He requires of us?

Is there ultimate truth and can it be found in scripture?

BTW I don't attend any church. Just wondering what you guys are all about.

Mac in Australia

Jeff said...

Phil - Well, I can probably find you one, but why would you want to pin anything to your chest? Wouldn't that hurt?

Pastor Phil said...

Hey AussieMac,

Thanks for popping in.

I find your questions even more confusing than you find mine I am sure. Check out our doctrinal page on our website and you will find all the info you need. You will see that I hold to all the basic Christian truths you ask about here.

I suppose I am wondering what liking "conventional church", and agreeing with these basic Christian truths have to do with one another. Of course, I really have been trying to adapt conventional Christianity gathering style, not do away with it.

Could it be possible to create a more interactive environment and still believe the doctrine of the apostles?

Pastor Phil said...

Hey Jeff,

Hey what's a little more pain. A little pin prick after a few stabbings is minor. ;-)

Pastor Phil said...

Hey Gang,

Here was a great post by Bruce, he sent it to my e-mail address so I thought I'd post it here:

"I mean nothing against any of my friends by my comments here. But,
:-o, I think that faithful Roman Catholicism is "this close" to the
magisterial Reformers, and both of them are closely rooted to the
orthodoxies of historic Christianity. I'm not clear on what Ken can
be getting at. If it becomes real important, I'll study his article

As far as American versions of Xity go, anything related to Moody or
Finney --i.e. close to the anabaptist tradition-- will work well with
Emergent emphases. Neither strike me as being doctrinally rigorous,
well, none of the three, but it's *still* possible to live out a
dynamic (pietistic) faith inside a Moody-style, or Finney-style, or
Emergent-style faith.

Compared to anything anabaptist-y, RC and Ref Christianity seem
hopelessly "modernist." Emergence strikes me as being the adaptation
of a New Age mindset with orthodox Christianity. Way, way, too
syncretistic to make me happy...but...I rejoice to see Christ


Pastor Phil said...

So Bruce, I thought I'd respond.

I love your post, which is quite unique coming from an ol' Pentecostal boy like you, but I was wondering how you saw Emergent as an amalgam of New Age and Orthodox Christianity. I do not see that at all. Postmodernism is one thing, but New Age is another thing altogether methinks. Could you put that brilliant Philosophical Professor's hat on and connect these dots for me?

Anonymous said...

My friend. Please do not let a someone like Silva get to you. The guy has a fetish for being a one man religion. He gets off on finding people to isolate himself from and attack from a distance. He has been tagged and had his backside tanned by others who revealed his LIES. If you simply drove by the guy's house you would see how much of a failure the guy's ministry is. Unfortunately, the internet tends to take creepos and allow them to hide and appear to be bigger than they are. Silva is nothing more than a guy who loves to feel unloved and unnaccepted and lives to spread the disease of pain. He is proof that Christianity is a religion that almost never confronts its wolves (and which is why I consider myself a follower of Jesus and not a Christian) and note that I said, almost never.

Anyway, don't let this fruit loop get to you. He lives to use his religion as an island to isolate himself from others. For all my witch friends reading, there are many people like Phil in Christianity and many people like Silva. And it is time that we publicly defend people like Phil and publicly rebuke people like Silva. Beware, witches of people like Silva. His Jesus hates you. And if Phil's Jesus loves you then....well, someone is not serving the real Jesus. And for my money, I would rather follow Phil's Jesus than than the one Silva is preaching about. Folks like Silva have a neural pathway that gets off on using religion to isolate others. Hence, its a false representation of Jesus and His ministry and needs to be called just what it is.

Anonymous said...

Anyone notice that there are no leaves on the trees on Silva's site pic? Black and white and dreary gray. Is that a Freudian slip? Looks like the Orcs run free there.

It reminds of a land where it is "always winter and never Christmas."

cern said...

Looking at Ken's site...... he really does have his panties in a bunch about the emergent church. He seems to be painting a picture that suggests the emergent movement is very one sided and uber-liberal, and in doing so, is painint a picture of his take on Christianity as being very one sided and uber-conservative.

So, does that mean that followers of the Christian faith must follow an extreme?



Jeff said...

The thing that gets me is that he paints the emerging church as "liberal." I think the biggest "plank" of the emerging movement is a general abandonment of "conservative" and "liberal". It is filled with a bunch of people who don't know which they are (and frankly don't care) because they choose to look at each issue with fresh eyes, and so can be aligned with the "extreme liberal" at one moment and with the "extreme conservative" in the next.

People who use tags like "liberal" and "conservative" in regards to the emerging movement only show their ignorance about what is happening.

Pastor Phil said...

Steve (ol' Thorney bro from Boston),

Thanks for a good word here. I have found many a time when Witches have defended me against other Christians. Now I find that weird, but enheartening, and as my world grows stranger, it also grows with grace.

I am not highly concerned about Ken, but rather realize he is on a mission - perhaps self imposed, but on mission nonetheless. It will take an act of God to stop it I assume.

Not being particularly emergent, but not being particularly anything else either puts me in a strange place I suppose. Hammered by the right, but being more right theologically, loved by the left, and finding myself embracing new friends, and enjoying their company.

Gwyn dy fyd brawd - thanks.

Pastor Phil said...

Hey Anon (wish I knew who you were here),

That was funny.

Pastor Phil said...

Hey Mike (Cernie),

What? I'm not extreme? ;-)

Pastor Phil said...


Wise observation. Thanks for the gracious reminder. Perhaps there will be a day when more people get it. I'm hoping that we don't have to wait until the judgment throne, but I'm not holding my theologically conservative breathe, but rather releasing it in liberal fashion.

Sally said...

Interesting that emergent "commentors " label everything outside the box in the same way, and seem unable to break free from their narrowness of vision.

As far as being emergent goes I wouldn't put myself in that category either...

Dialogue is essential- constructive dialogue that is, it saddens me that there are som many snipes on line!

Anonymous said...

I'm just glad that there's a guy like Ken Silva to set us all straight when we've gone astray.

trish said...

AHHH! I just wan tot say that "The discerning Chrsitian" can hear the voice of the sheperd without the noise of the church voices telling them what to hear.