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Tag Archives: James Emery White

The seeker sensitive manual: What they did (not) teach you in seminary.

Imagine a book authored by James Emery  White (an intelligent spokesman for many of the seeker movement’s ideas) and (not to be confused with the Reformed Christian apologist James R. White) he is also the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church, a megachurch in Charlotte. The same book is endorsed by people like Geoff Surratt from Saddleback, Jim Mellado from the Willow Creek Association, and Marshall Shelley from Leadership Journal. The Foreword is by (wait for it, yup) Perry Noble and includes blurbs from Bill Hybels and Rick Warren.

James Emery White’s latest book, What They Didn’t Teach You in Seminary: 25 Lessons for Successful Ministry in Your Church (Baker 2011) will teach you a couple of therapeutic moralistic things to do to enhance your church experience but a review of it by Kevin DeYoung succinctly noted that:

1. Theology felt strangely irrelevant throughout the book. It would not be at all fair to say White or other seeker church leaders don’t care about theology or that they don’t affirm orthodox theology. They do, on both accounts. But it feels assumed at best and a necessary nuisance at worst. In his introduction Noble explains that he dropped out of seminary because he didn’t want to spend hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars on something that didn’t really equip him for ministry in the real world. No one cared about TULIP, Noble observes, or Christ’s impeccability for that matter, or fancy theological words or lectures on church history. I don’t doubt that many people in many churches don’t give a rip about theological terms or concepts. But just because they don’t doesn’t mean we shouldn’t. Maybe our people fall asleep when we wax on about justification or imputation because we are frankly bored ourselves. Maybe we haven’t been gripped by the great doctrines of the faith. Maybe we haven’t done the spade work in the text and in our hearts to see how the doctrine of Trinity or the incarnation or limited atonement is massively relevant.

I sometimes wonder if seeker church pastors have heard theology presented so badly and seen it applied to real life so poorly that they’ve concluded that theology is the problem. …Read More!